Book Reviews of Daughter of Fortune

Daughter of Fortune
Daughter of Fortune
Author: Isabel Allende
ISBN-13: 9780006552314
ISBN-10: 0006552315
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 416
Rating:
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 2

4.3 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Flamingo
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

96 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 151 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This is one of those rare books that I can appreciate both on a literary level at the same time as I wallow in the romance and suspense. [Warning: cliche coming] I couldn't put it down! Seriously, you have to read this one - and ignore all her others, Allende appears to be a one book author.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Amazing book! I have read and reread it. Of particular interest to me were the descriptions of Gold Rush era towns from Sacramento to the Foothills. From a historical viewpoint of those towns the descriptions are amazingly accurate. I would and have recommended this book to others.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Engrossing story begins in Chile and ends in California, touches on every-day life in Chile, shipping, prostitutes, the Gold Rush and Chinese herbal medicine. And, it's well written.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 216 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Beautiful story of a young woman's journey in pursuit of her love to 1849 San Fransisco.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Allende is a great writer. I couldn't put this book down. A great story and great adventure.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A terrific, well researched, tale of life during the Gold Rush of 1849. You can read it as the search of a woman for her lost love, or you can read it for details of life at that time and in that place. After I finished it, I followed with a history of the Gold Rush.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I have read every one of Isabel Allende's book and this one was just as engaging as all of the others. Full of interesting characters, a hint of the paranormal, fascinating looks at other cultures,a bit of adventure and uncensored peeks into the trials faced by some immigrants. Highly recommended.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on
Helpful Score: 3
Fantastic book with well-developed characters. The book wasn't entirely predictable, which I enjoyed. It was also interesting to read about the California Gold Rush from a non-Anglo perspective. A nice, captivating, cultured book.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is so rich w detail, characters, and excitement. The main character is a spirited heroine who really engages you and makes you feel for her and her plight...the characters are all very rich and interesting and the book really teaches you alot about the history of the period California Gold Ruch 1849, and South America, and China in the same period.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 328 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A historical novel "seasoned" by four cultures,--English, Chilean, Chinese, and American. Set during the California Gold Rush, this adventure story is filled with romance, passion and great storytelling!
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was a very engaging book and I felt interested throughout. I hope you like it as much as I did!
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a wonderful historical fiction story of a young, independent woman who runs away from her home in Chile to follow her "true" love to California during the Gold Rush. Along the way she endures many hardships and learns a lot about who she is and what she wants out of life. This is a great book for a book club because there are many topics to discuss - the role of women in society, nature vs. nuture, racism, the Gold Rush to name a few. You learn a lot about the Gold Rush, which is a facinating subject unto itself.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 335 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
It took me a long time to get into this book. It was very slow moving and not as captivating as I had hoped. Although it received rave reviews, I found it lacking in substance.
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Helpful Score: 3
This one started out really very slow for me. The first 75 pages or so really drag out the set up to this novel. The middle section is really good, the parts once they reach SFO are fascinating. Then it ends. Really abruptly. I'm left feeling that the author didn't finish the story. Where's the rest of it? Did she reach some pre-determined page count and then had to stop? A pretty good book, would be better with less at the beginning and more at the end.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Having never read Isabel Allende and having gotten away from ficion nearly completely, I was surprised at how well she was able to draw me into this multi-cultural, continent-hopping story. Allende was able to give a very realistic account of all of the places in this book I've actually been. From the rambling, over-designed Victorian home where the main character Eliza Sommers was brought up to the proliferous fragrances in an Oriental market where Tao Chi'en began his quest for a healer's knowledge in earnest to the lovely shores of the chilly, mirror-clear American River I felt I was truly there - again. There's something unreal about the sunlight coming through the leaves in autumn in Northern California and reading this book transported me. I could hear the water tumbling over those rocks and even smell the eucalyptus over on those hills overlooking the Bay.

