“[Robert Louis Stevenson] has been credited with a wonderful observation: ‘Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.’ That summarizes what I find so engaging in writing about real people and events. I want to understand how the characters arrived at the banquet, and how they dealt with the results.”
With impeccable research and rich detail, Nancy Horan’s two novels weave fact and fiction to illuminate the complicated relationships between great artists and the women who inspired them. Elegant, lyrical, and compelling, her narratives explore the struggles of women seeking both a fulfilling relationship and their own creative calling.
Horan’s first novel, Loving Frank: A Novel, offers a fictional account of real-life events: a love affair between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney, the wife of one of his clients. The book traces the course of the affair and the scandal that occurred when Wright and Mamah left for Europe together, with Mamah abandoning her children in the process. Kathy Piehl, in a review for Library Journal, notes that “Horan’s extensive research provides substantial underpinnings for this engrossing novel.”
Loving Frank remained on The New York Times bestseller list for over a year. It has been translated into sixteen languages, and won the 2009 James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction, awarded by the Society of American Historians.
“Loving Frank is one of those novels that takes over your life. It’s mesmerizing and fascinating–filled with complex characters, deep passions, tactile descriptions of astonishing architecture, and the colorful immediacy of daily life a hundred years ago–all gathered into a story that unfolds with riveting urgency.”
–Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light
Under the Wide and Starry Sky, Horan’s second novel, was a TODAY Book Club pick and one of The Washington Post’s top fiction books of 2014. In this book, she explores the unlikely relationship between Robert Louis Stevenson and his spirited American wife, Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson, and shows that deep love can be simultaneously liberating and imprisoning. Publishers Weekly asserts that Horan’s “beautifully written novel, neatly balanced between its two protagonists, makes them come alive with grace, humor, and understanding.” USA Today calls it “a richly imagined [novel] of love, laughter, pain and sacrifice.”
A native of Springfield, Illinois and a graduate of the University of Illinois, where she studied literature, Nancy Horan was a teacher and journalist before turning to fiction writing. A longtime Chicagoan, she now lives and writes on an island in Puget Sound.
For more information on Nancy Horan, please visit nancyhoran.com.