1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Fortune Hunter (Hardcover)
Daisy Goodwin's second novel is about the love triangle between Sisi, the famous Austrian Empress whose hair reaches down to her ankles, the handsome but impoverished "Bay" Middleton and Charlotte Baird, a plain but intelligent heiress. All were real people, brought vividly to life by Goodwin's strong imagination and crisp prose.
Sisi is unhappy, lonely, beautiful, intelligent and a supreme rider. When she comes to England, she demands Middleton as her "pilot", and before long he, ten years her junior is her lover. What else is he to do - unless he marries for money? Charlotte seems more interested in photography than matrimony, and yet the two of them fall in love. It's a situation worthy of Trollope, whose influence is felt not only in the sympathetic portraits but in the hunting scenes which convey a thrill of the chase so vividly that it's hard to believe the author hasn't hunted herself.
This is the kind of historical romance which is as rare as it is pleasurable. The reader is assumed to be intelligent, and the author wears her considerable knowledge lightly, recreating a lost world with a story which has echoes of our own. Sisi was the Princess Diana of her day, and Middleton was a distant ancestor of Kate Middleton. Highly recommended.