Customer Reviews for

Daughter of Fortune

Average Rating 4
( 141 )
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(56)

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(22)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 141 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reading this is an adventure on its own.

    When I first read its synopsis three years ago, I was immediately drawn to what seemed to be a puzzling storyline. How can a young girl from Chile arrive in California, especially in the 1800's during the Gold Rush? The summary read "because of love," but in reality, what can love really accomplish?
    The first half or so of the book gives no mention of California until young Eliza Sommers, raised by wealthy owners of an English import/export company in Chile, falls in love with Joaquin Andieta. It is no coincidence that Joaquin and Eliza meet at the time right before the California Gold Rush fever reaches Valparaiso, Chile. Eliza's loneliness and her sense of pride driver her to follow her lover to California and find him, even recruiting the help of a Chinese man whom she knows little about. Armed with only the pearls and golden jewelry her uncle Captain John Sommers has collected for her over the years, she leaves for California and experiences suffering and hardship, both which make her realize that life is too short-lived and it would be impossible for her to return to the proper world of corsets and milky skin. Over time, she even begins forgetting her lover's identity, clinging to their love letters as she tries to overcome the desperation time imbues in her. Driven by legend and a shell of lost romance, Eliza must eventually decide for herself whether or not to forget the past.
    The characters themselves are colorful and well-developed. There are chapters in the book devoted to almost every one of them, and Isabel Allende does a wonderful job at developing their history. This significantly builds their development as their attitudes and decisions are driven by their past, and no little detail goes unnoticed. From the stage of the dramatic Italian/English theater to the crowded and buzzing streets of Hong Kong, Allende CREATES a believable world and portrays the characters in a higher dimension. Allende demonstrates a savvy for almost every type of culture, and that knowledge shines through to create a higher level of drama rarely achieved by other authors. As she explains each character, the reader is able to understand them deeply and thus creates a bond between character and reader, enhancing readability.
    "Daughter of Fortune" is an excellent book, and once picked up, it is difficult to put down. Each page is full of imagery, full of choices, and full of a world nobody remembers and few have seen. I highly recommend reading this novel: A tale about a young girl who is willing to lose it all for something she herself lost.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2009

    A vast novel full of insight and adventure

    The book Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende is an extremely engaging and colorful novel. It spans several generations and explores the effects and difficulties of unrequited love. I especially enjoyed the author's wonderful imagery which creates a much more vivid and intimate connection for the reader. Allende's personal ties to the setting in Chile make the description exceptionally powerful. The book incorporates accurate facts and details of the time to make this fiction story seem like reality. Allende uses actual dates and events to verify her plot and places her characters in a historically important background. This setting is not only essential to the plot but to themes as well which touch on the role and view of women in society during this particular time period.
    The characters are very well characterized and developed, adding to the thrilling story-line. Early on, the reader is able to form a connection with these characters because of their aspirations for the future. The struggles that they overcome and the adversity that they face are very easy for the reader to identify with. The story is focused primarily on the protagonist, Eliza, however, the other supporting characters full of depth and life. Eliza is strong, independent and full of vigor and her undeterred spirit is a driving force in the novel. She is an exceptional example of a woman, escaping the boundaries of her time, by establishing herself as controller of her own fate and destiny.
    This novel would be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys historical fiction with an intriguing plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2015

    Very entertaining

    It has been years sibce i read this but i remember enjoying it start to finish.

