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Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
  

Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

RRP £8.99

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Based on real lives, this is a fascinating story of a couple of well-rounded characters you become very involved with; Fanny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson. They met in France where Fanny and her daughter had gone to study art and to save her son from dying from TB. Fanny was eleven years senior to Stevenson but they fell in love. We do know what happened, that Fanny divorced her husband, married Stevenson and spent years travelling from place to place to find the best environment for Louis’ ill-health before eventually settling in Samoa, but related here in short, simple chapters their lives come very much alive. Eighteen years of ups and downs are beautifully portrayed. The author gave Frank Lloyd Wright similar treatment. You should seek it out.

If you like Nancy Horan you might also like to read books by Curtis Sittenfeld, Paula McLain and Jo Baker.

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Synopsis

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

At the age of thirty-five, Fanny van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium to study art, with her three children and nanny in tow. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her brood repair to a quiet artists' colony in France where she can recuperate. There she meets Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who is instantly smitten with the earthy, independent, and opinionated belle Americaine. A woman ahead of her time, Fanny does not immediately take to the young lawyer who longs to devote his life to literature rather than the law - and who would eventually write such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In time, though, she succumbs to Stevenson's charms, and the two begin a fierce love affair-marked by intense joy and harrowing darkness that spans decades as they travel the world for the sake of his health following their art and dreams eventually settling in Samoa where Robert Louis Stevenson is buried, with these words on his grave: Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be; Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill. (Requiem, Robert Louis Stevenson)

Reviews

Fanny and Louis are wild-hearted seekers, and Nancy Horan traces their incredible journey fearlessly, plunging us through decades, far-flung continents and chilling brushes with death. Ambitious and often breathtaking, this sweeping story spills over with spirited, uncompromising life. Paula McLain, bestselling author of THE PARIS WIFE

Horan's second novel (following Loving Frank) again mines the true story of a famous man and equally remarkable woman of history to impressive effect. This time, instead of Mameh Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright, the central couple is Fanny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson ... This beautifully written novel, neatly balanced between its two protagonists, makes them come alive with grace, humor, and understanding. Horan's empathy for both Louis and Fanny allows her to capture their life together with all the complexity and nuance of a real-life relationship. Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Nancy Horan is the author of Loving Frank. She lives and writes on an island near Seattle. Her first novel, the story of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, was a New York Times bestseller and a Richard & Judy Book Club pick.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th June 2014

Author

Nancy Horan

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Author's Website

nancyhoran.com/

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Publisher

Two Roads an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division

Format

Paperback
496 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction

ISBN

9781444778434

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