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Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Daughter of Fortune (1999)

by Isabel Allende

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English (132)  Spanish (7)  Italian (3)  Dutch (3)  Lithuanian (2)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (152)
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As a baby Eliza is left on the doorstep of the home of sister and brother, Rose and Jeremy Sommers. Their home is in Chile in the mid 1800’s and it is where Eliza spends her childhood years not knowing the identity of her parents. In her teens she falls in love with a young man named Joaquin Andieta. Joaquin does not wish to stay in Chile but instead wishes to seek his fortune in the California Gold Rush. Upon his departure, Eliza is heartbroken and later finds out that she is pregnant. Wishing to be reunited with her lover, she steals away as a hostage on a ship bound for California under the care of Tao Chi’en who is a cook on the ship. Even though she suffers badly on the voyage she arrives in California, disguises herself as a male, and begins in earnest to search for Joaquin.

Her unique adventures are chronicled in great detail with interesting character developments and time period descriptions. The narration is well written and promotes family, perseverance, feminism, and integrity. However, the ending seemed very abrupt. I finished reading while feeling slightly frustrated with the hasty conclusion after I had invested so much time in the novel’s plot and characters.
( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
This is another one of my favorite books that few people I know have read. This is a work of historial fiction that takes the reader from Chile to historical San Francisco. Allende is a powerful writer who weaves together a story in a way that no on else can. I loved the historical aspects as well as the character and plot. As a reader, you feel for the people in this book and you can easily put yourself in their shoes. I have not read any other works by Allende although I have always made it a goal to read as much of her writing as I can. I recommend this to everyone as an outstanding read. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
I wanted to like this book much more than I actually did (in fact if this site had half star rating system I would have given it 2.5 stars). It has all the makings of a good story, but gets bogged down in extraneous details and tangents before ending abruptly - leaving quite a few story lines unresolved. It was, at times, an incredibly frustrating read for me. ( )
  eyelit | Mar 21, 2018 |
I really like Allende, but this was not one of my favorites. I don't know if it's because I was starting to see a pattern in her stories and that removed some of the allure, or if it was because it was mostly set in the U.S. and therefore was too ordinary. ( )
  Lit_Cat | Dec 9, 2017 |
Review: Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. 09/04/2017

The story has plenty of detail history, violence, compassion and well developed characters. Allende spans over a vast geographical boundaries in this historical story in the midst of four cultures, English, Chilean, Chinese, and America during the 1849
California Gold Rush. The appealing story captivated me right off because it began with knowledge of the environment and cultural events in Valparalso, Chile and being introduced to the main character, Eliza Sommers who was left as a new-born baby on the doorstep of wealthy British importers.

The story follows the destiny of Eliza Sommers who was adopted by a British spinster, Rose Sommers, and her bachelor brother, Jeremy. Miss Rose ensured Eliza when she was old enough to understand that the person who left her in a basket on their doorstep probably knew the family was care giving and Rose herself had been wanting a child and Eliza came to them as a gift because God knew she would be treated with kindness and loved.

As Eliza got older the family servant, Mama Fresia loved her as a daughter. They were together a lot and Fresia knew Eliza more than Miss Rose ever would. When Eliza reached the age when her emotions and feelings were coming clear to her she feel in love with Joachin Andieta, a clerk who worked at her Uncle Jeremy’s firm. It became a tremendous issue with the members of her family besides Fresia. Then her boyfriend decided to head to California and make his fortune in the 1849 gold rush and than return to her.

Soon she realizes that she is pregnant and thought about her options would be. She knew her family would most likely disown her or maybe they would let her live there and shun her as the black sheep. She also knew the community would never accept her either. Eliza’s last option was to follow and find Joachin in California. She discussed this with Fresia who thought that was a bad idea but it didn’t take long for Eliza to follow her lover. She put a plan together and found a Chinese healing doctor, Tao Chi’en who was filling in on a ship as a cook heading for California. He hid her in the lower part of the boat confined in a small space with very little air flow. While hidden away Eliza became very sick and Tao did his best taking care of her without anyone noticing his visits to the bottom of the ship.

