Hija de la fortuna (Daughter of Fortune)

( 11 )


Eliza Sommers es una joven chilena que vive en Valparaíso en 1849, el año en que se descubre oro en California. Su amante, Joaquín Andieta, parte hacia el norte decidido a encontrar fortuna, y ella decide seguirlo. El viaje infernal, escondida en la cala de un velero, y la búsqueda de su amante en una tierra de hombres solos y prostitutas atraídos por la fiebre del oro, transforman a la joven inocente en una mujer fuera de lo común. Eliza recibe ayuda y afecto de Tao Chi'en, un médico chino, quien la conducirá de...

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Eliza Sommers es una joven chilena que vive en Valparaíso en 1849, el año en que se descubre oro en California. Su amante, Joaquín Andieta, parte hacia el norte decidido a encontrar fortuna, y ella decide seguirlo. El viaje infernal, escondida en la cala de un velero, y la búsqueda de su amante en una tierra de hombres solos y prostitutas atraídos por la fiebre del oro, transforman a la joven inocente en una mujer fuera de lo común. Eliza recibe ayuda y afecto de Tao Chi'en, un médico chino, quien la conducirá de la mano en un itinerario memorable por los misterios y contradicciónes de la condición humana. hija de la fortuna es un retrato palpitante de una época marcada por la violencia y la codicia en la cual los protagonistas rescatan el amor, la amistad, la compasión y el valor.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
An extravagant tale by a gifted storyteller whose spell brings to life the 19th century world. . . . entertaining and well paced . . . compelling.
New York Times Book Review
A rich cast of characters . . . a pleasurable story. . . . In Daughter of Fortune, Allende has continued her obsession with passion and violence.
Luis Pena
En Hija de la fortuna algo es definitivamente nuevo...Allende ha decidido construir uno mundo imaginario partiendo, eso sí, del ámbito propio....Porque a Isabel Allende hay que reconocerle una maestría cierta para contar historias y un buen dominio para crear personajes, para hacerlos vivir en la historia que cuenta, apareciendo y desapareciendo del relato como en un amplio tablado de encuentros y desencuentros. Pero sobre todo hay un buen trabajo en la construcción de la protagonista....Pero donde Allende muestra una muy interesante forma de obrar es en el tratamiento de los personajes secundarios y en la construcción de ciertos ambientes.
El País
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Allende expands her geographical boundaries in this sprawling, engrossing historical novel flavored by four cultures—English, Chilean, Chinese and American—and set during the 1849 California Gold Rush. The alluring tale begins in Valpara&iacute:so, Chile, with young Eliza Sommers, who was left as a baby on the doorstep of wealthy British importers Miss Rose Sommers and her prim brother, Jeremy. Now a 16-year-old, and newly pregnant, Eliza decides to follow her lover, fiery clerk Joaqu&iacute:n Andieta, when he leaves for California to make his fortune in the gold rush. Enlisting the unlikely aid of Tao Chi'en, a Chinese shipboard cook, she stows away on a ship bound for San Francisco. Tao Chi'en's own story—richly textured and expansively told—begins when he is born into a peasant family and sold into slavery, where it is his good fortune to be trained as a master of acupuncture. Years later, while tending to a sailor in colonial Hong Kong, he is shanghaied and forced into service at sea. During the voyage with Eliza, Tao nurses her through a miscarriage. When they disembark, Eliza is disguised as a boy, and she spends the next four years in male attire so she may travel freely and safely. Eliza's search for Joaquín (rumored to have become an outlaw) is disappointing, but through an eye-opening stint as a pianist in a traveling brothel and through her charged friendship with Tao, now a sought-after healer and champion of enslaved Chinese prostitutes, Eliza finds freedom, fulfillment and maturity. Effortlessly weaving in historical background, Allende (House of the Spirits; Paula) evokes in pungent prose the great melting pot of early California and the colorful societies of Valparaíso and Canton. A gallery of secondary characters, developed early on, prove pivotal to the plot. In a book of this scope, the narrative is inevitably top-heavy in spots, and the plot wears thin toward the end, but this is storytelling at its most seductive, a brash historical adventure.
Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In this luscious saga, Allende reaches beyond her previous novels (e.g., Eva Luna) in both space and time. In 19th-century Chile, a baby girl is left at the doorstep of Jeremy Sommers, director of the British Import and Export Company, Ltd., and his spinster sister, Rose. Rose raises Eliza to marry well and is understandably nonplussed when as a teenager she falls passionately in love with a poor clerk in the company. Eliza possesses all the feistiness and passion that Rose herself has suppressed, and when her somewhat indifferent lover heads north to San Francisco in search of gold, she follows, pregnant, disguised as a boy, and assisted by Tao Ch'ien, a Chinese doctor forced to work as a cook on a ship captained by John Sommers, brother to Jeremy and Rose. Not surprisingly, Eliza has some trouble locating her lover, but through a host of richly detailed adventures, she does find something more precious: freedom. Obvious and at times sentimental, this is still entertaining reading. For all collections.
—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060932763
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Spanish-language edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 204,207
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Isabel Allende is the bestselling author of twelve works of fiction, four memoirs, and three young-adult novels, which have been translated into more than thirty-five languages with sales in excess of fifty-seven million copies. She is the author most recently of the bestsellers Maya's Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, Inés of My Soul, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the Hans Christian Andersen Literary Award in 2012. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.


