Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Nancy Horan. Ballantine, $26 (496p) ISBN 978-0-345-51653-4
Horan’s second novel (following Loving Frank) again mines the true story of a remarkable woman of history to impressive effect. This time, instead of Mameh Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright, the central couple is Fanny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson. The novel charts their relationship from their first meeting in France, where Fanny takes her two daughters after leaving her irresponsible, cheating husband, Sam, and the death of her son, Hervey. At first, it’s Louis’s cousin Bob who teases Fanny out of her grief, but ultimately Louis, 10 years younger than Fanny, is the one who wins her heart. The novel goes on to describe Fanny’s return to America (she is later followed by Louis) and her divorce from Sam, marriage to Louis, and their years spent in the South Pacific traveling from one island to another. Her own writing talent is submerged in the wake of Louis’s growing fame, and her influence over him creates envy among his circle of friends in Britain. 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. Agent: Lisa Bankoff, ICM. (Jan. 2014)
Reviewed on: 11/25/2013
Release date: 01/21/2014
Compact Disc - 14 pages - 978-0-307-57653-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-449-80812-2
Paperback - 721 pages - 978-0-307-99093-8
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-6498-1
Open Ebook - 341 pages - 978-0-345-53882-6
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-345-51654-1
Hardcover - 978-0-8041-8326-0
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