One of my favorite literary sub-genres is biographical fiction. Such books are rooted in fact, but the author brings the details to life and fills in the blanks with his or her imagination. The Paris Wife, which tells the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife Hadley, is one of my favorites, and I recently picked up (and can’t wait to dig into) The Aviator’s Wife and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. I’m realizing as I’m writing this that the common thread among these titles is that they focus on the women behind certain illustrious men and give them a long-overdue and much-deserved moment in the spotlight. I can’t help but wonder what a psychoanalyst would have to say about that . . .
Loving Frank falls into this category as well. Written by Nancy Horan, it recounts the bittersweet tale of Mamah Borthwick Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright. The star-crossed lovers had a scandalous affair that shocked Chicago society back in the early 1900s. They ended up leaving their respective spouses for each other and, though they enjoyed a brief season of happiness, everything eventually ended in tragedy. More