In Isabel Allende's books, human beings do not exist merely in the three-dimensional sense. They can exert themselves as memory, as destiny, as spirits without form, as fairy tales. Just as the more mystical elements of Allende's past have shaped her work, so has the hard-bitten reality. Working as a journalist in Chile, Allende was forced to flee the country with her family after her uncle, President Salvador Allende, was killed in a coup in 1973.

Out of letters to family back in Chile came the manuscript that was to become Allende's first novel. Her arrival on the publishing scene in 1985 with The House of the Spirits was instantly recognized as a literary event. The New York Times called it "a unique achievement, both personal witness and possible allegory of the past, present and future of Latin America."

To read a book by Allende is to believe in (or be persuaded of) the power of transcendence, spiritual and otherwise. Her characters are often what she calls "marginal," those who strive to live on the fringes of society. It may be someone like Of Love and Shadows 's Hipolito Ranquileo, who makes his living as a circus clown; or Eva Luna, a poor orphan who is the center of two Allende books (Eva Luna and The Stories of Eva Luna).

Allende's characters have in common an inner fortitude that proves stronger than their adversity, and a sense of lineage that propels them both forward and backward. When you meet a central character in an Allende novel, be prepared to meet a few generations of his or her family. This multigenerational thread drives The House of the Spirits, the tale of the South American Trueba family. Not only did the novel draw Allende critical accolades (with such breathless raves as "spectacular," "astonishing" and "mesmerizing" from major reviewers), it landed her firmly in the magic realist tradition of predecessor (and acknowledged influence) Gabriel García Márquez. Some of its characters also reappeared in the historical novels Portrait in Sepia and Daughter of Fortune.

"It's strange that my work has been classified as magic realism," Allende has said, "because I see my novels as just being realistic literature." Indeed, much of what might be considered "magic" to others is real to Allende, who based the character Clara del Valle in The House of the Spirits on her own reputedly clairvoyant grandmother. And she has drawn as well upon the political violence that visited her life: Of Love and Shadows (1987) centers on a political crime in Chile, and other Allende books allude to the ideological divisions that affected the author so critically.

But all of her other work was "rehearsal," says Allende, for what she considers her most difficult and personal book. Paula is written for Allende's daughter, who died in 1992 after several months in a coma. Like Allende's fiction, it tells Paula's story through that of Allende's own and of her relatives. Allende again departed from fiction in Aphrodite, a book that pays homage to the romantic powers of food (complete with recipes for two such as "Reconciliation Soup"). The book's lighthearted subject matter had to have been a necessity for Allende, who could not write for nearly three years after the draining experience of writing Paula.

Whichever side of reality she is on, Allende's voice is unfailingly romantic and life-affirming, creating mystery even as she uncloaks it. Like a character in Of Love and Shadows, Allende tells "stories of her own invention whose aim [is] to ease suffering and make time pass more quickly," and she succeeds.

Good To Know

Allende has said that the character of Gregory Reeves in The Infinite Plan is based on her husband, Willie Gordon.

Allende begins all of her books on January 8, which she considers lucky because it was the day she began writing a letter to her dying grandfather that later became The House of the Spirits.

She began her career as a journalist, editing the magazine Paula and later contributing to the Venezuelan paper El Nacional.

