“Stevenson’s Treasure 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.” – Melissa Beck, Midwest Book Review.
Finalist, 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Awards.
“With intricately-rendered characters, rich international historical settings, and a warm humor simmering throughout its pages, STEVENSON’S TREASURE reminds us that while pirates, buried treasure, and split personalities can captivate, there is no adventure quite like the deep longing of the human heart.” – Kim Culbertson, Northern California Book Award Winner for Instructions for a Broken Heart.
“In the first lines of Mark Wiederanders’ captivating novel we are introduced to the eccentric, brilliant Robert Louis Stevenson through the eyes of the no less iridescent Fanny Osbourne, and from that meeting, the novel—meticulously researched by an author who has a sense of wicked humor to match Stevenson’s own—plunges forward. Stevenson’s early, absurd efforts to be a published author are almost impossible to juxtapose with his eventual fame, and he and Fanny seem to be in equal measure mismatched and fated. We follow with delight their careening efforts to figure out how to be—if they can be—together, and what that love life will or will not mean for Stevenson’s literary life. A great and unexpected love story, beautifully and compellingly told.” – Sands Hall, author of Catching Heaven and Tools of the Writer’s Craft.
“Drawing on prime sources, Wiederanders’ debut novel captures both the depth and charm of one of the Belle Epoch’s most unique couples; an absolutely sparkling read.” – Persia Woolley, author of The Guinevere Trilogy.
“In the best tradition of historical fiction, Mark uses an informed imagination to fill in the gaps in his extensive research. This included reading dozens of letters between the main characters, many of which had been ‘edited’ by family members for the sake of decency.… Wiederanders has an engaging and very readable writing style, with a fascination for the story of Robert Louis Stevenson which really shines through. I highly recommend Stevenson’s Treasure.” – Tony Riches, The Writing Desk.
“The best books entertain us, educate us, and inspire us to find out more about a subject or person. Stevenson’s Treasure is one such book. If you love to read, it is grand entertainment. If you fancy yourself a writer, it will provide excellent insight into a writer’s life.” – LuAnn Braley, Back Porchervations
“Stevenson’s Treasure by Mark Wiederanders is an exhilarating ride through the Golden West as we follow Robert Louis Stevenson from France and Scotland to Carmel, California in search of love and inspiration. The opening sentence is a stunner: “Fanny Osbourne had not expected to fall in love with a penniless writer in bad health who was closer to her daughter’s age than to her own” and the novel just gets better from there. Wiederanders’ style is richly descriptive, sensual with both a painter’s sensibility (Fanny was an artist) and a writer’s depth of character and detail. Stevenson’s experiences travelling on foot through France and Spain, a pack animal trailing behind, are described so well the reader shivers in the chill air and aches on the hard rocky ground, and feels the same affection for the cranky old donkey that Stevenson himself had. This novel brings to light a wonderful love story that is very little known, and entwines it around the larger tale of Stevenson’s ambition to write more than simple short stories or newspaper articles. Fanny and Stevenson come alive in these pages. I went from knowing almost nothing about Stevenson’s life to amazement at the herculean efforts he was willing to undertake to persist in his romantic pursuit of this American woman—a married woman with three children—whom he’d met in France. Stevenson was an odd duck by any standard, and Fanny was an “independent woman” for her time (1870s), having earned her way to that status through keeping house a decade earlier in a rough mining town in Nevada while her husband Sam prospected for gold. Fanny learned to shoot a pistol and to roll her own cigarettes, both of which accomplishments figure in the novel. Stevenson’s visit to California is well documented: he was one of the nascent Bohemian Club’s actual bohemians, and his and Fanny’s brief stay in Napa as the “Silverado Squatters” is still celebrated in the area. Wiederanders’ characterization of their trials and struggles, their great love for each other which overcomes so many obstacles, and their all-too-human frailties and foibles lights up the pages with his astute empathy for these two unusual people.” – Mary Burns, author of Portraits of an Artist: a novel about John Singer Sargent.