Under the Wide and Starry Sky, by Nancy Horan

underthewideIn the familiar category of novels about women who are famous because of the men they knew or loved comes Under the Wide and Starry Sky, a novel about Fanny Osbourne, the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson. I found this book quite informative as I’ve always been interested in Stevenson but didn’t know much about his life. Fanny comes across to reader as a woman who, like so many of her time, wanted to have an artistic career in her own right but was encouraged to channel her ambitions into supporting a man instead. She’s a feisty, often difficult character, and the combination of the mental illness that she suffers later in life with the physical illnesses that plagued Stevenson throughout his life makes for a realistic portrait of a marriage that saw a lot more “worse” than it did “better,” a lot more sickness than health. 

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Filed under Fiction -- historical

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