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 Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank
Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and The Christian Science Monitor
“Enthralling . . . Mamah Borthwick Cheney wasn't just any woman, but Horan makes her into an enigmatic Everywoman—a symbol of both the freedoms women yearn to have and of the consequences that may await when they try to take them.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A staggering read, a complex tale of the love affair between two eccentric, intelligent and unforgettable characters . . . Though it is very much a literary novel, sparks fly off the page.”—Rocky Mountain News
“In Mamah, Horan creates an unforgettably complex heroine.”—The Washington Post
“Reveals what we expect to get from great fiction: timeless truths about ourselves.”—New York Daily News
“A beautifully designed, innovative and noteworthy work of art.”—Chicago Tribune
“Compelling . . . a page-turning love story.”—The Plain Dealer
“Unexpectedly powerful.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
About the Author
Nancy Horan is the author of Loving Frank. She is also a journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications. She has two sons, and lives with her husband on an island in Puget Sound.
Praise for Under the Wide and Starry Sky…
Advance praise for Under the Wide and Starry Sky
“Fanny and Louis are wild-hearted seekers, and Nancy Horan traces their incredible journey fearlessly, plunging us through decades, far-flung continents, and chilling brushes with death. Ambitious and often breathtaking, this sweeping story spills over with spirited, uncompromising life.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
“It’s one thing to bring the past to life. It’s quite another to bring it back rich in all its glorious complications. Nancy Horan has done it again, capturing the entwined lives of Fanny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson so uncannily, it reads like truth—and better. I loved every minute I had it in my hands.”—Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress
“Maybe it goes without saying that it’s a hard thing to chase a book as successful as Loving Frank with a second novel. For one thing, you worry it was an accident the first time around. The good news is that it wasn’t (an accident), and Nancy Horan is back with another beautifully crafted story, and no signs of a sophomore slump.”—Pete Dexter, author of Paris Trout, winner of the National Book Award
“What an extraordinary story! Throughout the novel, I felt I was right there with Fanny and Louis, sharing their hopes and hardships as they traveled the world. The portrayal of their lives on Samoa was especially gripping. Nancy Horan has transformed everything I thought I knew about Robert Louis Stevenson, and in Fanny—his passionate, independent American wife—she has created a woman whose struggles continue to haunt me.”—Lauren Belfer, author of A Fierce Radiance and City of Light
“As she did so magically in Loving Frank, Nancy Horan brings to life a distant time and faraway places populated by characters at once familiar and delightfully new. By widening her lens to shine a light on the lives of those whom history usually ignores—the wives of famous men—Horan gives us a marvelous gift: an entirely new appreciation of Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Osbourne.”—Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road
“Fans of Loving Frank will adore this authentic, richly detailed, and utterly captivating new novel from Nancy Horan. Under the Wide and Starry Sky is a globe-spanning literary wonder—the perfect book for those who read fiction in search of the truth.”—Jamie Ford, author of Songs of Willow Frost
“Horan’s spectacular second novel has been worth the wait. Brimming with the same artistic verve that drives her complicated protagonists, it follows the loving, tumultuous partnership of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and his Indiana-born wife, Fanny Osbourne. . . . Equally adventurous and colorful, Louis and Fanny could each command the story singlehandedly. Together, they are riveting and insightfully envisioned, including through moving depiction of how their relationship transforms over time. . . . An exhilarating epic about a free-spirited couple who traveled the world yet found home only in one another.”—Booklist (starred review)
“This beautifully written novel, neatly balanced between its two protagonists, makes them come alive with grace, humor, and understanding. Horan’s empathy for both Louis and Fanny allows her to capture their life together with all the complexity and nuance of a real-life relationship.”—Publishers Weekly