Under the Wide and Starry Sky

  • by Nancy Horan
  • Narrated by Kirsten Potter
  • 17 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A great story slightly let down by the narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would because it's a really interesting book and allows you to look at that period in history, and the lives of the people concerned, in an unusual way.

What did you like best about this story?

I like that is is about travellers and thoroughly creates the world of this 19th century bohemian family. I also like that it is a love story, but a realistic one. Louis and Fanny's marriage is very loving, but it is not without problems. Fanny, in particular, is a very interesting character; it's nice to see a woman in literature who is a realistic character, not a saint, a victim or a femme fatale.

What three words best describe Kirsten Potter’s performance?

Can't do accents.

I don't hate the performance, but if bad accents are a turn-off for you then don't buy this book. She is an American and can do neither a Scottish or an English accent, which is not great as more than half of the characters are British. Her performance of Fanny is very good though.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. The book is fairly episodic (and long) and so suits the way I listen to it, which is mostly during my commute.

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- Rosie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 21-01-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio