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Daughter of Fortune

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3.90  ·  Rating details ·  105,651 ratings  ·  3,620 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.
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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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3.90  · 
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 ·  105,651 ratings  ·  3,620 reviews


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Brina
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
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Hija de la fortuna = Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
Daughter of Fortune (original Spanish title: Hija de la fortuna) is a novel by Isabel Allende, and was chosen as an Oprah's Book Club selection in February 2000. It was published first in Spanish by Plaza & Janés 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 nove
...more
Luís C.
This is an exciting historical novel in which we find a young Chilean woman of English education, Eliza Sommers. In 1849, when gold is discovered in California, she lives in Valparaiso, but 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 young ...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
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
Erin
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
...more
Helga
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.
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: oprah, latin-american
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
...more
Colleen
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.

Kn
...more
Markus
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.
Sammy
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
...more
Misfit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C.W.
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
Brierly
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
...more
Rebecca
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.
Emily
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
LadyM
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
miaaa
"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.
...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
Allison
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
Leslie
I really wanted to love this book. I have heard great things about Allende's writing and just recently seen this getting 5 star ratings... so what happened? I think I am out of tune with the current writing style -- I know that the saying is "show don't tell" but I found myself several times while listening to this audiobook wishing Allende wouldn't show but just tell me! For example, at one point Eliza bets (view spoiler) ...more
Whitty
Aug 13, 2011 rated it liked it
I wound up being disappointed in this book by Isabel Allende. The premise of the story is quite fascinating with tons of potential. An abandoned baby girl, Eliza, is taken in by a wealthy family and is raised within two cultures, English and Chilean. Her family is very complex and her day to day needs are provided by a Chilean house servant. She has a charmed but rather sheltered life while being influenced by the colorful yet mysterious ways of the Chileans. As Eliza enters her teenage years, s ...more
Jess The Bookworm
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
3 and a half stars.

This book follows Eliza, a young girl from Chile, as she uproots her life and follows her lover to the goldfields of California during the gold rush.

I loved the descriptions in this book, and how it had me Googling Chile as I didn't really know much about it as a country before this. The historical fiction element was also fascinating, and I really enjoyed learning a bit more about the Californian gold rush.

Eliza, as a character was really interesting and the descriptions i
...more
Stela

Telling the tale. Literally

Daughter of Fortune undeniably proves that Isabel Allende is one of those gifted story-tellers that enable you to submerge in the narrative with endless pleasure, without looking for hidden meanings, clever techniques, intertextual dialogues and whatever other elements a second degree reading challenges you to. You simply follow the story that flows peacefully like a lullaby, respecting the chronology, building an atmosphere, depicting characters, going to a rising po
...more
Sarah
I read this for the 2017 POPSUGAR Challenge prompt 'A Book by an Author from a Country You've Never Visited (Peru in this case)'

17/4 - I really, really enjoyed this. I love reading books that follow a character for many years and this did that beautifully. While Eliza was clearly the main character, Daughter of Fortune had a great ensemble cast who I was really invested in the future of.

My only complaint was the very end. I don't like ambiguous endings and I was really disappointed to see that t
...more
Amy
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I wish that I had liked this book more. I am still trying to figure out where exactly it went wrong for me. For at least the first third of the book, I couldn't get the story to stick. I'd open up the book to the next chapter having already forgotten the details of my previous reading. I just couldn't connect with it. There were so many characters where we were given long back stories, but only a few that went on to become major players in the plot.

The last third of the book was probably the be
...more
MichelleCH
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
...more
Jeanette
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
...more
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
Beth Sponzilli
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
I liked this book quite a bit. The beginning was slow and the author doesn't use a lot of dialogue, which I'm used to. The main story is about the California gold rush and how so many people were effected by this huge migration. I liked the message it gave and how life is more about the journey than the destination.
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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
“من يعرف أكثر، عليه واجبات أكثر تجاه الإنسانية.” 31 likes
“His calls for justice were lost at the mercy of the wind and human indifference.” 30 likes
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