Once again, as she did in Loving Frank, Nancy Horan writes a compelling story of love, marriage, and adventure. This book is the fascinating account of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, his passion for writing, and his obsessive love for the older woman Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. Their life together has many twists due to his ill health and Fanny's determination to keep him alive---and writing. They literally roamed the world, always seeking the perfect climate for "Louis" to have a chance to write the stories that spilled from his mind, stories the world will long remember.
After reading this delightful book, the reader will surely revisit with new appreciation some of Stevenson's classics, such as Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You are in for a treat!
“Just as she did in Loving Frank, Horan brings to life the story of a strong woman and a talented man -- in this case Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson was not a strong man physically, which meant the couple spent much of their married life chasing climates and locations in an attempt to give him a chance at life as a writer. Fannie gives up her personal ambitions as an artist and writer to be Stevenson's caregiver, but at what cost? This multifaceted book demonstrates all the twists and turns of life -- love and loyalty, wealth and poverty, privilege and survival, success and disappointment, darkness and joy. Readers will want to revisit the works of Stevenson with new eyes after reading Horan's wonderful book.”
— Beverly Baur, Redbery Books, Cable, WI
“A richly imagined [novel] of love, laughter, pain and sacrifice . . . Under the Wide and Starry Sky is a dual portrait, with Louis and Fanny sharing the limelight in the best spirit of teamwork—a romantic partnership.”—USA Today
“Powerful . . . flawless . . . a perfect example of what a man and a woman will do for love, and what they can accomplish when it’s meant to be.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“Spectacular . . . an exhilarating epic about a free-spirited couple who traveled the world yet found home only in one another.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Horan’s prose is gorgeous enough to keep a reader transfixed, even if the story itself weren’t so compelling. I kept re-reading passages just to savor the exquisite wordplay. . . . Few writers are as masterful as she is at blending carefully researched history with the novelist’s art.”—The Dallas Morning News
“A classic artistic bildungsroman and a retort to the genre, a novel that shows how love and marriage can simultaneously offer inspiration and encumbrance.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Operatic, global in its setting . . . [The years in the South Seas are] deliciously reminiscent of the adventure novels Stevenson wrote, and Horan’s delightful reimagining is just as entertaining.”—The Washington Post
“Nancy Horan has done it again, capturing the entwined lives of Fanny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson so uncannily, it reads like truth.”—Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress
“Horan has a distinct knack for evoking the rich, complicated lives of long-gone artists and the women who inspired them.”—Entertainment Weekly
“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, author of The Paris Wife
“A delight from start to finish . . . as stirring as any of R. L. Stevenson’s famous tales.”—Hudson Valley News
“A dazzling love story . . . Horan deftly brings to life a woman shamefully overlooked by history, and celebrates her contributions to the man whom history remembered.”—BookPage
“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. . . . This beautifully written novel, neatly balanced between its two protagonists, makes them come alive with grace, humor, and understanding.”—Publishers Weekly