February 2014 Indie Next List
“Just as she did in Loving Frank, Horan brings to life the story of a strong woman and a talented man -- in this case Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson was not a strong man physically, which meant the couple spent much of their married life chasing climates and locations in an attempt to give him a chance at life as a writer. Fannie gives up her personal ambitions as an artist and writer to be Stevenson's caregiver, but at what cost? This multifaceted book demonstrates all the twists and turns of life -- love and loyalty, wealth and poverty, privilege and survival, success and disappointment, darkness and joy. Readers will want to revisit the works of Stevenson with new eyes after reading Horan's wonderful book.”
— Beverly Baur, Redbery Books, Cable, WI
"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.
About the Author
Nancy Horan, a former journalist and longtime resident of Oak Park, Illinois, now lives and writes on an island in Puget Sound.