Review: Stevenson’s Treasure by Mark Wederanders

I am pleased to welcome Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours back to the Book Binder’s Daughter.  Today the book I am reviewing is about the life and adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson.  I invite you to read my review, learn a bit about the author and visit the other stops on the tour.

My Review:

The strength of this novel is the character of Robert Louis Stevenson himself.  The story is told from two different points of view, that of Stevenson himself and a woman named Fanny with whom he is hopelessly in love.  Stevenson has a great sense of humor and even though he is sickly with a lung disease and his life always seems to be a mess, he manages to make light of his turmoil through his humor.

Fanny and Stevenson meet at an art colony in France and he is immediately smitten with her.  But Fanny is already married, albeit unhappily, and has two children.  Stevenson ignores these obstacles that stand in their way of being together.  When Fanny leaves to go back to California, Stevenson embarks on a 6,000 mile journey to find her again.  How far would you be willing to journey to be with the one you love?

I think that we tend to idealize famous writers like Stevenson and image that stories and novels come to them effortlessly.  Mark Wiederanders shows us that Stevenson’s writing process was anything but easy and Stevenson never really intended to write fiction at all.  He likes to entertain Fanny, her children and others with his stories but he doesn’t start to write fiction in a serious way until he is forced to make a living from his stories.

STEVENSON’S TREASURES is a fun and entertaining read that mixes humor, great writing and adventure.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction set in the 19th century and for anyone who wants to know more about the multifaceted character of Robert Louis Stevenson.

About The Author:

03_Mark WiederandersMark Wiederanders lives in Northern California and writes about the private lives of famous authors. His screenplay about William Shakespeare’s family, “Taming Judith” was a finalist in the Academy of Motion Pictures’ annual screenwriting competition and was optioned by a film company. The idea for his current novel, STEVENSON’S TREASURE hatched during a visit to Carmel, when Mark learned that Robert Louis Stevenson suffered a near-fatal collapse in 1879 while hiking nearby. What was the young, as-yet unknown Scottish writer doing so far from home?

To write the novel that resulted from this question, Mark studied hundreds of historical letters and visited sites near him in Monterey, San Francisco, and Calistoga. Then he followed Stevenson’s footsteps to Europe, lodging at the Stevenson home in Edinburgh followed by a week in the Highlands cottage where RLS wrote TREASURE ISLAND. Mark is also a research psychologist (Ph.D, University of Colorado) who has studied treatment programs for delinquents and the criminally insane. His interests include acting in community theater (recently a Neil Simon play), downhill skiing, golf, and spending time with his wife and three grown children.

For more information please visit Mark Wiederander’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook.

Stevenson’s Treasure Blog Tour Schedule:

Monday, September 15
Review & Interview at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, September 16
Review at The Writing Desk

Wednesday, September 17
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Review, Interview & Giveaway at Based on a True Story

Thursday, September 18
Review at Library Educated

Friday, September 19
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, September 22
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 23
Interview at Book Babe

Wednesday, September 24
Spotlight at Princess of Eboli

Thursday, September 25
Review & Giveaway at Beth’s Book Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, September 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, October 1
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

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2 responses to “Review: Stevenson’s Treasure by Mark Wederanders

  1. It’s interesting that you emphasize the obstacles to writing that Stevenson experienced, because it is true that he had much to overcome in order to write and especially to keep writing when his health and mood worked against him. Fanny turned out to be the ideal person in many ways to supply the strength he needed to go on, even though their relationship was unexpected. I recently read a short biography of Stevenson (by James Pope-Hennessey), and I found him to be a very sympathetic character, compassionate and generous. Fanny did nothing lightly, but once she determined a course of action, I have the feeling she was unstoppable!–a true-life romance that was all the more real (and perhaps perfect) because of their individual imperfections. Looking forward to reading this one!


  2. I found him to be such an interesting character that I would love to read a biography of him. Thanks so much for the suggestion.


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