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Daughter of Fortune: A Novel (P.S.) by…

Daughter of Fortune: A Novel (P.S.) (original 1999; edition 2006)

by Isabel Allende

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6,474151592 (3.69)224
Title:Daughter of Fortune: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Isabel Allende
Info:Harper Perennial (2006), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:chilean lit, books, 21st century fiction, fiction, novel, california, gold mines, historical fiction, love story

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Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende (1999)


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English (132)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (3)  Italian (3)  Lithuanian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (151)
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
A solid historical fiction piece with a strong, independent-minded heroine set against the wonderful backdrop of 19th century Chile and the California Gold Rush of 1849. This story has all of the trappings of a satisfying historical fiction read: solid grounding in historical facts; interesting multi-faceted characters; vividly drawn backdrops of Chile, Canton, China and California; a wonderful ethnic mix English, Chinese, Chilean, Mexican and Americans; and steady pacing for the adventure the reader embarks upon with young Eliza. This one has all other qualities of an epic read with a lighter touch… I didn’t feel as though I was being dragged through some sweeping saga, like I do with some epic reads. Allende keeps the story grounded with the focus trained on her handful of key characters, given a more intimate, personal impression of the historically expansive California Gold Rush and the three continents the story is set in.

A delightful historical fiction read and I now understand why Allende is considered to be such a gifted novelist. ( )
1 vote lkernagh | Aug 30, 2016 |
Allende's writing is so fluid and evocative that even parts of pure narration are irresistible. Protagonist Eliza Sommers is irrepressible, brave, loyal, and convincing in every way she needs to be. This book was just a pleasure to read! ( )
  NatalieSW | Jul 18, 2016 |
This was an engaging story with strong likeable characters. Set in 1850s Valparaiso, China, and California, it follows the course of a young Chilean girl who runs off with the help of a Chinese doctor to follow her lover to the gold fields and boom towns of California. The setting and the characters were much stronger than the actual story, which wandered quite a bit and left me wondering which (if any) of the people would find each other again. However, there was plenty of interest to keep me reading.

I read this one in Spanish and found it easy to follow without a dictionary, though occasionally I could have used one. The narration was straightforward and linear, unlike a lot of Spanish language modern novels. ( )
  JudyGibson | Jul 17, 2016 |

Eliza is abandoned as a baby on the doorstep of Rose and Jeremy Sommers. The brother and sister have immigrated to Valparaiso, Chile, from England along with their other brother, John, a sea captain. The three siblings agree to take her in and raise her as a member of their family. Much of her upbringing is left to Mama Fresia, the head of the servants in the household, but Rose keeps her hand in as well.

As she comes of age, Rose wants Eliza to marry well and makes sure she is trained in all the graces society prefers. However, Eliza falls in love with a poor Chilean, Joaquin Andieta, who works as a clerk in her uncle’s shipping company. He knows he is not in a social position to marry her, so when word comes of vast quantities of gold lying on the shores of California for the taking, he joins in the gold rush of 1849. He wants to earn enough to return and marry Eliza. Soon after he departs, Eliza learns she is pregnant and decides to follow Joaquin.

Eliza goes to the port in Valparaiso looking for a way to secure passage to California without her family discovering her plan. She meets up with Tao Chi’en, a cook off her Uncle John’s ship to whom she had been recently introduced. He helps her stow away on a sailing ship bound for San Francisco and joins the crew himself as the cook. When she becomes ill en route and loses the baby, Tao Chi’en takes care of her and saves her life. When they arrive in San Francisco, he cannot abandon her in the mostly male frontier town. They dress her as a boy, tell people she is his brother, and set out to find Joaquin.

Eliza and Tao Chi’en circulate through the Chinese and Chilean communities that have sprung up, looking for her lover. They learn what they can about the mines and the way of life there. Meanwhile, their friendship grows and deepens. When Eliza decides it is time to set out into the wilderness to search for Joaquin, however, she goes without him. She travels with various groups of adventurers, still posing as a boy, claiming she is seeking her brother. Although she finds many leads, she never finds Joaquin.

Eliza has many adventures in the California wilderness. She keeps in touch with Tao Chi’en, who eventually finds her and convinces her to return to San Francisco with him. In the growing city they work together and live together, becoming a family without having an intimate relationship. Eliza continues her search for Joaquin, but more out of curiosity than desire by this point. She can no longer imagine settling down as his wife, enjoying the freedom she has found. As California becomes a state and civilization begins to arrive, Eliza finally abandons her male persona and becomes a strong woman in a new land. ( )
  bostonwendym | Jul 12, 2016 |

Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparaíso, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquín Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquín takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.
  christinejoseph | Jun 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 132 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isabel Allendeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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.
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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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