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Read an Excerpt

Primera Parte


Todo el mundo nace con algún talento especial y Eliza Sommers descubrió temprano que ella tenía dos: buen olfato y buena memoria. El primero le sirvió para ganarse la vida y el segundo para recordarla, si no con precisión, al menos con poética vaguedad de astrólogo. Lo que se olvida es como si nunca hubiera sucedido, pero sus recuerdos reales o ilusorios eran muchos y fue como vivir dos veces. Solía decirle a su fiel amigo, el sabio Tao Chi'en, que su memoria era como la barriga del buque donde se conocieron, vasta y sombría, repleta de cajas, barriles y sacos donde se acumulaban los acontecimientos de toda su existencia. Despierta no era fácil encontrar algo en aquel grandísimo desorden, pero siempre podía hacerlo dormida, tal como le enseño Mama Fresia en las noches dulces de su niñez, cuando los contornos de la realidad eran apenas un trazo fino de tinta pálida. Entraba al lugar de los sueños por un camino muchas veces recorrido y regresaba con grandes precauciones para no despedazar las tenues visiones contra la áspera luz de la consciencia. Confiaba en ese recurso como otros lo hacen en los números y tanto afinó el arte de recordar, que podía ver a Miss Rose inclinada sobre la caja de jabón de Marsella que fuera su primera cuna.

--Es imposible que te acuerdes de eso, Eliza. Los recién nacidos son como los gatos, no tienen sentimientos ni memoria -sostenía Miss Rose en las pocas ocasiones en que hablaron del tema.

Sin embargo, esa mujer mirándola desde arriba, con su vestido color topacio y las hebras sueltas del moño alborotadas por el viento, estaba grabada en la memoria de Eliza ynunca pudo aceptar la otra explicación sobre su origen.

--Tienes sangre inglesa, como nosotros -le aseguró Miss Rose cuando ella tuvo edad para entender-. Sólo a alguien de la colonia británica se le habría ocurrido ponerte en una cesta en la puerta de la Compañia Britanica de Importación y Exportación. Seguro conociá el buen corazón de mi hermano Jeremy y adivinó que te recogería. En ese tiempo yo estaba loca por tener un hijo y tú caíste en mis brazos enviada por el Señor, para ser educada en los sólidos principios de la fe protestante y el idioma inglés.

--¿Inglesa tú? Nina, no te hagas ilusiones, tienes pelos de india, como yo -refutaba Mama Fresia a espaldas de su patrona.

El nacimiento de Eliza era tema vedado en esa casa y la niña se acostumbró al misterio. Ése, como otros asuntos delicados, no lo mencionaba ante Rose y Jeremy Sommers, pero lo discutía en susurros en la cocina con Mama Fresia, quien mantuvo invariable su descripción de la caja de jabón, mientras que la versión de Miss Rose fue adornándose con los años hasta convertirse en un cuento de hadas. Según ella, la cesta encontrada en la oficina estaba fabricada del mimbre más fino y forrada en batista, su camisa era bordada en punto abeja y las sábanas orilladas con encaje de Bruselas, además iba arropada con una mantita de piel de visón, extravagancia jamás vista en Chile. Con el tiempo se agregaron seis monedas de oro envueltas en un pañuelo de seda y una nota en inglés explicando que la niña, aunque ilegítima, era de muy buena estirpe, pero Eliza nunca vislumbró nada de eso. El visón, las monedas y la nota desaparecieron convenientemente y de su nacimiento no quedó rastro. La explicación de Mama Fresia, sin embargo, se parecía mas a sus recuerdos: al abrir la puerta de la casa una mañana a finales del verano, encontraron una criatura de sexo femenino desnuda dentro de una caja.

--De mantita de visón y monedas de oro, nada. Yo estaba allí y me acuerdo muy bien. Venías tiritando en un chaleco de hombre, ni un pañal te habian puesto, y estabas toda cagada. Eras una mocosa colorada como una langosta recocida, con una pelusa de choclo en la coronilla. Ésa eras tú. No te hagas ilusiones, no naciste para princesa y si hubieras tenido el pelo tan negro como lo tienes ahora, los patrones habrían tirado la caja en la basura -sostenía la mujer.