The plot was believable while not quite ever predictable. The characters grew and got more interesting all the way till the final chapter. The feminist element got to be a teensie-weensie bit preachy at times but I couldn't help but empathize with the struggles these women faced. The main characters were real - never exaggerated. Here and there a minor character might have been slightly exaggerated - particularly the men.

Historical fiction should first and foremost be entertainment but I'm always pleased when I get to the first page that actually teaches me something. I had not known of the economical and geographical importance of the Chilean port city of Valparaiso in the 19th century and was fascinated to go research it.

This was a fun read. It almost gives me gold fever and I haven't wanted to go back to California for years. And who wouldn't want to visit Valparaiso & Canton? If I believed in reincarnation I would want to come back as a modern version of Paulina Rodriguez de Santa Cruz... but first I'm going to have to go find another Isabel Allende novel to read.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Loved this book. A great tale.
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Helpful Score: 2
One of my favorite authors has created yet another masterpiece. This story takes you back in time and elevates your consciousness to feel the compassion for the trials and tribulations that the characters endure. If you loved the other Chilean author Isabelle Allende tales of passion like I did, "Of Love and Shadows", "Stories of Eva Luna", "House of Spirits", etc., you'll also love "Daughter of Fortune". As is typical of Allende stories, she builds a magical journey for her characters and you feel like you are along for the ride.
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Helpful Score: 2
A basket ends up on the doorsteps of a well-to-do family in Chili containing a beautiful baby girl of raven hair. The story follows this beauty into her adulthood in a manner not accustomed to the whims of these English aristocrats. Her friendship and identity with the family's servants, love for her adopted mother, her unexpected friendship with a Chinese doctor, and her new love as she becomes of age will lead you on a trip through the realities of the forty-niners quest for the California gold. It incorporates characters described in detail one would find in San Francisco and the gold fields you will treasure and not soon forget. One of those books you will be recommending to your friends and those you chance to meet.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
To be honest, I'm still not sure if I liked this book or not.

While the main character is listed as Eliza, it seems that nearly every character you come across has their own (lengthy) backstory that almost rivals hers. They're all inter-connected in some way but not to a degree that we really need to know all of that information.

Don't get me wrong, Allende has a fantastic way of writing that brings the details to life. It was a quick and easy read with beautiful imagery and interesting stories. It held my attention enough that I wanted to finish it but I thought it really started to shine towards the end of the novel. The end is so abrupt that I went online to make sure my copy hadn't had pages torn out.

Good read for historical fiction fans.
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Helpful Score: 2
I have read this several times.. the only reason i am giving one up is because i received one as a gift. All of Allende's books are great.
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Helpful Score: 1
Don't usually go for Allende novels, but this one was very interesting. Great historic setting with a great story. Enjoyed very much.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this story. From Chile to the Gold Rush of California, the characters are rich and take you along with them on an adventure. "Portrait in Sepia" also by Allende, follows the characters and their families further in generations. Fantastic read!
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Helpful Score: 1
I have read several books by this author and enjoy her works very, very much.
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Helpful Score: 1
historical novel of life during the mid 1800's. an orphan raised by a victorian spinster, follows her heart on a momentous journey to the wild frontiers of California during the gold rush. Oprah's book club.
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Helpful Score: 1
One of the better books I've read this year. Historical fiction with strong,determined female protagonist. Takes you from society in Chile in the mid 19th century to the California Gold Rush. Alot of racial overtones.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great historial novel of a time and place I knew little about. Chile in the mid-1800's and California during that same period. A strong woman who used her head as well as her heart. Well written. Recommended. M3
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Helpful Score: 1
I really loved this book and would recommend it to anyone. Most of the story takes place in California during the Gold Rush. This gal writes a really good story!
Genny
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on
Helpful Score: 1
I had no trouble finishing this book but didn't find the characters particularly memorable. It was interesting reading about the early days of the California gold rush, particularly as seen through the eyes of a non-Caucasian immigrant. I never realized the gold rush had such an international effect! Book is well written: I am glad I read it.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was historic, and brillantly delved into a gutsy young woman's travels to a Gold Rush California. This felt so real. It was enthralling.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was excellent. A good story as well as educational, I learned some about Chile in the 19th century, the California gold rush, and how they transported tropical fruit to the USA while keeping it fresh without modern-day refrigeration.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
LOVED this book, awesome read!!
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I had never read Isabel Allende and I just adored this book. The story just carries u along. Her description of the California Gold Rush was very interesting. The reader was excellent and the translation was very good. I am now listening to the next book in this series and it's also very good. So many reasons to love this book!
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I loved this book. The author makes the characters come alive and you feel you know them personally. She goes into each characters background so you know where they are coming from.
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The Gold Rush Days as I had not seen them, A learning experience for me!
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This was the first book that I read by Isabel Allende and I LOVED it. She is a master story teller and this book just pulled me right in. Highly recommended. The House of the Spirits is great too!
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 130 more book reviews
Very interesting - especially how the story comes full circle. Would definately try another one of this author's books.
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Type: {Weekend Read: a book to curl up on the couch with.}
Rating: {Im Lovin It: Very entertaining!}

