Elizabeth K. (Glenshaw, PA)
Under the Wide and Starry Sky
What an adventure Fanny lived! She fled to Europe with her 3 children to escape a bad marriage. She fell in love, and eventually married a man 10 years her junior. The story gives us insight into the life of Robert Louis Stevenson...his life long struggle with a fibroid lung disease, his dreams that resulted into his wonderful stories, his continuous struggle with finances and his devotion to Fanny.
Anyone reading this will find himself immersed in the travels and lives of Fanny and Robert.
Linda P. (Rockport, ME)
Under The Wide and Starry Sky
Nancy Horan understands the irresistible charm of the independent woman and once again has captured the essence of a fascinating personality, a woman loved by a younger man, adored by her native Samoan neighbors, and scorned by Victorian contemporaries who hadn't the foresight to appreciate her Bohemian spirit.
Fanny Stevenson summarized her life as "a wild ride on the crest of a wave that rolls and never breaks." Her wild ride begins as she leaves her unfaithful husband and ferries her three children off to France with the intent of enriching their lives and hers through art. By the end of the first chapter, you know that she is a "woman who could run the world if she chose to" (as Louis Stevenson's uncle George describes her later in the novel). During her sojourn in Paris she meets Stevenson, a struggling sickly writer, eleven years her junior, and thus a remarkable love story begins. From France to the United States, Scotland, England, and the South Pacific, readers ride the crest of the wave that was Fanny and Louis Stevenson's loving, sometimes troubling relationship.
Under the Wide and Starry Sky will appeal to those who enjoyed Loving Frank and other recent biographical novels about remarkable women who lived under the shadow of famous men. Writers, I believe, will especially enjoy eavesdropping on the everyday routine of two artists, who strive to balance family needs with the demands of their literary lives.
Linda A. (Palo Alto, CA)
This book captured my interest from the beginning as we journey through the lives of Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson and Robert Louis Stevenson. Horan portrays her characters as flesh and blood, real-life people who brave the unknown in search of a home where Louis can survive and thrive. Fanny endures many hardships as they travel the world, more than once nursing him back from the brink of death and finds herself submerging her creative side to focus on the practical work to be done. This is a work of fiction, strongly anchored in history. Portrayed in depth, the characters come to life as people for whom we care.
Mary Ellen L. (Canfield, OH)
Under the Wide and Starry Sky
Fans of Nancy Horan's "Loving Frank" will not be disappointed with her second novel. She manages to bring to life the equally fascinating characters of Louis and Fanny and their loving, but turbulent, relationship as they travel the world. Historical facts are expanded upon, bringing insight into the life of a famous author and his strong and remarkable wife. It is an ambitious work, which sometimes seemed a little more detailed than necessary, but well worth the read.