“[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 weaves together fact and fiction to illuminate the complex lives of prominent historical figures and the intimate relationships that propel them to forge innovative paths. Elegant, lyrical, and compelling, her novels explore the challenge of seeking one’s own calling.
Nancy Horan’s latest, The House of Lincoln, is a sweeping historical novel set Springfield, Illinois, the town in which she was born and raised. The book tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s ascendance from rumpled lawyer to U.S. president to the Great Emancipator through the eyes of three characters: a young Portuguese immigrant who works in the Lincolns’ home, an African American barber whose family is involved in the Underground Railroad, and Mary Lincoln herself. Spanning six decades, The House of Lincoln chronicles Abraham Lincoln’s evolving views on slavery and race, and the impact on three families of the Civil War and its aftermath, culminating in the 1908 Springfield Race Riot.
“Brimming with a rich and unforgettable array of imagined and real historical figures who helped to shape Springfield, Illinois, and the nation beyond during the turbulent time of slavery and the Civil War, The House of Lincoln is storytelling at its best.”
—Gail Tsukiyama, author of The Brightest Star, The Color of Air, The Samurai’s Garden, and Women of the Silk
Horan’s first novel, Loving Frank, is based on the real-life love affair between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney, the wife of one of his clients. The book explores their doomed affair and the scandal they sparked when Mamah abandoned her children to follow Wright to Europe. 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 Society of American Historians Prize for Historical Fiction (formerly the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction).
“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
A Today Show Book Club pick, Horan’s second novel, Under the Wide and Starry Sky, was one of The Washington Post’s top fiction books of 2014. The book plumbs the unlikely relationship between Robert Louis Stevenson and his spirited American wife, Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson, showing that deep love can be simultaneously liberating and imprisoning. Publishers Weekly praised how the “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 Midwesterner, Horan was a Chicago journalist before turning to fiction writing. She now lives with her husband on an island in Puget Sound.
For more information on Nancy Horan, please visit her at nancyhoran.com.Download Nancy Horan's press kit here.