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  • Posted December 11, 2013

    I read the book The Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende which

    I read the book The Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende which was published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc. in New York City in the year of 2002.
    The main theme of Daughter of Fortune is love. The theme of Daughter of Fortune is love because throughout the book there is a form of love that is apparent, mainly between the main character (Eliza) and her lover(s). The book follows two intertwined love stories and also focuses in on others as the book plays out, but the main two are those of Eliza and her lovers.
    Eliza is involved in the love of this story because she is involved in love affair that takes her halfway across the world, and if it weren’t for the love that she has with her “lover” there would be no story. Not only was Eliza involved in a love affair that took her to California to follow her supposed love, she also became involved with another man. Not only were these love stories apparent, but Eliza’s adopted mom and Tao Chi’en, a friend of Eliza’s, also had tales of their own romances intertwined within the Eliza’s story.
    Daughter of Fortune is about a half Chilean, half English orphan who was left with the Sommers family where she grew up gaining knowledge and skills, like playing the piano. As she grows up, she starts to notice changes about herself, including an attraction to boys. Eliza meets a man who she falls in love with as soon as she lays her eyes on him. When the Gold Rush strikes, Eliza’s love travels to California to find his fortune and Eliza decides to follow him shortly after. The young girl sneaks onto a vessel to arrive in California two months later. With the help of a befriended cook, Eliza makes it through the journey, but barely. She suffers from medical complications and stays extremely weak for years after her voyage. Once in California, she set off to find her lover, but has a difficult time because she was a few months later than he was. Being so much farther ahead of Eliza, her love could be anywhere in California, which means it was left to fate. Somewhere in the midst of her journey, Eliza seems to fall for another man who she grew close to. Which lover will she choose in the end?
    I have very mixed feelings about this book because at times I was very bored and at others I was intrigued and on the edge of my seat, but overall I liked the book more than disliked it. I enjoyed reading this book because the detail was rich and frequent, which made it feel like I was living in the time that it was taking place and experiencing everything the characters were experiencing. At one point, the author says “…whitewashed adobe and red tile roof, entry hall, one large room nearly bare of furniture…” (65). Allende was describing a small home that one of the characters stays in, and I felt like I was there. The suspense about what will happen to Eliza and what choices she will make also adds to the book in a good way. One reason that I found the book boring in times was because there was a lack of voice; “…too poor to worry about details…” (153) just sounds generic to me, which I dislike, I prefer a more original take in what I read, not cliché’s.
    While reading this I learned a lot about what it was like in the time of the Gold Rush. I learned more about my own country during the Gold Rush, which was a subject I never learned much about, except for now. For example, it was put into perspective how many people came to California during this time, and of how many races (Chinese, Chilean, Mexican, ect.). I also learned how to build on my own writing techniques through this piece because I could analyze Allende’s strategies and decide if they were effective for my own use. For example, Allende wove separate stories through the book, which to me was a way to intrigue the audience, and now I can try and use that.
    I would recommend this book, but only to a certain audience. I don’t think that anyone below the high school level should read this because the subject matter is very mature and there are very vivid graphics that may not be appropriate for children. Also, the way the author portrayed the story was very complex, and may be hard for younger readers to understand. Although, for high school, it was very age appropriate and it is relevant to education so you can learn a lot from it.

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  • Posted May 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It Was Okay, and Slightly Boring

    Overall I felt this book was well researched. Although I didn't learn much regarding the time period, I did feel that Isabel Allende captured the mood of the gold rush well. The story was interesting and rather intense, however, some parts seemed too rushed while other parts seemed too slow. I also wished I could have learned more about the characters. Rather than allowing readers to get to know the characters through their dialogue and actions, Allende took the more artificial rout and tried to force their history into the narrative. I wish it were a more natural experience.

    Overall I grew very bored with the book, but I felt that the combination of the well researched history and the elegant writing style should be given three stars.

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  • Posted December 12, 2012

