Lisa James's Reviews > Daughter of Fortune

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
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's review
Jul 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, 1001-books-list
Read from July 12 to 27, 2011

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 :)
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07/25/2011 page 229

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