Amy's Reviews > Daughter of Fortune

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
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's review
Apr 04, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: bookcrossing
Read in April, 2004

I found this book oddly compelling, the characters interesting. This is the first (and only) novel of Allende's I have read. A novel not to be rushed, but savored...

I am putting below an on-line review I found at B&N, plus the publisher's blurb:

Meghan Erickson (, a thespian in Durango, Colorado, November 7, 2002,
Chapter descriptions make the reader fall in love with the characters.
There comes a time in life when everyone must embark on a journey of self-discovery; In “Daughter of Fortune,” by Isabel Allende, a young woman goes in search of her lover and discovers herself instead. Allende uses vivid descriptions of each party to bring to life a Victorian era with apparently good manners and polite graces, all of which are held together by a gossamer web of secrets, silences, and lies to cover what lies beneath. The theme that surfaces shows how devastating it can be when one leads a life of lies and false appearances. Everyone needs to find his or her true self and live a full, real life. Through erudite prose and vivid descriptions, Allende brings to life this colorful novel through a special chapter for each important character, or group of characters. These chapters go back and examine the past of each party. This gives foreshadowing, and an explanation for why things are the way they are. Which also endears certain characters in such a way that you can forgive and almost justify the acts they perform where as if you hadn’t known why they did the things they did you would not feel compassionate towards them. Eliza, an apparently orphaned baby left on the doorstep of the home of a wealthy English shipping merchant and his sister, in a remote, and small but lively port called Valparaiso on the coast of Chile. Allende brightly embroiders the tale fallowing Eliza into mid-adolescence where she meets a dirt-poor illegitimate man, the man who she believes to be the love of her life. After a secret affair he leaves her for the California gold rush of 1849 with the intention of getting rich enough to be a suitable match for Eliza in the eyes of her adoptive parents, and to have the ability to put his mother in a much better status. After waiting for several months for his return, Eliza stows away on a ship with the help of a Chinese man, and fallows her lover to California. Once she reaches California, her real journey begins. Through the extensive imagination of Allende she develops many unusual friends and relationships, discovers true freedom and her true identity. The story continues to fallow her through thick and thin in a richly detailed plot and colorful setting.
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