Daughter of Fortune

Daughter of Fortune

Paperback

By (author) Isabel Allende, Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden

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  • Publisher: HarperPerennial
  • Format: Paperback | 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 26mm | 240g
  • Publication date: 7 August 2003
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0006552323
  • ISBN 13: 9780006552321
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 45,108

Product description

A magnificent sweeping tale from the international bestselling author of 'The House of the Spirits'. Set in Anglophile Chile and goldrush California during the middle years of the nineteenth century, this magnificent romance tells the story of English foundling Eliza Sommers who grows up in the bustling entrepot of Valparaiso. Eliza is a spirited, sparky and ambitious romantic who becomes embroiled in a forbidden love affair with the charismatic but capricious Joaquin Andieta. When he disappears suddenly for California, and the promise of riches that rumours of gold strikes have brought him, she can but follow after him...

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Author information

Isabel Allende was born in 1942, and is the niece of Salvador Allende, who went on to become famous as the elected President of Chile deposed in a CIA-backed coup. She worked as a journalist, playwright and children's writer in Chile until 1974 and then in Venezuela until 1984. Her first novel for adults, 'The House of the Spirits', was published in Spanish in 1982, beginning life as a letter to her dying grandfather. It was an international sensation, and ever since all her books have been acclaimed and adored in numberless translations worldwide.

Review quote

'As broad ranging and lyrical as "The House of the Spirits."' Daily Telegraph 'A masterpiece of historical fiction.' New York Times 'An extravagant tale by a gifted storyteller whose spell brings to life the 19th century world...Entertaining and well paced...compelling.' Los Angeles Times 'It is packed with incident, rushing from one highly coloured scene to the next ... If you like your passions grand and your views panoramic, then "Daughter of Fortune" will be irresistible...you'll find it hard not to be beguiled by the charm and ingenuity of Allende's storytelling.' The Times

Editorial reviews

Allende's first novel in six years (The Infinite Plan, 1993, etc.) delivers her gentle, often plush style at extravagant length to tell the life of Eliza Sommers, a Chilean woman who immigrates to San Francisco in the 1840s. Abandoned as a baby in the British colony of Valparaiso, Eliza is raised by Jeremy and Rose Sommers, a prosperous pair of siblings who consider the girl a gift. For unmarried Rose, Eliza is compensation for the child she's always lacked; brother Jeremy is pleased that the infant legitimizes their odd cohabitation. A thriving seaport, Valparaiso welcomes sailors and hucksters in abundance: Jeremy is a ship's captain, and one Jacob Todd a Bible salesman without official sanction. Todd quickly falls for Rose, though she misunderstands him and thinks he's fallen in love with young Eliza. Some 200 pages later, Eliza falls in love with Joaquin Andieta, who her pregnant and then sails for the promise of gold in California. Eliza follows, miscarries during her passage north, and is befriended by Tao Chi'en, a Chinese physician. (His early straggles and departure from Asia are treated in detail.) Meanwhile, Eliza wanders through California with undiminished hope. This takes years, and along the way Tao Chi'en is transformed from his traditional ways, while Eliza encounters dozens of curious people. Back in Valparaiso, the Sommers pair regret their loss but are given hope of tracking Eliza down when Todd - now a newspaper reporter - tells them he's seen her. Finally, after Eliza discovers that Joaquin, having become a bandit, has been murdered, she and Tao Chi'en are free to explore their (so-far unexpressed) love for each other. Allende has clearly enjoyed providing rich elaborations that don't particularly advance the story here but affirm her theme of personal discovery. Each of her characters finds "something different from what we were looking for." With this novel, the same may not be said of Allende's fans. (Kirkus Reviews)