"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.
As Eliza grows up, she becomes less tractable and when she falls in love with Joachin Andieta, a clerk in Jeremy's firm, her adoptive family is horrified. They are even more so when a now-pregnant Eliza follows her lover to California where he has gone to make his fortune in the 1849 goldrush. Along the way Eliza meets Tao Chi'en, a Chinese doctor who saves her life and becomes her closest friend. What starts out as a search for a lost love becomes, over time, the discovery of self; and by the time Eliza finally catches up with the elusive Joachin, she is no longer sure she still wants what she once wished for. Allende peoples her novel with a host of colourful secondary characters. She even takes the narrative as far afield as China, providing an intimate portrait of Tao Chi'en's past before returning to 19th-century San Francisco, where he and Eliza eventually end up. Readers with a taste for the epic, the picaresque and romance that is satisfyingly complex will find them all in Daughter of Fortune.--Margaret Prior, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘As broad ranging and lyrical as “The House of the Spirits.”’ Daily Telegraph
‘A masterpiece of historical fiction.’ New York Times
‘An extravagant tale by a gifted storyteller whose spell brings to life the 19th century world…Entertaining and well paced…compelling.’ Los Angeles Times
‘It is packed with incident, rushing from one highly coloured scene to the next … If you like your passions grand and your views panoramic, then “Daughter of Fortune” will be irresistible…you'll find it hard not to be beguiled by the charm and ingenuity of Allende's storytelling.’ The Times--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
'Eliza's birth was a forbidden subject. According to Miss Rose, the basket they found was woven of the finest wicker and lined in batiste; Eliza's nightgown was worked with French knots and the sheets edged with lace, and topping everything was a lace coverlet, an extravagance never seen in Chile. Over time, other details were added: six gold coins tied up in a silk handkerchief and a note explaining that the baby, though illegitimate, was of good stock. Closer to Eliza's memories was Mama |Freisa's explanation: when she opened the door one morning, she had simply found a naked baby girl in a crate . . . '
Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparasio, Chile, by a well-intentioned Victorian spinster, Miss Rose, and her brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the highly unsuitable Joaquin Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of Northern California. By 1849, Chileans everywhere have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquin takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.
So begins Isabel Allende's enchanting new novel, 'Daughter of Fortune, ' her most ambitious work of fiction yet. As we follow her spirited heroine through a perilous journey north of the hold of a ship to the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco and northern California, we enter a world whose newly arrived inhabitants are driven mad by gold fever. With the help of her good friend and saviour, the Chinese doctor Tao Chi'en, Eliza manages to survive in a society full of men and prostitutes, and slowly but surely, California opens the door to a new life of freedom and independence for the young Chilean. Her search for the elusive Joaquin gradually turns into another kind of journey that transforms over time, and what begins as a search for love ends up as the conquest for personal freedom. By the time she finally hears news of him, Eliza must decide who her true love really is.
'Daughter of Fortune' is a sweeping portrait of an era, a story rich in character, history, violence and compassion. In Eliza, Allende has created one of her most appealing heroines, an adventurous, independent-minded and highly unconventional young woman who has the courage to reinvent herself and to create her own destiny in a new country. A marvel of storytelling, 'Daughter of Fortune' confirms once again Isabel Allende's extraordinary gift for fiction and place as one of the world's leading writers.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Isabel Allende was born in 1942, and is the niece of Salvador Allende, who went on to become famous as the elected President of Chile deposed in a CIA-backed coup. She worked as a journalist, playwright and children’s writer in Chile until 1974 and then in Venezuela until 1984. Her first novel for adults, ‘The House of the Spirits’, was published in Spanish in 1982, beginning life as a letter to her dying grandfather. It was an international sensation, and ever since all her books have been acclaimed and adored in numberless translations worldwide.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.