Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

Under the Wide and Starry Sky

"Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and glady 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."

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan is the tale of Franny Osbourne and Robert Louis Stevenson.  For those that did not know, Franny was an American divorcee that married RLS (her junior of more than a decade), who is well known for books such as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  This book dealt with Franny and RLS's love affair and marriage. 

Franny Osbourne is an American woman, who has had enough of her whore mongering husband in San Francisco.  Trying to get her three children and herself away from the negative life style in America and trying to get her daughter to become a well rounded artist, Fanny ships out to Paris.  Paris proves to be a dangerously amazing adventure, especially when Fanny meets a young Scottish novice writer along with a band of artists, who shape her future into what we know now.

RLS is a struggling writer.  He is struggling against what his father wants him to do, what society wants him to do, and ultimately what he will do.  What he doesn't realize is that Fanny will be walking into his life and changing everything he knew. 

The book also gives a great background to the adventures both had in the Pacific.  Through the ups and downs of their life, which included severe health issues for both, there was a love story worth writing about.  Who would have married a divorcee with children so eagerly at that time?  Who would have married a starving artist, with children to feed during that time?  Both were pioneers in both social and cultural aspects.  Their love story is tender, rocky, and real.

I gave the book 3.5 stars, because in the middle of the book there were moments of lull when describing the new settings; however, this book was an amazing adult read.

Thank You Edelweiss and NetGalley.

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