Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Under the Wide and Starry Sky

A Novel

eBook - 2014
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"In her new novel, Nancy Horan has recreated a love story that is as unique, passionate, and overwhelmingly powerful as the one between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney depicted so memorably in Loving Frank. Under the Wide and Starry Sky chronicles the unconventional love affair of Scottish literary giant Robert Louis Stevenson, author of classics including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American divorcee Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. They meet in rural France in 1875, when Fanny, having run away from her philandering husband back in California, takes refuge there with her children. Stevenson too is escaping from his life, running from family pressure to become a lawyer. And so begins a turbulent love affair that will last two decades and span the world.In her masterful new novel, Nancy Horan has recreated a love story that is as unique, passionate, and overwhelmingly powerful as the one between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney depicted so memorably in Loving Frank. Under the Wide and Starry Sky chronicles the unconventional love affair of Scottish literary giant Robert Louis Stevenson, author of classics including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American divorcee Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. They meet in rural France in 1875, when Fanny, having run away from her philandering husband back in California, takes refuge there with her children. Stevenson too is escaping from his life, running from family pressure to become a lawyer. And so begins a turbulent love affair that will last two decades and span the world"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2014
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9780345538826
034553882X
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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becky1775
Oct 21, 2017

Unfortunately, I did not care for this book at all. I was excited to read it as 'Loving Frank' is one of my favorite books. I found this book dull and slow paced. I just couldn't get into this one!

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Liber_vermis
May 31, 2016

A page-turner biographical novel of a pair of complex characters - physically, emotionally, and creatively - who lived in many interesting locations during their two decades together. Also an interesting study of a variety of cultures at a tipping point in history. The reader encounters little gems of wording by the author that add enjoyment.

cmlibrary_canderson Jan 12, 2016

I enjoyed this. The middle was slow reading, but at the end, I felt I had learned a lot about Robert Louis Stevenson and - even more so - the challenge of being a creative woman during a time when women were mostly kept in the background. The final years in Samoa were fascinating.

r
rdw39
Feb 08, 2015

I looked forward to reading this book, as I had read the author's "Loving Frank". I learned a lot about Robert Louis Stevenson, but I felt that the author rambled on too long in the last part of the book about their time in the South Pacific. She could have eliminated nearly 100 pages by consolidating some of that material. All in all, I did enjoy the story.

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marthabwaters
Dec 02, 2014

This is a beautifully-written fictionalized account of the marriage of Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife Fanny. Knowing nothing about their lives prior to reading this, I found the entire thing helpfully thorough, although by the end of the novel the reader might wish the author had been a bit narrower in her focus. However, both Stevensons are written as highly memorable, delightfully flawed characters, and the writing is lovely. These two people led an odd and passionate life together, and it's one that is certainly worthy of a novel.

d
Deacon01
Aug 02, 2014

lyrical and entertaining

dairyqueen May 09, 2014

Love affair of Robert Louis Stevenson (Author) and older divorcee woman Fanny Van DeGriff. Really enjoyed reading about this time period and the nomadic life they lived.

ehbooklover Feb 20, 2014

I chose to read this based on my love of Horan’s first book, “Loving Frank” despite the fact that I knew next to nothing about Robert Louis Stevenson. I enjoyed it a great deal more than I expected to. An interesting read that examines the many highs and lows of Stevenson’s relationship with his American wife, as well as his struggle to achieve literary success. I may just have to pick up a copy of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” or “Treasure Island” in the future.

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Liber_vermis
Jun 01, 2016

R.L.S.: "Obviously, I am not afraid to write about cruelty or violence. But for a writer to feed the reader great dank heaps of ugliness in the name of realism is dispiriting. ... Writers should find out where joy resides and give it a voice. Every bright word or picture is a piece of pleasure set afloat. The reader catches it, and he goes on his way rejoicing. It's the business of art of send him that way as often as possible. I have to believe that every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in this world. If I cannot believe that, then why should I go on? Why should anyone go on?"

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normalima
Aug 09, 2015

p.303
What kind of friend would not give another friend the truth?

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normalima
Aug 09, 2015

p.303
It had been a joke among them that Henley had the tact of a pachyderm. “I reserve the right to insult my friends,” Henley used to say when they confronted him.

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normalima
Aug 09, 2015

p.313
“She came by the hotel a week ago. She is almost stone deaf and poor as a church mouse. He left her with nothing when he disappeared.”

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normalima
Aug 09, 2015

Postscript
Tribute Robert Louis Stevenson wrote to his wife:
Teacher, tender, comrade, wife,
A fellow-farer true through life,
Heart-whole and soul free
The august father gave to me.

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