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Under the Wide and Starry Sky: A Novel | [Nancy Horan]

Under the Wide and Starry Sky: A Novel

From Nancy Horan, New York Times best-selling 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.
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Publisher's Summary

From Nancy Horan, New York Times best-selling 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.

©2014 Nancy Horan (P)2014 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Fascinating...a novel that shows how love and marriage can simultaneously offer inspiration and encumbrance." (The New York Times Book Review)

"A lot of fun...Horan drapes this skeleton of facts with a richly imagined musculature of love, laughter, pain and sacrifice." (USA Today)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (212 )
5 star
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4.2 (182 )
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Performance
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  •  
    N. Thompson Athens GA 07-06-14
    N. Thompson Athens GA 07-06-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nancy Horan - another good one!"
    Where does Under the Wide and Starry Sky rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top 10%


    What other book might you compare Under the Wide and Starry Sky to and why?

    It was similar to Loving Frank because Horan brought a real person to life. It reads like a novel, but it is very interesting to read about the history of Robert Louis Stevenson (in this book) and Frank Lloyd Wright in Loving Frank. Of course, I think Horan says that it is a somewhat factionalized account... They are both excellent listens!


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine 05-26-14
    Christine 05-26-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fan of Nancy Horan"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It provides some literary history with some texture from the era they lived in and their personal lives.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I don't know how Nancy Horan does it but she transports the reader to the lives and times that she is writing about. "Loving Frank" is still my all time favorite audiobook.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cindy st. paul, MN, United States 03-28-14
    cindy st. paul, MN, United States 03-28-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Not your typical love story adventure"

    Finally, a love story that doesn’t end happily or tragically. Horan is able to portray Louis Stevenson and his wife, Fannie as they really are, human. They both make mistakes, act impulsively and drift apart, which really happens to couples. It wasn’t love at first sight and happily ever after. I really began to under Fannie and her moods towards the end when Louis had his revelation when she was ill. It takes a lot for person to step back and see the situation for what it really is and how they got there. Louis was accountable for his part in their hectic lives and was big enough to own it and tell Fannie so. A part of me hopes that Louis really did understand how much work Fannie put into keeping him alive and what a toll it took on her and her children. As far as Fannie, I understand how other viewers may say that Fannie is all about herself and to a certain extent that’s true but who isn’t? I think Fannie was a woman before her time, a woman willing to do whatever it took to get the job done.

    Overall, I enjoyed the audio book very much. I thought the narrator did a fantastic job differentiating the characters and their accents. I was very sorry that the book ended sooner than I felt like I knew each of the main characters so well by then. Even though the two parts of the audio book total about 16 hours, it sure didn’t seem that long. However, if I had read the book, I can’t say for sure that I would have finished the book eagerly. I have to admit there were chapters during the book that I thought the author could have hurried through.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erika Shaffer Seattle, WA 06-09-15
    Erika Shaffer Seattle, WA 06-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    "good performance, story goes on a little LONG"
    Would you try another book from Nancy Horan and/or Kirsten Potter?

    Yes I would. I felt this went on a bit long but that is more because of the lives these people led rather than the storytelling. Was pretty amazing to go from Paris to Monterrey to the south pacific. I knew nothing of RL stevenson's life at all and was really interesting!


    Have you listened to any of Kirsten Potter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I had just listened to Station 11 and the content was so different that it was an odd experience frankly!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelley 04-02-15
    Shelley 04-02-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Enjoyed"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes


    What other book might you compare Under the Wide and Starry Sky to and why?

    Loving Frank


    What about Kirsten Potter’s performance did you like?

    Wonderful voices, especially R.L.S.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    A few tears, in several sad parts, and many smiles.


    Any additional comments?

    This book kept my interest most of the time. Still, a little editing would have made it better for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Settle Naples, FL, US 03-13-15
    Larry Settle Naples, FL, US 03-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Masterful!"

    Marvelous insight into RLS's life and times. Bravo to the narrator for her masterful voicing particularly her male Irish brogue! Astonishingly convincing and nuanced.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Gardiner United States 02-10-15
    P. Gardiner United States 02-10-15 Member Since 2007

    connoisseur of fine honey

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    "Another excellent book by Nancy Horan"

    I enjoyed Under the Wide and Starry Night almost as much as Loving Frank. That's only because I'm a big Frank Lloyd fan. Both books are beautifully composed. I am waiting for Nancy's next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoEllen Arnold Sacramento, CA United States 01-12-15
    JoEllen Arnold Sacramento, CA United States 01-12-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Pedestrian"

    Awful narration of the story of lives that deserve stellar writing, which is also missing. I hope someone else has done a better job and I look forward to reading some of the source materials on which the writer based this book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel 05-19-14
    Rachel 05-19-14
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    "A pretty dull story"
    What disappointed you about Under the Wide and Starry Sky?

    I didn't find this book very interesting. I didn't bother downloading the second part as I could justify listening to another 8 plus hours of a story that seemed to be going nowhere. The narration was good, although I'm not sure about her Scottish accent!


    1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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