Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Review: The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

Pages: 480
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: July 29, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies. Beautiful, athletic and intelligent, Sisi has everything - except happiness. Bored with the stultifying etiquette of the Hapsburg Court and her dutiful but unexciting husband, Franz Joseph, Sisi comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton, the only man in Europe who can outride her. Ten years younger than her and engaged to the rich and devoted Charlotte, Bay has everything to lose by falling for a woman who can never be his. But Bay and the Empress are as reckless as each other, and their mutual attraction is a force that cannot be denied. Full of passion and drama, THE FORTUNE HUNTER tells the true story of a nineteenth century Queen of Hearts and a cavalry captain, and the struggle between love and duty."
Charlotte Baird is an heiress to the Lennox fortune due to the untimely death of her mother.  Her brother, Fred, and his bossy fiancé act as her mother figure trying to control every aspect of her life.  Fred and his fiancé, Augusta, say they want the best for her, including a suitable match, but they never really take her feelings into consideration.  Charlotte isn't exactly a normal girl for the late 1800s. She enjoys photography and would rather spend time developing her pictures than gossiping with other women or discussing fashion.  Enter Bay Middleton, a horseman, who has come to their house for the hunting season and is a friend of Fred's.  They hit it off right away and she hopes romance will ensue.  But there's one problem.  Fred and Augusta, of course, feel Charlotte can do better than Bay; plus, there's the arrival of Sisi, the Empress of Austria.  An avid horsewoman herself, Sisi has come for the hunting season as well and asks Bay to be her "pilot" guiding her during the English hunts. The Empress is supposed to be "the most beautiful woman in the world" and she now has her sights set on Bay. Daisy Goodwin's The Fortune Hunter is an interesting glimpse into the Victorian time period and the issues that arise surrounding following your heart versus following society's expectations.  

Charlotte reminded me a bit of a Jane Austen heroine in The Fortune Hunter. She's smart, interested in an unconventional hobby and tends to speak her mind.  Her brother and his fiancé try to control her, but ultimately, she lives her life the way she wants to; after all, she is the heiress to the Lennox fortune, not Fred.  Once she meets Bay Middleton (a distant relation to Kate!), she is smitten and their romance gets serious quickly.  Bay has a reputation for being a bit of a playboy, so in the back of my mind, I was wondering if he really loved her or loved her fortune.  Time will surely tell. 


My confidence in Bay slips a bit when he meets the beautiful and powerful Empress of Austria in The Fortune Hunter.  At first their relationship is strictly all about hunting and horses, but an unlikely friendship ensues.  Of course, who can resist the "most beautiful woman in the world?" Plus, she is stuck in an unhappy marriage and tends to seek solace elsewhere.  Bay, the only English horseman who can keep up with her on horseback, impresses her greatly and readers can imagine what happens next.  But what about Charlotte, whom Bay just professed his love and devotion to? I kept wondering if they will ever get their chance.  


Although The Fortune Hunter wasn't as good as The American Heiress, I still felt that Goodwin's writing was beautiful.  The pacing was off a bit and slow at times, but I was still entertained.  It reminded me a bit of a Victorian novel regarding the details surrounding decorum, etiquette, as well as expectations.  There were balls, dinners, hunting trips, etc, everything you would expect from the time period, even cameos from Queen Victoria herself!





10 comments:

  1. I really like the sound of the main character, but I can't say I have good thoughts about the horseman. I would be a little annoyed with him, I think. I do like that the MC has unconventional hobbies and since you described her as an Austen heroine, I think I would like her.
    Great review, Christina!

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    1. She is definitely an Austen heroine and I liked her from the start. Bay took awhile to grown on me though. Thanks for dropping by, Nick!

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  2. Charlotte sounds like a great character - any character who speaks her mind is fine by me!

    Not too sure about the romance angle...although it is interesting that it seems to be two women vying for one man, instead of the other way around.

    Nice review! I keep meaning to check out Goodwin's first book, everyone always seems to like it!

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    1. I know, right?! The romance was a bit on the annoying side, because I didn't like Bay's womanizing ways, but you should definitely check out her first book,The American Heiress….one of my favorite historical reads. Thanks for visiting, Lea!

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  3. Pacing is a must for me, so the fact that this lacks consistency throughout is a bit worrisome. However, I love the sound of the author's writing style. I could be convinced to read it based on that alone. Great review!

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    1. The author's writing style is pretty fantastic! Thanks for visiting, Melissa!

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  4. My love of Victorian England was destroyed by a Victorian English class in college. Just thinking about it makes me break out in hives. While this sounds interesting, especially the main character, I don't think this one is my cuppa. I'm glad you enjoyed it, for the moment st part. Great review!

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    1. Haha. I hear you! You have to enjoy the time period to really appreciate this book. Thanks for visiting, Natalie!

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  5. I think I would like reading about Charlotte but would hate Bay and Sisi. I still haven't read The American Heiress but I am glad you enjoyed this one even with the uneven pacing.

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    1. Yeah, Bay and Sisi were extremely irritating. I think The American Heiress is a bit better and I think you would like that one, Christina! Thanks for visiting!

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