Providing a clear, accurate picture of the woman behind the genius, an incisive biography of the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson traces Fanny Stevenson s life from her early years in America to her days after his death


10 thoughts on “Fanny Stevenson: A Romance of Destiny

  1. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    I HAD NO IDEA This is continually how I reacted when I read about the life of Fanny Stevenson 1840 1914 , the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson, the famed novelist, poet and travel writer 1850 1894 It was with continual wonder and surprise that I read the pages of this book Beginning in the 1860s she traveled the world in a fashion that sounds imaginary She traveled from Indianapolis, where she was born, to New York, then boat to the Panama Isthmus, on to San Francisco and then Nevada The I HAD NO IDEA This is continually how I reacted when I read about the life of Fanny Stevenson 1840 1914 , the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson, the famed novelist, poet and travel writer 1850 1894 It was with continual wonder and surprise that I read the pages of this book Beginning in the 1860s she traveled the world in a fashion that sounds imaginary She traveled from Indianapolis, where she was born, to New York, then boat to the Panama Isthmus, on to San Francisco and then Nevada The transcontinental railroad was not yet complete To top it all off she traveled alone with her baby daughter, just a jingle of change and a few notes in her pocket She traveled back a few years later All her life she was a vagabond Fed up with the antics of her first skirt chasing husband she traveled again alone with her two young children to study art in France Later, married to R.L.S., they sailed the South Pacific Travel she did, and not always in luxury Usually she was fighting somebody or something people or illness She was a tremendously strong woman, clearly not an easy woman to live with She broke society s rules over and over again She was one determined lady, set to do exactly what was necessary to achieve her goals I did not find her goals selfish Once married to the interminably sick Robert she had one goal, that being to keep him alive and aid him with his writing Here again is another artist plagued by consumption All medical authorities said living up in the mountain air would help They tried Switzerland he only grew sicker So the warmth of the South Seas drew them, finally building their own home on a jungle covered island in Samoa Does that sound like a dream world Well, she built the pig pens, planted the gardens, braved cyclones alone, continually caring for the health and career of the acclaimed author It was a characteristic of her personality to defend the weak And R L.S was the same She broke every rule of propriety R.L.S was eleven years her junior After the author s death she had other affairs, lived with another man, almost forty years her junior, who married her daughter when she herself died She broke all rules Following travels around the world, the reader is not only given the details of family disputes, tumults and joys but also the politics of the domicile nations As a famed couple they could pull strings and did not hesitate to do so Fanny and R.L.S took on the fight for the underdog They supported the machinations of Hawaiian King Kalakaua against American powers They sought to help the lepers on Molokai The history of the leper colony is given R.L.S risked his own health to visit the island, attempting to change their conditions and the public view of lepers They involved themselves in the civil war and international disputes of the Samoan Islands History is detailed To enjoy this book the reader must be interested in such history The artist colonies in France at the turn of the century, the growth of Impressionism, the European cultural climate in art and writing at the turn of the 19th Century all of this is covered This book is written a s a biography The author separates herself from the individuals described in the pages Fanny Stevenson is honored by some and disclaimed by others To seek the truth, the author has thoroughly analyzed and documented her sources In this way the reader sometimes observes rather than empathizes with the individuals At the back of the book the sources are discussed in detail, chapter by chapter Rather than using quotes, the lines from prime sources are put in italics in the central portion of the book I found the numerous and lengthy sections in italics visually difficult to read, although they were skillfully woven into the narrative For my part, the critical analysis and detachment displayed in the writing style detracted from the book s punch I enjoyed learning about Fanny s personality, her life with Robert Louis Stevenson, the blossoming world of art in France, the political climate in Hawaii, the Molokai leper colony and finally life and political tensions in Polynesia, all at the turn of the 20th Century For this reason I give the book four stars


  2. amapola amapola says:

    Era la sola donna al mondo per la quale potessi immaginare che un uomo fosse pronto a morire. Mia moglie Leale e profonda, viva e veraCon occhi d oro e di mora selvaticaDiritta come una lamaIntegra come l acciaio colei che l ArteficeM ha dato.Furore e valore, onore e fiammaUn a che la vita non ha mai potuto consumareLa morte stremareL inferno massacrare colei che l OnnipotenteM ha dato.Maestra e tenera, amica e amante, sposaCompagna del camminoFedele fino alla fine del viaggioAnima liber Era la sola donna al mondo per la quale potessi immaginare che un uomo fosse pronto a morire. Mia moglie Leale e profonda, viva e veraCon occhi d oro e di mora selvaticaDiritta come una lamaIntegra come l acciaio colei che l ArteficeM ha dato.Furore e valore, onore e fiammaUn a che la vita non ha mai potuto consumareLa morte stremareL inferno massacrare colei che l OnnipotenteM ha dato.Maestra e tenera, amica e amante, sposaCompagna del camminoFedele fino alla fine del viaggioAnima libera, cuore pieno di assoluto la donna che DioM ha dato. Robert Louis Stevenson Se vi sembrano esagerazioni di un uomo innamorato perso, allora leggete questa biografia di Fanny Stevenson Conoscerete una donna straordinaria.Io sono rimasta a bocca aperta non me l aspettavo cos straordinaria


