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Daughter of Fortune: A Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, June 10, 2008
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About the Author
Isabel Allende is the author of twelve works of fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Maya’s Notebook, Island Beneath the Sea, Inés of My Soul, Daughter of Fortune, and a novel that has become a world-renowned classic, The House of the Spirits. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, she lives in California.
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To my surprise the book was a totally different experience this time. Amazing how ten years can alter ones reading preferences. I could not put the book down and I have to say that it was the story that grabbed me the most, not the Characters, although I found no fault in the character development but never got too interested in anyone of them. I loved the story best. Particularly I suppose because it was a book about women.
We have Rose Sommers, who appears to be a proper young women but we find out she has a past. I found it intriguing that Rose wanted to keep this baby and dedicate her life to bringing up this child as a lady, and created all these weird untruths about how she arrived on the door step. I think both characters Rose and Eliza, show the issues that young women dealt with if they have an adventurous spirit. I got caught up in the life’s lessons that these two head strong girls were being taught their passions and compulsive behaviour not allowed in their time took away any other life choices they may eventually have wanted, one slip up at sixteen and they were tainted for life. That is what separated them from who they could have been and the reality of what they are. Rose became her brothers house keeper and Eliza chose flight. Their story also shows that there is a positive out come to the choices they make, I really enjoyed reading both their stories.
I thoroughly enjoyed the tangle that was created in this story. I loved the adventure of Eliza escaping and how her journey develop. What sort of young woman would she be? would she find the lover would she return home. We read that Rose suffers at loosing Elisa and wishes she had behaved differently and at the end of the Novel we read that Eliza will write to Rose, and we see that their relationship was one of love and they will be able to reunite, I really enjoyed the appreciation they had for each other even though they were apart. I felt for Joaquine’s mother left at home to die and never to know if her son was alive or not. I was left wondering if he had died early on as only one letter was ever delivered. Or was he a man that talked the talk but really once out of sight both his mother and Eliza were quickly forgotten.
Tao, was an interesting character and was a wonderful person for Eliza to grow up through and see her self and her love for Joaquine, in comparison to Lin, who was the perfect bride with her deformed feet and ill health, but was sweet and gentle and his guide through out the story. Mama Fresia, leaves after eighteen years and no one knows her name or where she lives, I thought this was extremely sad and very telling of how Rose and Jeremy lived and viewed servants even though they really were so important to them. We have read this so often in other books.
The ending leaves you up in the air, but it was in someways satisfying to be left to imagine what happens.
There were so many issues for women in this book, choices they could make, Rose on one hand never married but used her passion for her lost lover to write risqué novels. John appreciates his sister taking Elisa in and together they keep a secret from their brother Jeremy, I thought that was particularly sad for him when he found this out. So this sixteen year old secret twists the dynamics of their relationship like all secrets do.
Rose marched Elisa down to the orphanage pointing out that if she misbehaves she will end up back there. In retrospect Rose realises what a horrible thing she did, but as a young woman that took a chance at eighteen she reverted back to a less understanding form of child raring, which I thought was enlightening. Rose obviously regretted the choice she made and hoped to be able to keep control of Elisa.
It's a fascinating story which opened my eyes to the many cultures and races that settled this California area with all its unity and extreme racial prejudice all balled into one very unique society. The customs of various South Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, North Americans, Russians, Australians, English to name some are touched on as they form the army of argonauts who we now call the California Gold Rush population. Amazing story where several lives intertwine love, hate and desparation.
A definite must-read to lovers of historical fiction.