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Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Under the Wide and Starry Sky - Nancy Horan This book was good, but not great. It's the story of Robert Louis Stevenson's wife and their life as a couple. Her primary concern for much of their life together was his health, and moving to where his health could improve. She also didn't get along with his friends all that well, so that was a source of conflict. But of course, she enjoyed his writing, and it is also the story of the creation of Stevenson's two most famous works: [b:Treasure Island|295|Treasure Island|Robert Louis Stevenson||3077988] and [b:The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde|51496|The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde|Robert Louis Stevenson||3164921].

For historical value, I appreciated it and I'm glad I read it. But it seemed to me that Fanny was a bit much for the author to handle, given what we know about her. She seemed a little, say, eccentric, in historical documents, and at times in the novel, Fanny seemed to surprise herself as much as those around her. The explanations the author offered didn't ring true for me. So in the end, I didn't feel like the version of Fanny in this book was all that believeable. I suppose that's the challenge in taking on complicated historical subjects.

Also, since what we knew for sure had to be incorporated, there's a lot of emphasis on the moving around (well-documented), but not much on what happened in each place, so I didn't get a feel for what was really going on in the Stevensons' relationship, how their identities and lives were developing. This is also part of the challenge if historical fiction -- how much to make up and how much to stick to the script. But the script, for me, wasn't all that interesting, so it made for a so-so reading experience.