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Under the Wide and Starry Sky
by Nancy Horan


Overview - NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

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More About Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
 
 
 
Overview
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.

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.

Praise for Under the Wide and Starry Sky

"A richly imagined novel] of love, laughter, pain and sacrifice . . . Under the Wide and Starry Sky is a dual portrait, with Louis and Fanny sharing the limelight in the best spirit of teamwork--a romantic partnership."--USA Today

"Powerful . . . flawless . . . a perfect example of what a man and a woman will do for love, and what they can accomplish when it's meant to be."--Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Spectacular . . . an exhilarating epic about a free-spirited couple who traveled the world yet found home only in one another."--Booklist (starred review)

"Horan's prose is gorgeous enough to keep a reader transfixed, even if the story itself weren't so compelling. I kept re-reading passages just to savor the exquisite wordplay. . . . Few writers are as masterful as she is at blending carefully researched history with the novelist's art."--The Dallas Morning News

"A classic artistic bildungsroman and a retort to the genre, a novel that shows how love and marriage can simultaneously offer inspiration and encumbrance."--The New York Times Book Review

"Nancy Horan has done it again, capturing the entwined lives of Fanny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson so uncannily, it reads like truth."--Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress

"Horan has a distinct knack for evoking the rich, complicated lives of long-gone artists and the women who inspired them."--Entertainment Weekly

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780345516541
  • ISBN-10: 0345516540
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • Publish Date: September 2014
  • Page Count: 496
  • Dimensions: 8.22 x 5.2 x 1.09 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.82 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Women

 
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TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
Nancy Horan follows her acclaimed novel Loving Frank (2007) with another beautifully rendered historical romance. Under the Wide and Starry Sky is the story of the love that blossomed between Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and the volatile American who became his wife, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. The pair meet for the first time at an artists’ colony in France. Ten years older than the writer, with two children and a no-good husband back in the States, Fanny is slow to respond to Stevenson’s attentions. But he wins her heart, and the two embark on a life filled with travel, fame and artistic exploration. Along the way, Fanny serves as Stevenson’s editor and caretaker—he suffers from lung problems—and Horan does a remarkable job of reconstructing their complex, intense relationship. This splendid novel showcases Horan’s many gifts, including her knack for convincing dialogue and her ability to create rich interior lives for her characters.

 

This article was originally published in the October 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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