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Daughter of Fortune

(Del Valle #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  120,810 ratings  ·  4,232 reviews
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 ever ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 1998)
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Sonia I've read House of the Spirits and watched the movie as well (with Antonio Banderas, Winona Ryder) and there's nothing to do with Daughter of Fortune.…moreI've read House of the Spirits and watched the movie as well (with Antonio Banderas, Winona Ryder) and there's nothing to do with Daughter of Fortune. They are not part of the same story. Portrait in Sepia is indeed a sequel, which follows the story of Eliza Sommer's granddaughter. It's not even directly connected to Daughter of Fortune, so you don't need to read it first.
Arduoalumno Rachel, you deserved an earlier answer. I signed up to be able to answer you, having finished reading the book only two nights ago. I would give it a …moreRachel, you deserved an earlier answer. I signed up to be able to answer you, having finished reading the book only two nights ago. I would give it a movie rating of R. And I notice that another reader has given it that same rating elsewhere. There is, unquestionably, a fair share of sexual intercourse-related content in the book. After all, the narrative deals intimately with the youth and blooming into womanhood of two normal women, viz Miss Rose and Eliza. Unsurprisingly, there is even a wee bit about female masturbation. What can one expect when the main character has been forced by circumstances to go about for years pretending to be a young man? There is, in addition, much about violence in the book - hardly surprising when much of the action is unfolding in semi-lawless California at the time of the gold-rush. Finally, I must say that, yes, there are some medical issues to contend with in "Daughter of Fortune". This seems almost inevitable given that, Tao Chi'en, the compassionate Chinese "doctor" in the story must help numerous women in desperate situations, including a teenage pregnant stowaway on a sea-going vessel and dying prostitutes in 19th century California. I have elaborated in this general way to explain my rating in compliance with your request. I trust I have avoided inserting "spoilers" in the process. Having said all of the above, I declare that I immensely enjoyed this book. There is so much more to it than the things you have enquired about. I would ask you to give it a fair chance and, having read it, let me and others know, through Goodreads, what you thought about it.(less)

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According to Isabel Allende, the timeless tale she weaves in House of the Spirits begins with the story of Eliza Sommers in Daughter of Fortune. Eliza Sommers is found in a basket as a newborn baby at the Valparaiso, Chile home of Jeremy and Rose Sommers (brother and sister). Rose is only 20 years old but resigned to spinsterhood and immediately feels compassion for the child, takes her in, and decides to raise her like a daughter, much to the admonition of her brother.

We fast forward our tale 1
Ahmad Sharabiani
Hija de la Fortuna = Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende

Daughter of Fortune is a novel by Isabel Allende, It was published first in Spanish in 1998. Isabel Allende says "of her female protagonist in Daughter of Fortune, Eliza, that she might well represent who the author might have been in another life."

Allende spent seven years of research on this, her fifth novel, which she says is a story of a young woman's search for self-knowledge.

In Chile during the 1840's, Eliza Sommers is a young Chile
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5000-2020
It took me a long time to read this book. It was not the number of pages that got to me, but the number of words Allende packs into a page, and the fact that she arranges them all so beautifully you have to be careful not to miss one of them. Her writing is stunning so why only three stars?

I enjoyed the story very much especially the first half when it is set in Chile. Later when the book moves to San Francisco during the Gold Rush, it becomes more of a history of life in those times and very li
Susan Bain-schmidt
Jun 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book starts out VERY engaging and remains that way through the first 3/4. Then, very abruptly, it is as if Allende ran out of things to say, or rather, became distracted by another project. The book ends TERRIBLY! The last 1/4 is a slog to get through and, becuase the first part is so wonderful, I kept reading and thinking "surely, this will work out." But no joy. I would suggest reading it BUT don't hope for a great wrap up at the end. It is a lot like drinking a cold bottle of Coke on a h ...more
Lit Bug
Rather than an objective evaluation of this novel as a work of literary fiction, this rating and review is more a reflection of how deeply it has continued to affect me over the years. Despite the differences of time and place, customs and traditions, exposure and beliefs, there is something very primitive about the bonds I share with Eliza Sommers. And to some extent, to the English colony in Valparaiso, Chile, where this story is set, in the first half of the 19th century. I am too strongly af ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
3.5 stars
Confession time! I was cleaning this weekend and came across this book. A book that I thought I had finished reading, but I found a bookmark where I had obviously stopped.
A proper re-read for 2018 was warranted!
The best way to describe Isabel Allende is that she's both poet and painter. Just like a poet, Allende wants her readers to be seduced by all five senses. Like, a painter, Allende makes sure that her readers; with their eyes open or shut are transported back to the time period
This is an interesting historical fiction about a Chilean woman, Eliza Sommers, who comes to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. She is hunting for her lover, Joaquin Andiata, who left Chile for the gold fields of California.

