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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Tale
I love her work. All of it. Every word, every turn of phrase, every character.... you can *smell* her characters, feel the clothes on their back, run your hands through their hair...
Her depictions of life in 18th century Chile and California are so convincing that there could be no other truth than hers in the nature of life and society at that time.
The story...
Published on 15 Mar 2002

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Daughter of Fortune proves Fool's Gold
I came to this book aware of the negative criticism it had received, but determined not to allow it to influence my judgement. Unfortunately, I must agree that this novel is extremely disappointing. The comparisons made with House of Spirits are entirely off track, Eliza is not up to the standard of Clara, nor does this plot equal the one of House of Spirits. It lacks...
Published on 19 Aug 2001 by Amazon Customer


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Daughter of Fortune proves Fool's Gold, 19 Aug 2001
By 
Amazon Customer (Naples, NA Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Paperback)
I came to this book aware of the negative criticism it had received, but determined not to allow it to influence my judgement. Unfortunately, I must agree that this novel is extremely disappointing. The comparisons made with House of Spirits are entirely off track, Eliza is not up to the standard of Clara, nor does this plot equal the one of House of Spirits. It lacks the depth and spirituality that make House of Spirits a universal experience. While reading Daughter I couldn't help feeling that this book was written to produce a marketable best-seller, with little concern for literary value. Allende's acute awareness of the PC, as well as her choice of language, often unrealistic for the historical period, (although this peculiarity may be in part the translator's doing) seem to confirm this novel was written for the page-turning masses. I find all this sad: Allende, with an overabundance of telling, falls short of showing in this novel, thus falling short of her own talent as a writer. I hope she can rediscover a rich new vein and stop pawning off fool's gold for the real thing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Tale, 15 Mar 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Paperback)
I love her work. All of it. Every word, every turn of phrase, every character.... you can *smell* her characters, feel the clothes on their back, run your hands through their hair...
Her depictions of life in 18th century Chile and California are so convincing that there could be no other truth than hers in the nature of life and society at that time.
The story draws you in, inviting you readily into the back streets of San Francisco, the dark drawing rooms of the Chilean social "elite", the brothels of frontier California and the deep confines of the ship's hold.
If you like your narrative passionate, if you enjoy romance and tragedy and if you are inspired by novels to free your imagination, then this book is for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A geat historical experience, 3 Dec 2000
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Paperback)
Some of the other reviewers have questioned whether Eliza is an extraordinary character, and have found she is not interesting enough to carry the story. I disagree with these reviewers as I admired her for setting out to find her lover Joaquin by stowing away when she has hardly left her home in her life. To become the companion of a Chinese physician, disguising herself as a Chinese man, and taking part in the California gold rush, is extraordinary in itself, and deserves to be praised.
I particularly enjoyed the historical content of this novel and it left me wanting to read more about the Chilean society and the American gold rush. Therefore, it was like reading two novels in one.
My favourite character was Rose who was a truly remarkable and passionate woman. I would love to read a novel just based on her as I think she merits this study. Allende is masterly in crafting the secrets of this woman and only revealing them towards the end of the story.
I haven't read any other Allende novels but I certainly shall after reading Daughter of Fortune.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Latin Lite, 27 Nov 2000
By 
Dryad "Aberdeen" (Aberdeen, Scotland UK United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Paperback)
I like Isabel Allende's writing, really I do, and I was somewhat disappointed by Daughter of Fortune. I think I expected some richer, and this felt really lightweight. I've thought of giving this to a friend for Christmas, as she's never read Allende but loves Latin and Caribbean fiction, yet I hesitate to send this to her as I don't think she'd care for it, and Allende is worth reading.
The biggest problem with Daughter of Fortune is the main character, Eliza, who, to be honest, just isn't very interesting. Most of the other characters, particularly Rose Summers and Tao Chi'en, are far more interesting, and I would rather have read about them than Eliza. Eliza is considered extraordinary by all who meet her...unfortunately she's anything but extraordinary. Allende would, I think, have done better to keep out of Eliza's point of view, keeping her mysterious.
Should you read this book....only if you're a fan of Allende and want some light reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweeping epic, Allende talents on full view., 9 July 2007
By 
N. Sciortino "bookworm" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Paperback)
I love Allende's use of language - very descriptive, sweeping but always accessable. You are drawn into the book & its characters from the very first pages. She handles the numerous different characters, cultures & countries with her characteristic ease. Here are the majestic beauty & brutality of the newly developing Californian in all its glory.
The characters, as with all Allende's novels,are sympathetic & well drawn - you want to know what will happen to them. The chief character Eliza ties the novel together, drawing the disparaging cultures together - Chilian, Indian, English, Chinese & "American".