    The story starts off during the 1840's in chile, When a young Ch

    The story starts off during the 1840's in chile, When a young Chilean girl named Eliza was dropped off at the doorstep of Rose, John, and Jeremy Sommers home. They lived in a port of Valparaiso and she grew up learning everything she knows from Mama Fresia the Sommers cook. As Eliza starts to get older she falls in love with a young Chilean man named Joaquin Andieta. The couple had an affair resulting in Eliza becoming pregnant. Joaquin had already left to go California in search of gold and fortune. So Eliza sets off with her friend Tao Chien to search for her love.During there journey Eliza becomes very sick and suffers a horrible miscarriage. Eliza is then disguised as a Chinese boy that she carry's on during there stop in San Fransisco.While in San Fransisco Eliza earns some money by selling snacks and Tao becomes a successful physician.But while Eliza is gone rose and Jeremy are wondering where Eliza is.John Sommers then also catches on the Eliza is missing so Rose and John decided it was time to tell Jeremy there shocking secret about Eliza. John is Eliza's father. This was something that Rose and John have kept from Jeremy from the day Eliza showed up on there doorstep.John then sets off to San Fransisco to go find his daughter with one of his good friends Paulina Rodriguez de la Cruz . After a while Eliza losses her love for Joaquin but she just doesn't want to stop her journey so she keeps on moving and becoming more disguises. Eliza soon meets up with a women named Joe Bonecrusher. She is the owner of a traveling brothel that employs Eliza as a cook and piano player. The members of the group all believed that Eliza is a homosexual man from her disguise.Tao then decides to move back to china but soon realizes once he got there he missed Eliza. Meanwhile in San Fransisco John Sommers meets a journalist named "Jacob Freemont" his real name Joe Todd promises that he will search for Eliza. Jacob starts to write articles about a name named Joaquin Murieta who's description is almost the exact same as Joaquin Andieta, Eliza's old love.Tao returns to Eliza and they soon fall in love.They started to help out young prostitutes escape and start new lives. The articles started to catch Eliza's eye when Jacob the journalist started to write that Joaquin Murieta was shot and her and Tao set off to see if it was Joaquin Andieta . Jacob was then able to tell the sommers that Eliza is happy and alive.
    i thought that this book was ok, some parts of the book i didn't quite get but at the end it started to get a turn of events when Eliza and Tao fell in love and i liked how that played out.i learned that if you keep searching for something in particular something better might come along and from that Eliza was searching for Joaquin and ended up with Tao.


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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    have not read this one yet

    This was recommended by a friend. I have not read it yet.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2011

    Not the Brightest Shine of All

    Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, is short terms is about a girl in the 1800's who decides to follow her heart and go to California from Chile with her poor lover to live there during the gold rush, hoping to strike it rich. Eliza Sommers was raised by European brother and sister, Rose and Jeremy Sommers after being found on their doorstep on day. They are from England but live in Valparaiso, Chile. Rose wants to raise Eliza ad a proper English woman, but Eliza often spends her days (and nights) with Mama Fresia, the cook. Over most of Part I, Eliza's upbringing and her maturity are told. Eliza falls in love with Joaquin Andieta, a Chilean man living in poverty. They have an affair and Eliza gets pregnant. When news of gold being discovered in California reaches Chile, Joaquin goes out to California in search of a fortune. Wanting to follow her lover, Eliza goes to California, with the help of her Chinese zhong yi (physician) friend, Tao Chi'en. She is hidden in the bowels of a ship headed by a Dutch Lutheran captain, Vincent Katz. In the beginning of Part II, Tao's past is revealed, from his early life in poverty, to his apprenticeship to a master acupuncturist, and his ill-fated marriage to a young and frail girl who dies after a brief marriage. Lin's spirit later comes in to help her widowed husband at crucial points for Tao in later parts of the book. During the journey to California, Eliza, due to her pregnancy, is frail and sick, and later suffers a miscarriage. To leave with ship without suspicion, Tao disguises Eliza as a Chinese boy, a disguise that she maintains in San Francisco where they have landed. Eliza earns money by selling some Chilean snacks and Tao becomes a successful zhong yi. Tao, after seeing the greed and brothels in San Francisco, loses most of his faith in America. Eliza sets on her journey to find Joaquin, using a male cowboy's disguise and the moniker Elias Andieta, and claiming to be Joaquin's brother. Meanwhile in Valparaiso, Rose and Jeremy are shocked to find that Eliza has disappeared. Part III finds Eliza broke after still trying to search for Joaquin; she occasionally sends letters to Tao describing what she sees in her journey. Although she has fallen out of love with Joaquin, she cannot stop journeying. In an outskirt town, Eliza meets up with Joe Bonecrusher's travelling caravan of prostitutes and ends up travelling with them as cook and piano player. Themes in this book are freedom, love, and determination to fight for what you believe in and not give up. This book was okay in my opinion. This isn¿t a genre of book that I usually read. I mostly read young adult books, but when I looked at this book, I was shocked to see the words so much smaller. It definitely took me a much longer time to finish it. At times I was confused on what was going on and whose point of view I was reading from. I also had to stop several times to go and look up a Spanish word that I didn¿t know and that impacted my ability to read it, especially if there wasn¿t a dictionary in my hand. I do like history and the time period from the signing of the American Constitution and the end of the civil war. I thought that by reading this, I would learn about some history or event that happened in a Spanish country and what I got was a Chilean immigrant going to California in the midst of the gold rush to search for gold and gain freedom. Not exactly what I wanted. I like Isabel Allende though. I asked a couple of my adult

