This beautifully written story vividly carried me away to the 19th century and the life and times of author Robert Louis Stevenson. It is a history story, a travel story, but most of all, a love story of one of the premier authors of that era and his tempestuous wife, Fanny.
I was familiar with Robert Louis Stevenson’s most popular works (A Child’s Garden of Verses; Treasure Island, and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde) but knew nothing about the man who wrote these classics. What I learned was that his life was as varied as his works. While the book is listed as a novel, Ms. Horan’s detailed research left me feeling like I was reading a biography rather than a well-thought out story, woven with real life events..
Robert Louis Stevenson was a literary genius who struggled with serious health issues his entire life. These struggles, along with his views of the world, complicated his relationship with his parents, his circle of friends, his marriage, even where he lived and worked. Compromises had to be made at every turn which led to adventures he and Fanny could never have dreamed of.
The book is not for the faint-hearted. It is 474 pages and 90 chapters long. But it was just the right length to eloquently portray the fascinating life of RLS. I took it slow and savored the writing. In the end, I came away with respect and awe for Robert Louis and Fanny Stevenson.