My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I requested this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a historical fiction novel that describes the life of Fanny Stevenson and the famous Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson.
Fanny van de Grift Osbourne and her three children have travelled to Belgium in order to escape from a frustrated marriage and to try to have some art lessons in Belgium.
However Fanny’s plans don’t work as planned and she is forced to move to a quiet artists’ colony in France in order to recuperate her health.
Then she finally met RL Stevenson, who at that time was ten years of her junior.
Even if this is an improbable love story between Fanny and Stevenson, the author managed to portray their life path from the Swiss Alps, where Robert is trying to recover from tuberculosis, follow by their travel to California when they had the chance to met Henry James during this American journey and then they moved to Hawaii afterwards, where they lived quite well.
But their epic love story ended in the Samoa Island.
It is quite interesting to read how hard was to a writer to acquire fame and the due recognition. Stevenson became famous mainly after the publication of “Treasure Island” and “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde“. His health issues were always a serious concern to his family and to Fanny as well.
It should be noticed that there is another similar book on this same subject, namely “Fanny Stevenson” written by the French author Alexandra Lapierre. Another to be read, and perhaps to be compared, with the one written by Nancy Horan.
- Samoa – Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson’s home (marcopolopaloalto.wordpress.com)
- Robert Louis Stevenson Day set for 13 November (scotsman.com)
- The life and works of Robert Louis Stevenson will be celebrated with a series of events in Edinburgh next week (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- In Sickness and in Health (NYTimes.com)