In the Shadow of

When young Robert Louis Stevenson met Fanny Van de Grift at an enclave of Bohemian writers and artists in France, he was spellbound.  Small, dark, American, married, and ten years his senior, Fanny was the most exotic woman he’d ever met.  She had uprooted her three children and traveled to Europe, leaving behind a cheating husband.  Determined to study painting and make a life for herself and her children. the adventurous and independent Fanny was at home smoking and drinking with her male counterparts, building furniture, creating gardens, and adapting to whatever environment in which she found herself.  When a romance blossomed between Stevenson and Fanny, she returned to California with the hope of convincing her husband to grant her a divorce.  Three years later she was free to marry Stevenson who traveled to claim her, and so began a shared life of world travel and frequents bouts of dealing with Stevenson’s grave illness.  While Franny entertained thoughts of becoming a writer herself, she found her life consumed with caring for her husband and keeping their households afloat.   In Under a Wide and Starry Sky, author Nancy Horan presents a portrait of a fierce and complicated woman who was born well ahead of her time.

For other books about wives of famous authors, read:

Girl in a Blue Dress: a Novel Inspried by the Life and Marriage of Charles Dickens by Gaynor Arnold

Winter at Death’s Hotel by Kenneth M. Cameron

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

The Raven’s Bride by Lenore Hart

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Poets’ Wives by David Park

Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood






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