Under the Wide and Starry Sky
At the age of thirty-five, Fanny van de Grift Osbourne leaves her philandering husband in San Francisco and sets sail for Belgium to study art, with her three children and a nanny in tow. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her brood repair...more
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1) Atmospheric - Time, place, and emotion are wonderfully recreat ...more
I began Nancy Horan's Under The Wide Starry Sky with high hopes, but ultimately liked the idea that behind the piece more than the reality. Though I found the narrative offered interesting perspective on Stevenson's personal life, the structure of the novel left much to be desired. Be warned, possible spoilers ahead.
For one thing, I found the pacing of the novel particularly troublesome. I lost interest in the first few cha ...more
I have to confess that I am not fully on board with the recent trend of books narrated by the spouses of historical figures. It makes me cringe a little bit to think of these women, long gone and unable to defend themselves, having words put in their mouths and motives ascribed to them that may not be remotely accurate. And invariably, it seems that these stories take on a "chick lit" flavor ...more
REVIEWED BY DAVID M. KINCHEN
Stevenson had always wanted his 'Requiem' inscribed on his tomb:
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill. ...more
I wanted to read “Under the Wide and Starry Sky” because I liked “Loving Frank” so much. While I liked “Under” I didn’t feel it was as compelling as “Frank”. It’s about the author Robert Louis Stevenson’s writing and his relationship with his wife Fanny. Because of Stevenson’s health (he suffered from tuberculosis) they traveled to many exotic locales in hopes his health would improve. Besides his native Scotland they lived in Paris and Switzerland and most notably i ...more
Except that's not true at all. The two main characters led pretty extraordinary lives, particularly for their era. They were respected, famous people in their lifetimes, who lived very unconventional lives. And yet... something in the wr ...more
That's the concluding line for the blurb about Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan. So provocative and alluring, right?
It's a somewhat-fictional take on the romance between Fanny Osbourne and the prolific writer, Robert Louis Stevenson. Admittedly, despite being a Literature major, I didn't know much about RLS, particularly something as appealing as a romance that dashed through the world. It all sou ...more
UNDER THE WIDE AND STARRY SKIES is the fascinating life and love story of Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson and his unconventional wife Fanny. Fanny runs away from America with her three children to escape her philandering husband. She and her three children go to Belgium where Fanny and her daughter plan to study art.
After a personal tragedy Fanny needs the respite of a quiet artists’ colony In France. While recovering the lively Robert Louis Steven ...more
Their courtship was certainly not ea ...more
On the plus side, I did learn about Stevenson’s life. Prior to this novel, I knew he wa ...more
At almost five hundred pages, spanning several decades, and an impressive cast of characters, th ...more
Very interesting and detailed story about Louis and Fanny, how they travel around Europe, to America, and later to the South Seas and Australia to help Louis stay in good health.
This and all my other reviews are originally posted on my blog (un)Conventional Bookviews ...more
Under the Wide and Starry Sky had it all from adventure, romance and history. The writing was beautiful well written that allowed the readers to be totally immersed into the story. I enjoyed the details accounts of the lives of two fascinating characters, Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, Fanny. This novel allowed readers to see the life of Robert Louis Stevenson in that era and time period. Very informative and enlight ...more
In any case, I didn't hate this book. The problem is, I didn't quite like it either. It's a tame book, content to chronicle the lives of Fanny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson. It's hard for me to describe what is wrong or missing, but my ...more
The story of Robert Louis Stevenson - Louis - and Fannie Osbourne's lives, as they collided and then collaborated, is a monumental tale about two people, their predispositions (a little pride, a little prejudice), and how love truly can be ...more
Author Nancy Horan pieces together bits of history taken from the many letters and publications of Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson and combines them with her own imaginings to give to us this love story. And more than a love story it is. UNDER THE WIDE AND STARRY ...more
I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.
This is a historical fiction novel that describes the life of Fanny Stevenson and the famous Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson.
Fanny van de Grift Osbourne and her three children have travelled to Belgium in order to escape from a frustrated marriage and to try to have some art lessons in Belgium.
However Fanny's plans don’t work as planned and she is forced to move to a quiet artists' c...more
I had never really known anything about RLS actual life, so I was intrigued by the catchy line "And so begins a turbulent love affair that will last two decades and span the world."
Everyone has at least some acquaintance with RLS books, but diving in and finding out an envisioned story of his life and how the stories came about had an interesting draw.
One thing to point out is that like the line I quoted, the book spans an ...more
This book had so much potential. I was excited to read about a whirlwind love affair between a famous writer and a bull-headed divorcée...but that wasn't what I got. I dragged myself through the first half of this book for days and days, not wanting to pick it up, but knowing that I needed to at least try to get through this. I gave it a really good shot, but this book and I just didn't click. Maybe it was just me, but it was so hard to get through.
Fanny sets off on a journey from San Francisco to France with her young childre ...more