My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In 1879 Robert Louis Stevenson was a chronically ill, wannabe travel writer who had only published a few essays, when he met Fanny Osbourne in France. She was an unhappily married American who was in France to get away from her husband and who was mourning the death of her young son. Louis was immediately infatuated and when she returned to California, he decided to try to find a way to follow her.
I didn’t know anything about the life of Robert Louis Stevenson besides the fact that he wrote Treasure Island. This book covers the years leading up to the writing of that book. I was fascinated by Louis’ unfailingly (and sometimes irrationally) upbeat personality no matter what was going on in his life. The love of his life is married and lives on another continent in a time when travel is incredibly hard? No problem. He is so sick that he has to take time out of travel to recuperate with whatever stranger he happened to collapse on? Why let that stop you? Your intended is married and has no idea you are about to show up on her doorstep? No big deal.
If that type of personality is interesting to read about, I think it would be crazy-making to live with. I admire Fanny for trying to keep some type of order in the midst of the chaos.
If you are interested in the lives of writers, I definitely recommend this book. Would you like to win it?