I came to this book with little knowledge of Frank Lloyd Wright's personal life and perhaps not as much knowledge of the man and his work as I would like to admit. Though I could certainly recognize (and have admired) his style and visited the FLW room at the Met, I'd never really looked much deeper than this superficial admiration. I am grateful to this book, which I enjoyed in spite of its flaws, for introducing a new passion for delving into Wright's worlds and the circles surrounding him. I found Mamah's works to be fascinating and plan to read further about her translations of and correspondence with early Swedish feminist, Ellen Key. However, upon finishing the novel I left it feeling that I still knew very little of Wright himself, but was now rather well versed in the lives of those who surrounded him instead.
For the most part I enjoyed the novel. I did find the chapters devoted to Miriam exhausting, though I'd enjoyed her as a character (as well as her outlandish PR stunts) during Olgivanna's focus, infuriating as it all was. I almost gave up reading at this point, the dramatic displays, poutings, petty jealousies and foolish declarations of love were all quite off-putting, but I felt invested enough to push through. There were times when I wondered if this portrayal of her was fair, really. Was Boyle just painting another all too familiar Crazy Woman archetype? There were hints of deeper layers there, her success as a sculptor, a worldly past. There had to be more than this shrieking Banshee we were presented with. It all made me question Boyle's views towards and his ability to successfully write women.
With such little time spent with Wright's first wife, Kitty, I almost wonder if this wasn't necessarily "The Women" of FLW, but instead "The Women" of Taliesin.