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2011

    Wonderful book!

    This book is one of my all time favorites. I love the way the fictional story is intertwined with the history of the 1840's gold rush. Definitely something I would reccomend to historical fiction lovers!

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    What is with these abrupt endings..??

    I liked the book very much although it was not an easy read. I'm really losing patience with authors who write and write and write drawing the reader in only to drop the ending like a hot potato.
    I am left guessing as to what happened with each one of the characters we had gotten to know..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2010

    Daughter Of Fortune

    Isabelle Allende's Daughter Of Fortune is a well-written, page turning novel about an orphan from Valparasio, Chile's grueling journey to California in search of her true love. Eliza Sommers is described as a small, slender girl with features as delicate as a quill drawing. With a strong will and blind optimism, she's an ideal character. From the get-go, she knew she never really belonged to the family. When her destined love, Joaquin Andieta set off to find gold in California. Eliza didn't hesitate to follow him. Eliza was sent as a stow-away by ship toward California, and during her voyage, she dealt with a tragic terminated pregnancy in the midst becoming very close with Tao Chi'en, a Chinese doctor who seemed to be able to heal anything and everything. Someone she would never consider loving turned out to be not only her best friend but her possible true love. After spending much time in California, living and working with Tao, and being exposed to living on her own, she realizes she has an ultimate decision to make.. Continue her virtue for Joaquin in hopes that one day they'll reunite, or pursue Tao? Has she become too accustomed to living without Joaquin, and let herself believe Tao be an adequate replacement or is it really meant to be? I would highly recommend this, more to young adults due to the content, and I am defiantly considering and plan on reading more books by this author. Isabelle Allende really captured the emotions of the characters in the book, many times I felt like I was apart of the story, and it was very relatable. The novel is a perfect example of how much someone would go through for what they consider to be their "true love", tangled feelings, and how the power of love can change so much.

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  • Posted May 29, 2010

    You will like this book-

    This is a good book that I thought was entertaining and fun to read. I really like historical fiction and this was a good one. This is the story of an orphan raised by a single woman and her brother. Eliza follows her lover to California during the Gold Rush of 1849. On a ship she has to fight for her life and ends up making friends with a Chinese doctor. This was a really good story, I really liked Eliza. The end leaves you wanting to know more! You will like this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    Un libro Extrordinario.

