Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Large Print - 2014
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At the age of thirty-five, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium -- with her three children and nanny in tow -- to study art. It is a chance for this adventurous woman to start over, to make a better life for all of them, and to pursue her own desires. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists' colony in France where she can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, she meets a lively Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated "belle Americaine." Fanny does not immediately take to the slender young lawyer who longs to devote his life to writing -- and who would eventually pen 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 the decades and the globe.
Publisher: [New York] : Random House Large Print, [2014]
Edition: First large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780307990938
Characteristics: 721 pages (large print) ; 24 cm


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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!

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.

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.

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.

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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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?"

Aug 09, 2015

What kind of friend would not give another friend the truth?

Aug 09, 2015

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.

Aug 09, 2015

“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.”

Aug 09, 2015

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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