“[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 complicated relationships between great artists and the women who inspired them. Elegant, lyrical, and compelling, her novels explore the struggles of women seeking both a fulfilling relationship and their own creative calling.
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.”
Horan returns in June 2023 with a sweeping historical novel, The House of Lincoln, which tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s ascendance from rumpled lawyer to U.S. president to the Great Emancipator through the eyes of a young asylum-seeker who arrives in Lincoln’s home of Springfield from Madeira, Portugal.
A native Midwesterner, Horan was a teacher and journalist before turning to fiction writing. She lived for 25 years in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where she raised her two sons. She now lives with her husband on an island in Puget Sound.here.