Why Youre Reading It:

You are a fan of Isabel Allende
You enjoy rich characters
You enjoy Historical Fiction
You like stories that incorporate different cultures
Stories involving places as characters (in this case Chile and California) add to the story in your opinion

What I Thought:

In Isabel Allendes novel about Eliza Sommers, she brings together a cast of characters so well developed that you forget they arent real. The story begins in Chile, where Eliza is taken in by Rose Sommers and her brother Jeremy, and follows her through growing up and leaving for the gold country of northern California.

Not only is this a story involving the adventure of Eliza, it explores the unrational way that our first loves can conquer us, what we learn through them, and how powerful they can be in setting the course for our lives. Weaving in the beauty of both Chilean and Chinese culture and incorporating a myraid of characters that make this story engaging, Allende takes the reader for a well-paced ride through the 19th century beginnings of San Francisco as we know it. Attention to the details of class, culture, prejudice, and customs of the time make for an incredibly interesting reading; as does the glimpse into the world of the very few women, most of whom were soiled doves, and how they were able to survive (and sometimes flourish) in a mostly male dominated area.

This is a fantastic book to read while on vacation. I kept wondering why it was taking me so long to read since it was such an interesting story, and decided that though roughly four hundred pages, the type is quite small and the book could easily be much longer if it were written in a larger font. Though the beginning was a tad slow going, the speed picked up significantly as soon as the author introduces Tao Chien and never slowed down from there. This is the only reason that this work does not garner the Unputdownable ranking. I highly recommend it for summer reading, as you will be thoroughly entertained and have the benefit of looking to the authors large published, well-liked collection for follow ups after you are finished with this title.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 3 more book reviews
Fantastic book, wonderful author !
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hard to start..but ended up being an okay read
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on
I have read almost all of Allende's book and I love them. This one did not dissapoint. I like her style b/c along with the fiction you can always get a glimpse of the political & cultural reality of that time. Magical Realism.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on
This book seems like it would like to be the Chilean "Gone with the Wind," but it doesn't make it. Still, it's an interesting story with insights into the lives of 19th century women, much determined by class and status, and the spirit of one young woman that takes her from claustrophobic comfort in Chile to the freedom and danger of the California Gold Rush.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 33 more book reviews
Absolutely a great read, couldn't put it down. The setting during the gold rush of California is fascinating
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on + 46 more book reviews
This is another one of my top ten all-time favorite books. I just bought it for the third time because I keep giving them away to my friends.

