From Nancy Horan, New York Times bestselling author of Loving Frank, comes her much-anticipated second novel, which tells the improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny.
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. The shared life of these two strong-willed individuals unfolds into an adventure as impassioned and unpredictable as any of Stevenson's own unforgettable tales.
"Where are the dogs?" Sammy asked, staring up at her.
Fanny Osbourne stood at the boat's rail, holding an umbrella against the August drizzle. Her feet were planted apart, and each of her boys leaned against a leg. Around them, a forest of masts creaked in the dark harbor. She searched the distance for the shape of a city. Here and there smudges of light promised Antwerp was waiting, just beyond the pier.
"We'll see the dogs tomorrow," she told him.
"Are they sleeping now?" the boy asked.
"Yes, they're surely sleeping."
Lanterns illuminated the other passengers, whose weary faces reflected her own fatigue. After a ten-day Atlantic crossing, she and the children had transferred to this paddleboat for the tail end of their journey, across the English Channel to Antwerp. Now they huddled on deck among the othersmostly American and English businessmenwaiting for some sign that they could disembark.
Fanny had ...
Fanny Stevenson summarized her life as "a wild ride on the crest of a wave that rolls and never breaks."…From France to the United States, Scotland, England, and the South Pacific, readers of Under the Wide and Starry Sky ride the crest of the wave that was Fanny and Louis Stevenson's loving, sometimes troubling relationship.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
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Above All Things, Tanis Rideout's debut novel, is about a man, his wife and his other great love a 29,000 foot mountain. Rideout explores Ruth Mallory's point of view in Above All Things; her love for George Mallory, her acceptance of his passion for Mount Everest and her deep grief at losing her husband to the hulking mountain. Why did Rideout choose to tell her story from Ruth's perspective? "George Mallory was so interesting, she (Ruth) had to be interesting, too," says the author.
Rideout's opinion is part of a growing trend among writers. The women behind and, more often, next to famous men are popular subject matter for many recent novels. Part of the reason for this is, as Rideout says, that they are ...
If you liked Under the Wide and Starry Sky, try these:
"Tell me the story of Everest," she said, a fervent smile sweeping across her face, creasing the corners of her eyes. "Tell me about this mountain that's stealing you away from me."
Headhunters on My Doorstep is a funny yet poignant account of one man's journey to find himself that will captivate travel writing aficionados, Robert Louis Stevenson fans, and anyone who has ever lost his way.
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