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Posted January 23, 2010
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.
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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.
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Posted May 7, 2013
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
Posted February 6, 2012
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 adultWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 4, 2011
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I am left guessing as to what happened with each one of the characters we had gotten to know..
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 12, 2009
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 2009
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 22, 2009
I Also Recommend:
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 18, 2008
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 29, 2007
I kept waiting for it to climax but it never did. I wanted to stop reading but once I've started a book I have to finish it. There are so many other books worthy of time I would encourage you to pass on this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2008
I do not understand why this novel does not have 5 stars as an overall rating. I guess some people had to concentrate too hard while reading it as it does contain a lot of historical information. It has admirable and interesting characters, and it has a plot that is very different. This is a great choice for those who love to read historical fiction!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.