The book is well written and researched. Allende states she spent seven years researching this book. So many books have people coming from Europe to the California Gold Rush. It was great to read a story where the key people come from South America. Allende is a g
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a long time ago and remember I enjoyed it a lot. It was very well written, as is the case with all Allende’s books. I liked the gripping story-line and the characters which seemed real and vivid.
Maybe I would read it again in the near future.
May 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-the-good
I remember beginning to read Daughter of Fortune several years ago but for some reason put it aside and never finished it. How I was able to do that so easily, I will never know because the second time around this book ended up being difficult to put down.

Isabel Allende has created a very engaging and well-rounded character in Eliza Sommers. I found the most endearing thing about Eliza was her stubborness and her imperfections. Often that is what will draw me to a character because it makes them
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
What an imaginative tale filled with adventure and those common themes that make up an irresistible storyline. I found lovable characters and a plot that made me want more. With a bit of historical fiction thrown in for good measure. Great writing/words.

The only good thing about marriage is becoming a widow.
It isn't a husband who makes a woman look good, but many suitors.

All husbands are boring, John. No woman with an ounce of sense gets married to be entertained, she marries to be maintained.

/ / / Read more reviews on my blog / / /

For a work that was first published in 1998 Daughter of Fortune strikes me as something more suited to the 1970s. Don't get me wrong, I love Isabel Allende's work and she is one of my favourite authors, however, at the risk of coming across as an oversensitive zillennial, her mystification of China struck me as rather old-fashioned. The way Allende portrays other cultures and groups relies on clichés. Yes, some of these characters were, for the most part,
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Written as sort of a prequel to The House of the Spirits, Daughter of Fortune will inevitably be compared to Isabel Allende's first and most famous book, and unfortunately, it doesn't even come close to reaching the bar set by its predecessor.

I was expecting another epic historical family saga, but instead this book is a romance (though at least with a decent twist at the end). I'll definitely read more books by Allende as I consider her to be an incredible author, but this was a disappointment.
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: latin-american, oprah
My second Allende and it if this is bowling, this is her second strike.

The first one was last year. "Paula", Allende's memoir of her daughter who died while in coma. I liked it so much that I told myself that I will try to read all her books. Her crystal-clear prose, told in a simple straightforward fashion, is like a breath of fresh air and her stories about Chile that go back to the times even as far back as her great-great grandparents' years are so interesting that I envy her for knowing tho
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Let me say it upfront: I'm a devoted fan of Ms Allende. From her House of the Spirits to Zorro, I have reveled in her quixotic, sensual, unabashedly sprawling explorations of family ties, the toll and joys of love in all its diverse forms, and the independent spirit of the immigrant. Infused with Ms Allende's trademark turns of phrase ("fate lashed its tail and changed her life forever") and cast of eccentric characters driven by private obsessions, this novel takes place in the 1800s, starting ...more
This work is an exciting historical novel in which we find a young Chilean woman of English education, Eliza Sommers. In 1849, when gold discovered in California, she lives in Valparaiso. Still, when her lover, Joaquin Andieta, leaves in search of fortune, she follows him and finds herself in the basement of a ship, willing to do anything to regain the love of his life. The infernal voyage and the search for the lover in a land of prostitutes and lonely men exalted by the gold fever, make this y ...more
"Where there are women, there is civilisation ..."
- Paulina Rodriguez de Santa Cruz

What do you remember about your first love? Some said that first love last forever, do you agree? First love encouraged Eliza to leave her family, experienced a near-death journey from Valparaiso to the new world, California, chasing Joaquín Andieta's shadow fearlessly. Through the journey she realised that she then has the freedom beyond anything she imagined before, and that was something precious for any woman.
This novel has flashes of brilliance and beautiful writing, but is dragged down by a meandering plot and truly terrible dialogue. At times, it feels like Allende is less interested in putting together a coherent story with compelling characters, and more interested in detailing life in various 1850s societies (Valparaiso, San Francisco, Hong Kong). There's a lot in here about how women are treated in each place, the awfulness of deep poverty, and racism across continents. It's interesting to rea ...more
Joy D
Daughter of Fortune is an epic historical adventure set in the mid-1800s, spanning the globe from England to China to Chile to the American west. The main character, Eliza, is abandoned as an infant on the doorstep of wealthy British Siblings, resettled in Valparaíso, Chile. The first half of the book, set in Chile, is focused on Eliza’s early years, family, and first love. The second half transports the reader to the tumultuous days of the California gold rush, contrasting the initial visions o ...more
Sep 17, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ironically, the strength of this book is the very thing that annoyed me by the end. Allende does an amazing job crafting complex characters and weaving their multiple stories together. Her descriptions invoke all the senses and make the reader feel like she/he is actually experiencing mid-19th century gold-crazy San Francisco. Tracing the lives of a half dozen main characters over seven years through three different countries is no easy task, and while Allende mostly handles it well, there are t ...more
Daughter of Fortune is the first of two historical fiction novels I am reading summer 2019. Author Isabel Allende follows several fictional characters--many Chilean, others Chinese or British--through the decades surrounding the 1849 San Francisco gold rush, with particular attention to main character Eliza Sommers’s romantic pursuits.

