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The Fortune Hunter

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  11,649 ratings  ·  1,503 reviews
In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies. Beautiful, athletic and intelligent, Sisi has everything -- except happiness.

Bored with her dutiful Empress life in Vienna she comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton. Then years younger than her,
Hardcover, 622 pages
Published April 24th 2014 by Headline Review (first published November 7th 2013)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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There aren't many novels available to those interested in the nineteeth century Austo-Hugarian Hapsburgs so I was understandably ecstatic to learn that author Daisy Goodwin was fictionalizing a chapter of their complex history. I’m not exaggerating, there was some pretty embarrassing fangirl-like squealing the day I got my hands on The Fortune Hunter and that is not something I admit lightly.

So what happened? How did a piec
Jun 01, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hated it. You know you're in for a bad time when the dashing hero comes across as a self-involved prick within the first 5 pages of his introduction. He didn't improve, either, no matter how much the writer tried to paint him as conflicted yet sensitive. We were clearly supposed to sympathize with him and his infatuation with the Empress, but I was just annoyed with him, because he was SO ready to marry Charlotte, the heroine, but the NEXT DAY, he met the Empress and was like, "Ooh, shiny!", and ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I'm not sure what to think about this; on one hand, it's a 'juicy' potboiler of a read, a high class beach novel about an overwrought love triangle in Victoria's England. On the other hand, a lot about it just annoyed me. So here is what I learned from this novel, which I'm giving three stars, but two and a half is probably more accurate:

1. Always a sucker for a book with a beautiful cover, this one does not disappoint even though it highly resembles a more lovely one: Horan's 'Under the W
Lisa Dunckley
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty good! I didn't actually realize that it was based on a true story and real people until I was about halfway through. I enjoy historical fiction and this book was very readable.

There were three main characters, the Empress Elisabeth (aka “Sisi”), Bay Middleton, and Charlotte Baird. Sisi was obsessed with her looks, is one of the best female riders in the world, and is bent on having an affair with Bay (despite her Emperor husband Franz back in Hapsburg). Her beauty regimen include
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Samantha Trillium (Just Reading in the Rain)☂
I was initially drawn to this book because of its stunning cover. It was so beautiful, I just picked it up and wanted to read it. But unfortunately, the story didn't enchant me like the cover did...

This story is about a great many characters, whose lives circle around each other for a period of time in 1875/76. The characters in this book are actually based on actual people, and some of the storyline is true, but most of it is fictitious...

So we have Charlotte Baird, who is a comely girl who is
MaryannC. Book Freak
I decided to redo my review on this, because my first one was a quick, slap-dash affair and I want to give this more credit than I did.
I did totally enjoy this novel. Daisy Goodwin has a wonderful way with details when she writes her books, this my second novel by her and like her first one, I was enthralled with all the sumptuousness of her details. The beautiful gowns and finery were vividly imagined, the excitement of the fox hunt, the splendour of the social gatherings of the rich and snobbi
Reviews May Vary
The ending ticked me off and thus I shall never speak of this again.
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Charlotte Baird lives in London in 1875, she's into photography and is about to make her debut in the social scene, when she meets Captain Middleton. Captain Middleton falls for the meek Charlotte, and just as suddenly, also becomes dazzled by the Empress of Austria. This makes for an awkward situation for our narrator Charlotte...

I didn't completely hate this one, and the fact that it is based on real characters is intriguing to me. However, the point of view frequently changes, so it makes it
Irritated by love triangle plot devices, but the last 100 pages had me completely enthralled. Good historical read.
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A spirited English heiress, a dashing cavalry officer and a beguiling Austrian Empress form a love triangle that on first glance may look like characters from a romance novel, but in reality are based on actual people: Charlotte Baird, Bay Middleton and Elizabeth, Empress of Austria. Set in 1875 Victorian England, The Fortune Hunter, by the bestselling author Daisy Goodwin (The American Heiress), is the fictionalization of the life of an ambitious horsemen John “Bay” Middleton and the two women ...more
Stephanie Shearer
I think that this book lacked the rhythm to keep the reader engaged. I had a hard time getting through the book, because there was nothing that really enticed me to keep reading. I found that there was little to like of any of the characters: Bay, Sisi, or Charlotte.
Good historical fiction. I am well versed regarding Sisi and Goodwin's dates throw a major curve preventing me from giving it a higher rating. If I lacked the knowledge of Sisi I would place this at a solid 4 stars. ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A friend of mine won 10 copies of this for our book group.

The general consensus was that the characters were shallow and the plot predictable. We did have some fun looking up pictures of Sisi to see her long hair and clothing - but you can do that for free. Apparently there was an old movie about Sisi too.