The story unfolds to where ailing Eliza makes it to California and Tao and she become very good friends. When her adventurous journey looking for Joachin began Tao stayed behind and stated a small business as a healing doctor in the Chinese sector. The day Eliza departed Tao helped her disguised as a young boy. There is plenty of events, incidences, tough traveling, mostly on foot into the vast area of undeveloped land and streams among many gold panning dreamers…. ( )
  Juan-banjo | Sep 7, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Allendeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Juan, AnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Everyone is born with some special talent, and Eliza Sommers discovered early on that she had two: a good sense of smell and a good memory.
Svarbiausia yra tai, kaip gyveni šiame pasaulyje, o ne tai, kaip į jį atėjai; Sakė, jog žinios be išminties neturi vertės, ir nėra išminties be dvasingumo, o tikrasis dvasingumas visada reikalauja tarnauti kitiems; Mokytojo nuomone, blogai, kai žmogus nesugeba kurti eilių, bet nepalyginimai blogiau, kai kuria neišmanydamas.
It is what you do in this world that matters, not how you come into it.
The things we forget may as well never have happened, but she had many memories, both real and illusory, and that was like living twice.
He had only a vague idea of her size and of a dark aureole of hair, but it would not be until their second meeting a few days later that he would sink into the perdition of her black eyes and the watery grace of her gestures.
Eliza's legs were trembling; she hadn't used them in two months, and she felt as landsick as she had before at sea, but the man's clothing gave her an unfamiliar freedom; she had never felt so invisible.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061120251, Paperback)

Oprah Book Club® Selection, February 2000: Until Isabel Allende burst onto the scene with her 1985 debut, The House of the Spirits, Latin American fiction was, for the most part, a boys' club comprising such heavy hitters as Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Mario Vargas Llosa. But the Chilean Allende shouldered her way in with her magical realist multi-generational tale of the Trueba family, followed it up with four more novels and a spate of nonfiction, and has remained in a place of honor ever since. Her sixth work of fiction, Daughter of Fortune, shares some characteristics with her earlier works: the canvas is wide, the characters are multi-generational and multi-ethnic, and the protagonist is an unconventional woman who overcomes enormous obstacles to make her way in the world. Yet one cannot accuse Allende of telling the same story twice; set in the mid-1800s, this novel follows the fortunes of Eliza Sommers, Chilean by birth but adopted by a British spinster, Rose Sommers, and her bachelor brother, Jeremy, after she is abandoned on their doorstep.
"You have English blood, like us," Miss Rose assured Eliza when she was old enough to understand. "Only someone from the British colony would have thought to leave you in a basket on the doorstep of the British Import and Export Company, Limited. I am sure they knew how good-hearted my brother Jeremy is, and felt sure he would take you in. In those days I was longing to have a child, and you fell into my arms, sent by God to be brought up in the solid principles of the Protestant faith and the English language."
The family servant, Mama Fresia, has a different point of view, however: "You, English? Don't get any ideas, child. You have Indian hair, like mine." And certainly Eliza's almost mystical ability to recall all the events of her life would seem to stem more from the Indian than the Protestant side.

As Eliza grows up, she becomes less tractable, and when she falls in love with Joachin Andieta, a clerk in Jeremy's firm, her adoptive family is horrified. They are even more so when a now-pregnant Eliza follows her lover to California where he has gone to make his fortune in the 1849 gold rush. Along the way Eliza meets Tao Chi'en, a Chinese doctor who saves her life and becomes her closest friend. What starts out as a search for a lost love becomes, over time, the discovery of self; and by the time Eliza finally catches up with the elusive Joachin, she is no longer sure she still wants what she once wished for. Allende peoples her novel with a host of colorful secondary characters. She even takes the narrative as far afield as China, providing an intimate portrait of Tao Chi'en's past before returning to 19th-century San Francisco, where he and Eliza eventually fetch up. Readers with a taste for the epic, the picaresque, and romance that is satisfyingly complex will find them all in Daughter of Fortune. --Margaret Prior

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:21 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A Chilean woman searches for her lover in the goldfields of 1840s California. Arriving as a stowaway, Eliza finances her search with various jobs, including playing the piano in a brothel.

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