Eliza initially leaves Chile for the United States when her first love, Joaquin Andieta, runs off to the gold rush and leaves her pregnant. She meets Tao Chi’en, c
Oct 20, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Isabel Allende and historical fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mrs. Elaine
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am so glad I finally read this! Such a fantastic story with wonderful characters! There were surprises and the author did not shy away from detailing the nasty and horrific details of life during the California gold rush. Or of life in China during the mid 1800’s. There were times where the author casually addressed child prostitution or how girl babies were thrown into the streets in China which was truly stomach turning. But, the details really enabled the reader to feel and understand the p ...more
May 12, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a bodice-ripper with literary pretensions.

Set during the early years of the California Gold Rush, it contains every trope imaginable: the tough-as-nails bordello Madame with a heart of gold; the "celestial" Chinaman with his shaved forehead, opium pipe, and powdered rhino horn; the swarthy, piratical ship's captain with all the connections who serves as convenient repository for everyone else's secrets; the handsome but violent Latin bandito who cuts a path of destruction through the Wil
Smitha Murthy
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Smitha by: Swati
I hadn’t read Isabel Allende until now. “What?!” squeaked my friend, reading buddy, partner, and general irritant. That squeak emanated from her because we were supposed to read Allende’s latest book, ‘A Long Petal of The Sea,’ together.

So, under duress, I bought ‘Daughter of Fortune.’ Don’t ask me why. It’s not Allende’s most famous work. ‘House of Spirits’ might seem the most logical way to enter Allende’s world. But I am not logical. ‘Daughter of Fortune’ whispered to me in the bookstore, an
Usually I run from Oprah's book picks for many reasons, but because she is a well known Latina author, I wanted to read Allende and judge for myself.

Her novel did not disappoint. For me, the time period and limited freedom for women was wonderfully demonstrated through Eliza. Women at that time were either properly married or whores. There was very little in- between.

The story begins in Chile in the late 1840s and Eliza is the adopted daughter of Rose Sommers a transplanted Englishwoman who is
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This I enjoyed and rounded up from 3.5 star. Allende is an excellent story teller. Her copy is smooth and her characters tend to the dynamic. Here they certainly did. And each culture was reflected well to the relative sensibilities of their own dissimilar recognitions. That I love and it held 5 star for that quality in this novel. What a turbulent and exploding era!

Because of that individuality I did not deduct and forgave some strong examples of revisionist interpretation of the history.

So man
Diane S ☔
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 I admire the way this author writes, her word choices, her prose is outstanding. Really enjoyed the history, the beginnings of San Francisco, a city I have not been to but hope to this summer. Amazing the seamless amount of information she managed to convey in this book. Felt like I was part of the Gold Rush, living with these people, observing the way they acted. Loved that people could come here, get a second chance and start over, become whoever they wanted to be. There were many characte ...more
Isabella Allende writes good stories with strong female characters. Her books always have an interesting plot that reveals her Hispanic heritage. Daughter of Fortune takes the reader back to Allende’s homeland, Chile, before going to San Fransico. The book has wonderful detail, although the plot requires to much “backstory,” which often occurs at awkward times and interrupts the flow of the narrative. If you’re an Allende fan looking for a quick read, you can’t go wrong with this book. However, ...more
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. I'm glad I read it but it's more of a historical romance than anything. I was expecting something with the heft of House of the Spirits, but this was very light fare. ...more
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Play Book Tag: [✈] Daughter of Fortune, by Isabel Allende - 4.5 stars 5 15 Feb 01, 2021 09:51AM  
Read Women: Chile: Daughter of Fortune 14 41 Nov 24, 2020 10:19AM  
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Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at s ...more

Other books in the series

Del Valle (3 books)
  • Portrait in Sepia
  • The House of the Spirits

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