Author: Mark Wiederanders
Publisher: fireship press
Type of book: Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, romantic elements, Scotland, California, family, older female/younger male relationship, based on a true story, treasure island, 1876-1880s?, determinism, Europe, blended family
Year it was published: 2014
In 1879 Robert Louis Stevenson embarked on one of the most romantic, ill-advised but wildly successful quests a literary figure has ever made. Young, unknown, and in failing health, he journeys six-thousand arduous miles to make Fanny Osbourne his wife, despite the fact that she is already married (unhappily), has children, and is ten years older than he. And yet, from their first meeting, he knew instantly she was the only woman for him.
The main characters include Fanny, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Fanny's children as well as husband. I have to admit that I really liked Robert Louis Stevenson in the book and that I understood him a lot more than in Horan book. He is optimistic, persistent, in ill health, curious, an explorer, very determined when it comes to writing and love and seems to underestimate his talent for fiction, choosing to focus on travel essays instead. Fanny is ten years his senior, married, has children as well as her own issues when it comes to her husband's ways, her own illnesses and trying to get over a child's death as well as trying to understand in why she has feelings for Robert Louis Stevenson. Her children aren't heavily pictured as in the Horan book, but from what I gathered, Belle is the oldest and has a talent when it comes to painting and she isn't too fond of Stevenson, while her son Lloyd? is also not fond of him. Both the daughter and son love the father. Fanny's husband is a philanderer who has way too many mistresses and was also in the Civil War. He is presented as a damaged human being instead of someone evil.
Don't give up your dreams no matter the odds
The story is written in third person narrative from both Fanny's and Robert Louis Stevenson's points of view. The strengths of the book include the characters, suspense and psychology. What I also liked is that I kind of understood Fanny's illness, while the Horan book didn't really go in depth about it. There is also good pacing when it comes to the story and I was able to understand the characters a lot more. The story itself takes place from 1876 up until 1881.
(from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour)
About the Author
By an odd coincidence this is the second book about Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny that I'm reading this year, the first being Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan. (No matter how many times I hear the title, I often think it should be about Van Gogh) Unlike Under the Wide and Starry Sky which spanned their entire marriage, this book spans a few years or so, and a few instances are flashbacks. A lot of times the book didn't really differ from Under the Wide and Starry Sky aside from these particular areas: I don't really recall that Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson were very physical in the Horan book, and as I recall as well, Robert Louis Stevenson had a lot of trouble with Belle, perhaps the two didn't even reconcile until way late in life? While at some places I did feel the Horan book kind of dragged a little and I didn't really grasp the characters, this book remedies the problems, for I was able to understand Robert Louis Stevenson as well as Fanny. Also the story is pretty fascinating and its obvious that the author has done a lot of research because neither Horan nor this one differed all that much.
This is for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Buy the Book
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)