    Un dia, no sabiendo que libro escojer de esta escritora. Me encontre este magnifico libro. Isabel Allende lo volvio hacer de nuevo. Cada pagina esta llena de detalles. Una aventura de una mujer en busca de su amor, que enbarca hacia los mares para inciar sus busqueda.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

    I believe Isabel Allende purpose for writing this book was to show people how hard it was to be a women and a feminst during this time. Isabel Allende wrote on the subject of feminism rather than another subject, beacuse sh probably supports this subject more than anyother subject And she probably has an emotional tie on this subject. The Daughter Fortue was about a girl named Eliza who was on a journey to find her one true love and she did but it wasnt the person she expected. Eliza was left on the doorstep of her adoptive parents as a baby. She led a comfotable rich life, until she met her first love, a poor man.She feel in "love" with this man She lost her innocence to this man. Soon her dream man left to california in search of gold, Eliza finds out she is pregnant. This is a horrifing thing to happen to her, because it is unexceptable for a girl her age, unmarried, rich, and very educated to be pregnant. So Eliza leaves her family in secret and stows away on a boat with the help of a chinese friend, Tao,who was forced into labour. Months in pregnancy and still on the boat hidden, Eliza has a miscarriage. She is devasted and ill. Luckily, Tao used to be a doctor in his home in China, he helped her trough out this difficult time in her life. Once she gets to California she is still determind to find her lover. Tao also jions her on her mission.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    A beautiful epic story, sweeping through several countries and cultures, packed with intrigue, mystery, and romance. Never a dull moment

    I could not put this book down. The writing is beautiful, and the story easily carries you along. The characters are fully developed; you will come to feel that you know them and care about what happens to them. This was one of those books that I enjoyed so much, I was sorry when I finished. Later, I happily discovered there is a sequel - Portrait in Sepia. Portrait in Sepia is good, but Daughter of Fortune is much, much better. The audio version is excellent, too. I listened to it on tape and it was great.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    you can not put the book down!

    It's a very interesting book. You can not put it down, there is an interesting scene in every page of the book. There's so much to learn from the historical point in time. Very vivid and captivating.

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    nice surprise

    A new favorite. I was not expecting much from this book. I was just looking for a way to pass ahot summer's afternoon. Litlle did I know this would become one of my favorite books. I cried, I laughed, and cried some more. I was a little disappointed with the ending, but I normally am.

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  • Posted December 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I Fell In Love

    I got this book, originally, as a library sale. I love period books & this is definitely one of those kinds of books. What I like about the book was that it not only intrigued my emotions & my free spirit, but it brought some history to light for me. I could image the harbors, the mountains, how California must have looked at that time, etc. This book spun me into a deep passionate reader of Isabel Allende's. You have to have a flare for history in many cultures to appreciate this books, as well as many of her other titles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2008

    Dragged on and on

    Although I was compelled by some of the characters I felt the story dragged on forever with a less than satisfying ending. I wish I hadn't taken the time to read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2008

    daughter of fortune

    Daughter of Fortune takes place in Chile from 1943 to 1853. Eliza Sommers is adopted by Miss Rose Sommers she takes her in on March 15, 1832. Eliza has two uncles, John and Jeremy. John is a sea captain and when he comes to Chile he gives Eliza jewels from other countries. Jeremy lives with Miss Rose and together they take care of Eliza. When Eliza is a young lady Miss Rose starts to search for suitors to be Eliza¿s husband. Eliza does not know that planned marriages are going on behind her back, but she soon finds out. Miss Rose finds Michael Steward who does not wed Eliza because he has fallen in love with Miss Rose. They send him off and Eliza swears to never love another. Joaquin Andieta comes into Eliza¿s life when she is sixteen and steals her heart with one look. Joaquin is a poor man and Miss Rose despises that Eliza has feelings for him. She forbids Eliza to see him, but little does she know they have many meetings behind her back. In 1849 the gold rush struck. Joaquin left Chile for California in order to find gold to bring back for his mother and Eliza. But Eliza is pregnant and cannot wait for his return. She boards her Uncle John¿s boat in secrecy with the help of Tao Chi¿en a Chinese doctor. Tao helps Eliza survive the trip there on the way she has a miscarriage, which makes her very ill. Eliza was lucky to live through the voyage because of how sick she had gotten Once the boat arrived in California Tao stays with Eliza and helps her search for Joaquin for many days not knowing when or what they will find. This book was enjoyable at times, and seemed to drag on at others. The book had many interesting people, but some facts about them were unnecessary.

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