Book Review: Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

Under the Wide and Starry Sky
Author: Nancy Horan
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Released: January 21st 2014
Review Source: NetGalley

In her masterful new novel, Nancy Horan has recreated a love story that is as unique, passionate, and overwhelmingly powerful as the one between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney depicted so memorably in Loving Frank. Under the Wide and Starry Sky chronicles the unconventional love affair of Scottish literary giant Robert Louis Stevenson, author of classics including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American divorcee Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. They meet in rural France in 1875, when Fanny, having run away from her philandering husband back in California, takes refuge there with her children. Stevenson too is escaping from his life, running from family pressure to become a lawyer. And so begins a turbulent love affair that will last two decades and span the world.

This is a beautiful historical love story. What captured my attention was the cover. Yes, I get attracted by covers too. I just love the cover. But what I like is that I was unaware this book is based on a true story!

Under the Wide and Starry Sky takes us back to 1870s where divorce is not an option. This is the time when marriage is arranged and no matter if you were miserable you needed to stay within the arrangement. Anyone willing to break this was not forgiven.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky is the journey and love story of Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Osbourne. This is a journey of nearly thirty years of struggles and challenges. In which we learn how a married woman follows her heart and how love overcomes all.

My issue with Under the Wide and Starry Sky is that I felt like I was reading a textbook of history instead of a historical novel. Although the story is told in slow paced and slow to progress, yet this is an incredible love story to read. This is one of those great love stories that have inspired many and live among us to teach us the true meaning of love.


  1. I've noticed this around a lot (also because of the cover- so pretty) but I didn't realise it was based on a true story either!

  2. This sounds like a really interesting read. I love the cover too!


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