Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
(Ballantine Books, 2014, 496 pages)
Fanny Van de Griff Osbourne has finally had it with her husband’s wandering eye so she’s sailing across the ocean with her three children to Europe to hopefully study art. After plans go awry and tragedy strikes, Fanny and her children spend the summer in France. Fanny didn’t know that was a spot for local artists to come and spend their summers and she quickly befriends them. Only one though, Robert Louis Stevenson, instantly falls in love with her despite being ten years younger than her. Louis knows immediately this is a love to last a lifetime.
When I picked up this book, I didn’t realize it was a historical fiction based off the author Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and his American wife Fanny. Fanny and Louis definitely lived an interesting life that was almost always out of their control. This was a slow read for me but I’m glad I stuck with it. I learned a lot about the family and was constantly double checking facts to see if they were true. The backstories on Stevenson’s inspiration behind his writing was fascinating.