Allende's stories are riveting and her characters are brilliantly drawn. The heroine in this one travels halfway around the globe to find her true love and when circumstances change, she adjusts to her new reality and finds a way to succeed. I love this book. I'm saving the sequel, Portrait in Sepia, as a reward for myself later, when I need rewarding.
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Great tale of adventure! Thoroughly enjoyable!
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Great story line, very interesting and a great summer read. If you enjoy historical fiction with a touch of romance this will be a good choice for you.
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A fascinating story about the early settlement of California.
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Until Isabel Allende burst onto the scene with her 1985 debut, The House of the Spirits, Latin American fiction was, for the most part, a boys' club comprising such heavy hitters as Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Mario Vargas Llosa. But the Chilean Allende shouldered her way in with her magical realist multi-generational tale of the Trueba family, followed it up with four more novels and a spate of nonfiction, and has remained in a place of honor ever since. Her sixth work of fiction, Daughter of Fortune, shares some characteristics with her earlier works: the canvas is wide, the characters are multi-generational and multi-ethnic, and the protagonist is an unconventional woman who overcomes enormous obstacles to make her way in the world. Yet one cannot accuse Allende of telling the same story twice; set in the mid-1800s, this novel follows the fortunes of Eliza Sommers, Chilean by birth but adopted by a British spinster, Rose Sommers, and her bachelor brother, Jeremy, after she is abandoned on their doorstep.
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If you haven't read this great book....you should!! What a wonderful author to spin the stories that suck you right in! Make it yours!
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on
Really enjoyed this book !
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Historical, adventurous, strong characters.
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Eliza Sommers, left alone and pregnant in Chile when her lover Joaquin runs off to California during the Gold Rush, decides to follow him only to become entranced with her new life of freedom and independence.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on
This book seems like it would like to be the Chilean "Gone with the Wind," but it doesn't make it. Still, it's an interesting story with insights into the lives of 19th century women, much determined by class and status, and the spirit of one young woman that takes her from claustrophobic comfort in Chile to the freedom and danger of the California Gold Rush.
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Loved the history of California during the gold rush. A very good read, but I didn't realize that this wasn't the first in a series until after I was finished!! But, in this case, it didn't really matter.
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Excellent novel with romance, adventure, and history.
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Enjoyable historical novel
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This is a great epic love story starting in Chile and ending in San Francisco in the 1840's.
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Very well written. Interesting characters. Love it!
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Historical fiction with a twist. Very good storytelling.
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Isabel Allende never disappoints. I loved this story of love and adventure that follows her hero and heroine through different countries and cultures.
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Very interesting read! I enjoyed learning about the culture and lifestyle of the main character. Strong female lead.
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set in the mid-1800s, this novel follows the fortunes of Eliza Sommers, Chilean by birth but adopted by a British spinster, Rose Sommers, and her bachelor brother, Jeremy, after she is abandoned on their doorstep.
"You have English blood, like us," Miss Rose assured Eliza when she was old enough to understand. "Only someone from the British colony would have thought to leave you in a basket on the doorstep of the British Import and Export Company, Limited. I am sure they knew how good-hearted my brother Jeremy is, and felt sure he would take you in. In those days I was longing to have a child, and you fell into my arms, sent by God to be brought up in the solid principles of the Protestant faith and the English language."
The family servant, Mama Fresia, has a different point of view, however: "You, English? Don't get any ideas, child. You have Indian hair, like mine." And certainly Eliza's almost mystical ability to recall all the events of her life would seem to stem more from the Indian than the Protestant side
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I thought it was a beautiful book~!
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Passionate, adventurous, and brilliantly insightful. A masterpiece of historical fiction.
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A very popular book. Kind of makes me wonder why I had such a hard time reading it. Was bored to death until I finally decided to stop reading it.
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Well worth the read! As different as some of the characters are you never feel like they're contrived.
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Excellent family saga story line. The ending pleasantly suprised me on how loose ends came together.
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A wonderful story of searching for love the back drop of 18th century Chile and California. Couldnt put down.
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I really liked it until the end where it kind of fizzled out. I see there is a sequel so maybe that is why the book just whimpered at the end. Loved her style and found the characters interesting enough to read more of her work though.
reviewed Daughter of Fortune on
