Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

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

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

by Isabel Allende

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,837None722 (3.7)184
Title:Daughter of Fortune: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Isabel Allende
Info:Harper Perennial (2006), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende (1999)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 184 mentions

English (103)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (3)  Lithuanian (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (119)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Daughter of Fortune is the story of Eliza, the foundling raised in what passed for the lap of luxury in 1800's Valparaiso, Chile. She grows up the sheltered "daughter" of the unapproachable Jeremy Sommers & his spinster sister Rose, who has secrets of her own. John, their older brother & sea captain, is an integral figure in the book, but at first we only see him on the periphery. When Eliza is 16, she has an illicit affair with Joaquin Andieta, a minor employee of the company Eliza's foster father runs. When she realizes that her affair has left her pregnant, she hatches a plan with Rose's cook & housekeeper, who has been like a grandmother to her, to spirit her away from Chile & follow her lover to California, at the beginning of the Gold Rush. She nearly does not survive the trip, stowed away in the hold of a ship during the crossing, enduring a miscarriage that almost ends her life, if it wasn't for the valiant efforts of the Chinese physician Tao Chien, & a prostitute with a heart of gold.

Her adventures once she is there are a journey of discovery for Eliza, who spends the next several years dressed as a man, & mistaken for a young boy.

This is a book I very nearly couldn't put down, & finding out the family secrets made it all the more enjoyable, as you are given the barest tantalizing hints of them scattered throughout the book.

I loved it, & will definitely go back & read more of her work :) ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
This book took a while to get into. It follows the life of Eliza, who is an orphan in Chile taken in by a wealthy British family. The first couple chapters probably could have been cut out, since they give almost no indication of Eliza's character and focus almost entirely on the British family, who virtually disappear once the main story begins.

Eliza is a great character and the love story is engaging. The gold rush was an interesting backdrop for the novel. If you like historical fiction, you might like to read about the fictionalized trading, booming business, and strategies that built the major cities in the west. The characters were diverse and the story moved at a nice pace. It wouldn't be my first pick, but it was an enjoyable read. ( )
  ahgonzales | Feb 5, 2014 |
I read another book by Allende, Island Beneath the Sea, and what I appreciated most about that story was the author’s ability to set a cultural scene that was different from my own but still very vivid. Daughter of Fortune followed suit with detailed descriptions of cultural nuances and character portrayals that transported me to another place and time. She moved from one continent to another with a fluidity and clarity that in my opinion is hard to master. I loved every moment of feeling that I didn’t know what geographic turn was around the corner.

Beyond the historical journey what I found most striking about this book is that the characters are diverse in many ways but share one key similarity: they are constantly in a state of transition. As such, attempting to “know” any one of them is a difficult undertaking. Through her characters Allende demonstrates that social labels are often more dependent on circumstance than by true personality traits. The same person that is a princess in her home lives as an unwanted nuisance abroad. Similarly, a rouge in one location is a hero in another.

In my opinion the beauty of the story wasn’t in whether or not Eliza found love but what held my attention was following her journey and marveling at the layers she shed in the process.

For my full review visit my blog, Honey Lemon Tea, http://bit.ly/JiOtHm. ( )
  honeylemontea | Dec 26, 2013 |
It's an entertaining story, but feels like too little material (historical depth and detail, emotional resonance) stretched over too big a frame (plot points). I'm sure she did plenty of research in which to ground her novel, but none of it shows! She could very well have written the same book with no research and the same over-active imagination that produced the [overly coincidence-heavy:] plot.

People complain on Goodreads that the sequel includes "too many historical facts," but good god, y'all, this one could have used the surplus. ( )
  amelish | Sep 12, 2013 |
I really loved The House of Spirits so my expectations were probably unfairly high when I opened this book. The prose is beautiful, as expected, but the story goes nowhere and the ending is anti-climatic. ( )
  Pretear | Aug 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Finnish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:18 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
790 avail.
59 wanted
4 pay4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.7)
0.5 1
1 23
1.5 3
2 71
2.5 30
3 366
3.5 111
4 503
4.5 51
5 238

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,503,053 books! | Top bar: Always visible