The minor characters add richness & substance, not detract from the epic sweep of the novel which often happens with other books. This is Allende at her glorious best.Enjoy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a beautifully written book, 5 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
This book was the first I have read by Allende, and I must say I was very impressed. Such beautiful language and imigary, unlike anything I have read before
The tale is set in the colourful lands of Chile and California, during the time of the Californian gold rush. The main character is a girl called Eliza, who was adopted by English colonials in Chile, and looked after by their cook, a Chilian Indean. The tale runs along quite sedately until Elizer reached womanhood, when she fell in love with a poor Chilean worker called Joquian.
After that things were never the same again, Elizer suffering with the kind of painful, obsessive love that only a true heroine can.
When Joquain got gold fever and went to California to find fortune, Elizer was not far behind, and the story then turns into an exciting tale of a womans search for her lover.
This is a story with many twists and turns, with excitement and romance, with characters full of life and passion. It is a story about a womans search for love and freedom.
This is a book I would recommend to anyone who enjoys colourful, discriptive writing with rich, very real characters and a plot that won't let you put the book down for a moment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's like reading a features article in a Sunday Newspaper magazine, 29 May 2013
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Paperback)
Oh dear I was so disappointed with this book. I have heard so much about this writer and based on this one book that I have read all the praise heaped on her is misplaced. Why? well, it's not a novel. Or at least it doesn't read like one. My title of this review expresses my feelings perfectly. The trouble is not with the plot, it's flimsy but that doesn't matter - plots new matter in how good or bad a book is. But in case anyone cares: Boy (handsome, destitute, poet, painfully principled) meets girl (beautiful, rich, haughty, unobtainable, innocent). They fall in love. Then he vanishes. She runs after him to California where he has gone to try and cash in on the gold rush. That's the plot.
But it's not important because a writer should have something to say and if the author has anything to say, then I missed it; is that her fault or mine? Worse; are the characters. They just don't live. And that's because they aren't real. And they aren't real because she doesn't let them breath. They never speak. The author does all that for them. They don't tell us what they think and feel; the author does that for them. And then, we are only told what the author thinks we need to know. As each character is introduced we are subjected to a 40/50 page potted biography as background to explain their role in "moving" the plot forward.
Imagine a bridge: the plot is the roadway and the characters are the pillars and towers holding it up. As we travel along the roadway we are introduced to each pillar and tower in turn. It just seems to me that the author knocked this one out for the money. There is no emotion in the writing; no passion, rage, irony, humour or joy. Perhaps I should read one of her other books and see if that makes me reconsider my opinion. Trouble is: dare I risk wasting more of my time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plots grippingly history, fantasy, & bold characterisation., 16 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Hardcover)
Daughter of Fortune is a gripping and beautiful novel, and in a deeply classical sense. It has big characters, with a strong lead, a complex plot weaving romance with history, adventure, and a quest for identity. Set in Chile in 1800s, it begins in a colonial household with foundling Eliza, who becomes our main focus, and the various contradictory stories of her origins. The lady of the house who takes her as her own, romanticises her blossomed-from-a-rosebush start in life in a way that many of us will recall imagining ourselves, while Mama Fresia pulls her down to earth with a grubbier tale of abandonment. This, and the humour of the eccentric English spinster maintaining their clifftop house in Valparaiso to be a cloistered corner of pastoral England, are some examples of the human warmth and spirit of this colourful and well-populated book.
It soon becomes clear that Eliza is not one to stay by the family hearth. This headstrong heroine, with her mystical edge and ability to remember minute details of her past, will not be bound. Falling in love with a disapproved of suitor, she follows him solo when he submits to goldrush fever and takes off to California. Her arrival there after a frightening sea-journey as a stow-away where she meets Chinese doctor Tao Chi'en, opens up a world of frantic opportunism. The stories of gold strewn on the ground bring marauding hordes, and a fascinating distilled narrative of the resulting development of urban California emerges.
Tao Chi'en proves a lifelong friend to Eliza - the person who makes her find roots in her wandering self and discover friendship in contrast to her youthful passionate love, besides a knowledge of ancient herbalism. This book has an epic, searching, and fantastical sweep, with the right level of historical authenticity for it to both entertain and inform. Once again, Allende succeeds in conjuring everyday fantasies. This is a delight to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, haunting story, 9 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Paperback)
I too, deeply enjoyed this wonderful novel, Allende has a superb quality wherein she can weave a beautiful spiritual colourful tale that does not hide in the slightest from the brutal and horrific facts that coincide with the historical time of her story. I didn't want it to end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT STORY, 19 Mar 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Daughter of Fortune (Paperback)
I loved this novel. Elisa, who has been adopted by an English family who live in Chile, doesn't know who her parents are. As she grows up, she discovers love, pain and fear. The reader can almost feel what she feels and see what she sees as her story proceeds. Then we're introduced to Tao, a Chinese guy who will be extremely important is this story, although it's difficult, at the start, to foresee why... As usual, Isabel Allende can read the emotions and sensitivity of women in an amazing way.
Really worth reading!
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Daughter of Fortune (Oprah's Book Club)
Daughter of Fortune (Oprah's Book Club) by Isabelle Allende (Paperback - Sep 2000)
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