Al menos todos coincidían en que la niña entró en sus vidas el 15 de marzo de 1832, año y medio después de la llegada de los Sommers a Chile, y por esa razón designaron la fecha como la de su cumpleaños. Lo demás siempre fue un cúmulo de contradicciones y Eliza concluyó finalmente que no valía la pena gastar energía dandole vueltas, porque cualquiera que fuese la verdad, de ningún modo podia remediarse. Lo importante es lo que uno hace en este mundo, no cómo se llega a él, solía decirle a Tao Chi'en durante 1os muchos años de su espléndida amistad, pero él no estaba de acuerdo, le resultaba imposible imaginar su propia existencia separado de la larga cadena de sus antepasados, quienes habían contribuido no sólo a darle sus características físicas y mentales, sino que también le habían legado el karma. Su suerte, creía, estaba determinada por las acciones de los parientes que habían vivido antes, por eso se debía honrarlos con oraciones diarias y temerlos cuando aparecían en espectrales ropajes a reclamar sus derechos. Tao Chi'en podia recitar los nombres de todos sus antepasados, hasta los más remotos y venerables tatarabuelos muertos hacía más de un siglo. Su mayor preocupación en los tiempos del oro consistía en regresar a morir en su pueblo en China para ser enterrado junto a los suyos; de lo contrario su alma vagaría para siempre a la deriva en tierra extranjera. Eliza se inclinaba naturalmente por la historia de la primorosa cesta -a nadie en su sano juicio le gusta aparecer en una caja de jabón ordinario- pero en honor a la verdad no podía aceptarla. Su olfato de perro perdiguero recordaba muy bien el primer olor de su existencia, que no fue el de sábanas limpias de batista, sino de lana, sudor de hombre y tabaco.

Hija De La Fortuna . Copyright © by Isabel Allende. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    La forma en que Isabel Allende describe los personajes y situaciones por las que pasan, en particular Eliza, hace que el lector se conecte con la historia y tenga la sensasión de haberse trasladado con los personajes a esos lugares y a la época. Allende muestra a una mujer dispuesta a enfrentar y superar muchas dificultades por causa del amor y como a través del tiempo, aventuras, y lágrimas (y su transformación de joven ingénua a mujer) encuentra el verdadero amor.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A new Genre for the author, I consider this one of her three novels that are worth reading--along with Paula, and The house of Spirits.

    Hija de La fortuna by Isabel Allende

    Eliza Sommers is a Chilean young woman who lives in Valparaíso, Chile. In 1849, gold is discovered in California. Her lover, Joaquin Andieta, sails to California to try his luck. Eliza decides to follow him.

    Hidden in a sailboat, hell at sea, she is saved by a Chinese doctor, Tao Chi'en. She got very sick in the boat and would have died, if not for Mr. Chi'en.

    They become close friends and the Chinese doctor guides her through a land filed with lonely savage men and prostitutes.

    Daughter of Fortune is the story of the relationship between these two characters, drawn by the gold rush, as they are transformed and follow a path that is memorable by the mysteries and the contradictions of the human condition.

    Daughter of Fortune is a photograph of a period defined by its violence and the avarice--as well as by the love, friendship, compassion, and strength of the protagonists.

    A new Genre for the author, I consider this one of her three novels that are worth reading--along with Paula, and The house of Spirits.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2008


    Es de los mejores libros de isabel allende, historia de amor y las travesias que pasa una chica en busca del amor!!! isabel tiene el talento de describir las situaciones con mucha claridad y eso se agradece....Lo recomiendo mucho....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2003

    great book

    I just finished reading this book. It's great, and had an interesting ending to me. I enjoyed reading it. Allende is an awesome writer, one of my favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2000


    This enchating story begins in the mid 19th century. with baby Eliza being abandoned at the doorstep of the wealthy Sommers family. An english family who immigrated to the newly independent Valparaiso , Chile. Rose Sommers raises this child as her own, even though her brother Jeremy does not approve of it. Eliza grows up to be a confident girl who falls in love with a poor young man who offers her nothing but his written feelings. he rushes off to San Francisco, California, in search of gold. 16 Year old Eliza decides to follow him when she finds out she is pregnant. she leaves behind her family, her beloved mama Fresia and a very predictable life ,in which ,others will decide for her in every imaginable way. In this adventurous journey in search of her lover, Eliza will find her own freedom. and a life probably desired by many women of her time. Ms. Allende kept my heart pounding throughout the whole story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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