  3. Judy Judy says:

    Fanny Stevenson A Romance of Destiny rates as one of the better biographies I ve read in the last five years I believe this one will be one that I remember and refer back to often.Fanny s life contained much diversity, adventure, travel and love s ups and downs She certainly was a unique individual and clearly had some charisma where men were concerned, although I am still baffled as to why that was considering the chauvinistic era in which she lived IMO Fanny serves as pre feminist She nur Fanny Stevenson A Romance of Destiny rates as one of the better biographies I ve read in the last five years I believe this one will be one that I remember and refer back to often.Fanny s life contained much diversity, adventure, travel and love s ups and downs She certainly was a unique individual and clearly had some charisma where men were concerned, although I am still baffled as to why that was considering the chauvinistic era in which she lived IMO Fanny serves as pre feminist She nursed and served Robert Louis Stevenson but couldn t be labeled as servile, if that makes any sense She did not hesitate to give opinions and could bully others if they stood in the way of helping someone she loved Strong willed would be an understatement in describing Fanny.Since I am a fan of RLS, I enjoyed seeing his life through Fanny s eyes It isn t the rose coloured view presented by most of his biographers His passion and loyalty towards Fanny and his friends impressed me view spoiler During Fanny s bouts with mental illness in Samoa, I almost cried the way he sacrificed his ill health to nurse her back to health and then died of a stroke shortly after Speaking of Fanny s mental illness, is it coincidental that she didn t suffer from it again after RLS died Personally, I think she was overstressed and close to a breakdown She bore the brunt of running the estate and nurturing a mostly selfish, dependent family hide spoiler A couple highlights of the book Fanny s fashion sense wear the current style, but add at least one item that expresses your individual personality There is enough travel, drama and adventure for a couple of lives The devotion and loyalty between Fanny and RLS is touching This is my first time seeing a Notes section layout such as this one has I liked it a lot The only drawbacks Even after reading this book I still don t feel like I know Fanny as much as know about her. I don t blame the author for this because most information about her is written by her enemies who felt she stole RLS from them However, the author did a wonderful job of reconstructing her life from letters and such The other drawback is only a minor one and a personal peeve I detest it when authors write lines such as She didn t know this would be the last time or Little did she know that I hate being told something before it happens in a biography I like to know what happens in the order it happens Fortunately, this book indulges in only a minor amount of this tactic.Fanny Stevenson a solid 4.0 stars


  4. Marianne Marianne says:

    I was fascinated with the lives of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny Osbourne They traveled the world in search of a environment that would suit Louis s condition I found it amazing that they traveled and lived in the harshest conditions in the mid 1800 s..and loved it I love biographies.and this book did not disappoint It s a long read and most of the story I was familiar with after reading Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan which I also enjoyed tremendously..I h I was fascinated with the lives of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny Osbourne They traveled the world in search of a environment that would suit Louis s condition I found it amazing that they traveled and lived in the harshest conditions in the mid 1800 s..and loved it I love biographies.and this book did not disappoint It s a long read and most of the story I was familiar with after reading Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan which I also enjoyed tremendously..I have been inspired to read The Voyage Windward and other books about the Stevenson s


  5. Becky Loader Becky Loader says:

    Oh, Fanny.Fanny Stevenson endured a marriage of hardship and a philandering husband Determined to study art, she took the brave step to leave the U.S with her children in tow Meeting Robert Louis Stevenson at an artist colony, she fell in love head over heels They had an amazing life together I like reading biographies to fill in the details so often left out in the fleeting memory of fame Great book about a woman before her time.


  6. Rebecca Blackson Rebecca Blackson says:

    This was an interesting and fun read, despite being horrifically long For some odd reason, I thought the first half of the book about her life with her first husband wasinteresting than her famous life with Robert Louis Stevensen And I don t think she was a violent person at all I think she went through horrendous trials that strained her to exhaustion both mentally and physically.


  7. Natalie Natalie says:

    Excellent book I love well written stories about real people who lived their life with inner dignity and courage


  8. Loretta Loretta says:

    I would rather read a biography than just about anything else and this re enforces my love of that genre This is an extraordinary story of the woman behind Robert Louise Stevenson.


  9. Sophie Sophie says:

    Trop longue Trop m lodramatique Trop de passages qui d crivent le monologue int rieur de personnages comment peut on savoir Soit c est une biographie, soit c est une nouvelle Ceci est un m lange des deux Mais l histoire m me des moments interessants pour moi les plus interessants tait le s jour dans les mines d or de San Francisco et les voyages dans les lies Pacifiques.


  10. SaraB SaraB says:

    Que dire, une passion pour ce livre puis je bloque vers les trois quarts, impossible de continuer quelques sc nes extr mement dures