This kind of predictable historical romance is just not my cup of tea. There's so much better stuff available. Save your money - or at least use the library.
July 1875 Charlotte Baird, heiress to the Lennox Diamond fortune, is tired of being hunted for her fortune. She feels restrained by the conventions her soon-to-be sister-in-law swears by. Through the aegis of her godmother, a talented photographer, Charlotte has discovered the new medium as an art form. She loves it because photographs don't lie. Unfortunately, her family dismisses her passion as a mere hobby. Her brother wants Charlotte to marry his army friend, "Chicken" Hartopp but what Charl ...more
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
A sparkling sensational new novel from the author of ‘My Last Duchess’

Daisy Goodwin’s refreshingly original outlook on historical fiction is wonderfully engaging, highly readable and deliciously evocative. In this brand new novel she combines with assured in-depth insight; clashing cultures set in 19th-century England. I thoroughly enjoyed this uplifting treat, having been suffering from withdrawal symptoms after the end of hugely popular ‘Downton Abbey’. Light-hearted, unpretentious and likea
Angela M
Aug 04, 2014 marked it as abandoned-not-for-me  ·  review of another edition
Not for me . Felt like historic chick lit.
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a terrific book. One that will be on my Top 2015 Reads. The story is supposed to be about Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) of Austria. But I felt the pull of Charlotte Baird, an heiress who has captured the interest of Captain Bay Middleton. Charlotte is plain and quiet, a girl who is just coming out into society. She's also an orphan, heir to a fortune and whose brother has recently become engaged. Charlotte's mother died from a riding accident and so her father forbids riding so Charlotte mus ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book is loosely based on the true story of Elisabeth ‘Sisi’, Empress of Austria visiting England and her relationship with Bay Middleton. Bay Middleton is a fantastic rider and is asked by the Empress to be her pilot whilst she is hunting in England. However, the more time that Bay spends with Sisi, the more enraptured he becomes to her even though he also has feelings for Charlotte Baird, a young lady who is the heiress to a huge fortune.
The book is basically a lot of hunt scenes and an ex
Apr 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found to have mixed emotions about this story. I enjoyed parts of it and then other parts mainly the romance fell flat for me. I did enjoy the photography aspect and the writing was fairly engaging, but Bay drove me nuts!
Julia Fivash-henderson
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great big treat of a book. Engaging characters, great story and beautifully written. What more could you want? Highly recommended.
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 18tbr, fiction
The story got off to a slow start as the main characters and their situations were laid out. Charlotte is a socially awkward rich heiress, who is attracted to Bay, a poor British Army officer who loves to ride and hunt. The attraction is mutual, but Bay becomes entangled with Elizabeth, the aging but still attractive Empress of Austria, who is foxhunting in England. The story picked up some steam about half-way through as it focused on Charlotte’s involvement with a royal photography exhibition ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2-stars
Telling a fictionalized version of a mashup of true stories, The Fortune Hunter played with my emotions a little but overall was a bit of a let down.

On a whim, I borrowed the audiobook version, as narrated by Clare Corbett, from my library before I hurried outside for a walk—trying to get in the neighborhood course before the summertime afternoon thunderstorms hit. I knew of Daisy Goodwin's name both from having seen the cover of her first book, The American Heiress, out and about (especially he
Lady Delacour
This story was just ok.
Felt like it was more for tweens.
Nicely narrated by Clare Corbett.
Clean except for a little mild language.
Sue Smith
Well , this was not the book I was expecting it to be. It started out as a fine & frivolous romance (which is why I picked it up in the first place), only to find it morph into something else entirely. Then reading the inside book cover synopsis, I further discover that this book isn't about what the first 125 pages covers - but about the ‘Princess Diana’ of her day, the Empress Elizabeth of Austria & her dubious relationship with her English riding pilot Bay Middleton.

Okay. Didn't see that one
Charlotte Baird is the young heiress to the Lennox fortune; an aspiring photographer who wants nothing more than to be left to her own devices. Captain Bay Middleton is notorious as a ladies man but his true passion lies in riding and the hunt; making him the best rider in England. When the two finally meet sparks fly, and despite protestations from her family that Bay is a fortune hunter, Charlotte is determined to set her own destiny. But then enters the Empress Elizabeth "Sisi" the Queen of A ...more
I really enjoyed Daisy Goodwin's first book and was hoping this would be an equally fun read. Unfortunately The Fortune Hunter fails to fulfill the promise of its first few chapters and is marred by historical inaccuracies ("Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)" being sung in the 1870s? Really?), and inconsistent characterizations. For example, our heroine has been horribly traumatized by her mother's death in a hunting accident and can hardly bear to even see the hunt outside...yet when a horribl ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

Wealthy families, the right marriage, the proper husband, dancing balls, horse racing, fox hunting, ​proper seating at dinner parties, and proper everything is what you will find inside THE FORTUNE HUNTER.

Charlotte is the heiress to the Lennox fortune, and her brother and new sister-in-law to be must make sure the proper suitor is selected for her. Not just anyone can be the husband of the heir to the Lennox money.

Charlotte is a bit of a rebel, though, and wants to choose the man she loves not
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
This is Daisy Godwin's second novel and I received a free copy from, where I have also posted a review. I enjoy historical fiction, but this was more of an over-wrought love story and not to my taste. It is based on real people and takes place in 1870s England. Charlotte Baird is an orphaned, wealthy member of high society who is the source of the fortune being hunted. The Empress of Austria has left her husband home to govern and come to England to hunt. The two women intersect a ...more
Wonderful, can't put it down book. I shelved it as historical fiction but I use the term loosely as it feels more like a YA novel with 21st century characters dressed up in 19th century costumes. Expressions like "cooling my heels" and "who's the guy in the skirt" are not very authentic to the English nobility of the time. Nevertheless, the story had me riveted, with the love triangle between the regal Sisi, the Empress of Austria (basically the Lady Diana of her time), the dashing Bay Middleton ...more
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DAISY GOODWIN, a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University’s film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University, is a leading television producer in the U.K. Her poetry anthologies, including 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life, have introduced many new readers to the pleasures of poetry, and she was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. That w ...more

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