This may be a novel, but when reading the story, it sounds so real. The descriptions of the land as well as the characters are perfect. It is so readable and believable. Highly recommend this book. She has written a sequel to this story "Portrait in Sepia" that is just as good. Enjoy them both.
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An orphan raised in Valparaíso, Chile, by a Victorian spinster and her rigid brother, young, vivacious Eliza Sommers follows her lover to California during the Gold Rush of 1849 -- a danger-filled quest that will become a momentous journey of transformation. In this rough-and-tumble world of panhandlers and prostitutes, immigrants and aristocrats, Eliza will discover a new life of freedom, independence, and a love greater than any ever dreamed.
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New York Times BestSeller-Oprah's Book Club...This is a dazzling historical novel, a sweeping portrait of an unconventional woman carving her own destiny in an era defined by violence, passion, and adventure.
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I loved it - history, drama, love, all the essential elements are here.
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Excellent book by a great writer!
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It took me awhile to get into this book, but it was decent. It's not my favorite book ever, but if you're interested in California in this time period, it will be interesting to you.
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The reader Blair Brown makes this story come alive. Isabel Allende is a talented author and her books hold attention to the end. I couldn't put it down.
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This is an interesting period piece. It moves the reader through time and location while including some ethnical turmoil. We see Eliza progress and change throughout her life.
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I loved this book - its deep, mystical and enchanting. I wish it didn't end. This book begins my reading love affair with Isabelle Allende!
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An adopted daughter of a well bred family breaks the social rules in upper class Chile and flees to California. Eliza endures a horrendous ocean crossing in search of her lover and barely recovers. With help from Tai Chi'en, a young,widowed Chinese doctor, and a kind-hearted prostitute, she survives to shape her new life during the gold rush in California.
Throughout her adventures there, Eliza remains close to Tao Chi'en, her rescuer and friend. Dressed as a young boy, and mute brother of Tao Chi'en, Eliza's adventures unfold in her new country as does love...but not as she expected it.
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Long on character development, short on plot. I thought it was a rush to finish at the end. Having said that, it was an excellent read as to a story of the gold rush from a previously unexplored direction. Instead of a story of the gold rush itself we have a small cast of characters from South America and China caught up in an all too brief and intense period of real american history. Oprah was right, it's an excellent read.
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The author makes you feel like you are right there. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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Really enjoyed this book. It was well written.
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She is amazing... I am now reading all of her books.
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Loved the book until the very end. I do not like abrupt endings!
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I DO enjoy Isabel Allende!
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Beautifully written, magical realism
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Blair Brown gives a rich and crisp narration to this story of a young woman who was left as a baby on the steps of a British home in Chile in about 1830. We follow the young woman's life and adventures from Chile to the California Gold Rush as she stows away to follow her lover. This search for first love takes many unexpected turns as the reader gets a glimpse into a fictionalized version of life in California in the gold rush years, a different look at racism and how different cultures lives side by side (but not necessarily in harmony).
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This was an interesting perspective on the California Gold Rush...
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Wonderful story and another time in life to think about. I like reading stories with foreign authors they describe things differently and the story kept me wanting more.
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Allende is a superb storyteller. That quality plus her lyricism and sense of irony never disappoint!
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This is a Oprah Book club book. I like this book.
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FROM THE PUBLISHER
From acclaimed international bestselling author Isabel Allende comes this dazzling historical novel, a sweeping portrait of an unconventional woman carving her own destiny in an era defined by violence, passion, and adventure. An orphan raised in Valparaiso, Chile, by a Victorian spinster and her rigid brother, young, vivacious Eliza Sommers follows her lover to California during the Gold Rush of 1849 -- a danger-filled quest that will become a momentous journey of transformation. In this rough-and-tumble world of panhandlers and prostitutes, immigrants and aristocrats, Eliza will discover a new life of freedom, independence, and a love greater than any ever dreamed.
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An Oprah book club selection, it is set during the Gold Rush of 1849.
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I actually haven't read it but it is highly recommended from friends!
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I haven't read this book. The cover describes it as a "historical novel, a sweeping portrait of an unconvential woman carving her own destiny in an era defined by violence, passion, and adventure."
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Oprah book club book.
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An Oprah's Club Book