- Audio CD: 12 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (July 29, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1427236119
- ISBN-13: 978-1427236111
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 5.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 284 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,212,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Fortune Hunter: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart. Learn more
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About the Author
DAISY GOODWIN, a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University's film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University, is a leading television producer in the U.K. Her poetry anthologies, including 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life, have introduced many new readers to the pleasures of poetry, and she was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. She and her husband, an ABC TV executive, have two daughters and live in London. The American Heiress was her first novel.
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The main character (see what I said about forgettable? sadly, can't even recall the character's name) is mildly engaging but smacks of "author tried too hard here." By making her plain/not beautiful -- that's no antidote for an uninteresting character, by the way! -- by making her interested in the "shocking" field of photography, etc., is an overly obvious attempt to create a certain kind of character, but when it comes to the author's creation of this character, the seams are visible.
The foil female character, Sisi -- a historical figure who was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time; did have hair that reached the floor; did employ such bizarre cosmetic aids as raw veal applied to her face under a mask; was almost pathologically obsessed with her appearance; and existed literally in her own self-made cult of beauty -- comes across as extraordinarily underdeveloped and shallow. That may seem like a contradictory thing to say, considering all of the aforementioned facts were true of the real Sisi, but when placed in a historical fiction, she just seems placed here to be the beautiful rival of our not-beautiful heroine. The real Sisi had, for the most part, a very unhappy and tragic existence, but none of those sadder colors seem to go into the construction of Sisi here in the novel, and they could have made for a better character.
I honestly felt little liking or either of the primary characters, but what I felt for them is adoration compared to the way I felt about the character of Bay Middleton -- a name that would be utterly ridiculous in any fictional novel, but can't be helped here because he, too, was a historical figure. Here, he comes across as no one that any serious female should waste the time of day on, and is merely a vapid character who can't keep his (insert noun of choice) in his pants. Maybe he was this way in real life, but when an author is writing a historical fiction, there are so many opportunities to add nuance, and all of those opportunities were more or less missed here.
If you're looking for something fun for the beach or the bathtub, here you go: It probably won't disappoint. But there are much better books out there.
There were three main characters, the Empress Elisabeth (aka “Sisi”), Bay Middleton, and Charlotte Baird. Sisi was obsessed with her looks, is one of the best female riders in the world, and is bent on having an affair with Bay (despite her Emperor husband Franz back in Hapsburg). Her beauty regimen includes sleeping with raw veal on her face. Surprisingly, she is still somewhat likable. Charlotte is heiress to a very large fortune (hence the title) and is constantly courted by opportunists. She is plain and clever, and is falling in love with Bay. Bay is courting Charlotte, and bedding Sisi at the same time.
The story was very interesting, it held my attention well and was a quick read despite the length. Knowing that is based on actual events made me want to read more about the characters. As a horse lover, I especially enjoyed the horse scenes, particularly the Grand National steeplechase at the end, with Bay racing on his 15 hand mare Tipsy.
However, none of the main characters were truly likable. Sisi and Bay were sorta likable in spite of their flaws—Sisi is arrogant, conceited, spoiled. Bay is kind of a bad guy for courting an innocent young girl while having an affair (although to be fair it's probably difficult to turn down an Empress no matter what your feelings are), and he seems also sort of spoiled and arrogant. Charlotte unfortunately seems a very simplistic character who has no depth to her and you never know enough about her to like her. There were some other minor characters who were great—Charlotte's friend Caspar from America was wonderful! Also Charlotte's brother Fred and his fiance were not likable but were fun to hate as the “bad guys”.
I was intrigued enough to read more about Bay Middleton and about Sisi, so the book did inspire that. However it kind of fizzled out at the end and didn't really resolve everything, and I wasn't sure that I agreed with the decisions that the characters made.
Overall a decent read, that made me want to learn more.
"The Fortune Hunter" is based loosely on some events in history (but I did not know that until the afterward in the book). The story is a fascinating peek into British society, where no one says what they really mean or means what they say! The requirements of what is considered proper behavior are staggering!
Charlotte Baird is an orphaned heiress who is attracting attention for her fortune. She is described as not being a great beauty, but she is bright and accomplished in photography. She is attracted to Captain Bay Middleton. And though he is also attracted to her, he has a much-earned reputation for womanizing. Can she trust his intentions?
Enter Elizabeth (the Empress of Austria) who is visiting England for some fox-hunting. Bay is "assigned" to be her guide (pilot) in the fox hunting, and possibly so much more. As royalty, she is accustomed to getting her way in ALL things.
I wasn't able to truly decide if I wanted things to work out between Bay and Charlotte or not. I wanted Charlotte to be happy, and was rooting for her, but could not decide if Bay was the man for her or not.
This is a long novel and I was up WAY too late for two nights to finish it. Sooooooo worth missing some sleep. The ending is charming, but I would love a sequel to see what happened next.
If you liked "Upstairs Downstairs" or "Downton Abbey" you will relish this book! My only regret is that the author takes years between books. I'm ready for her next book!!!
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