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The Fortune Hunter Bets On...

The Fortune Hunter

August 2014

I was a huge fan of THE AMERICAN HEIRESS by Daisy Goodwin, a previous Bets On selection, so when I saw THE FORTUNE HUNTER was coming out, I eagerly read an early copy last winter. I closed it and knew it would be another Bets On pick. Daisy has a knack for weaving  period historical details into a book while not dragging down the storyline with them. I confess that on first reading, until I got to the last page and the Author’s Note, I had no idea that the character of Sisi was based on the actual Empress of Austria and not just a fictitious one. The story worked even when I thought she was the conception of Daisy’s imagination. Bay and Charlotte’s relationship was documented historically as well, but Daisy is clear that she took some rein in telling the story.

Here, the historical details get layered with romance as horseman Bay Middleton, just finished with an affair with a married woman, is casting his eye between Sisi and Charlotte Baird, who is a strong woman in her own right. Charlotte with her camera in hand taking photos is something very uncommon of women of the day. Her looks pale beside Sisi, but her spunk and willingness to fight the norms of the day enhance her character.

The fox hunting scenes portray the one place where men and women could find themselves on equal ground in 1875. While still moored in the rigors of tradition, men and women could gallop together and compete.

To be noted, the lengths that Sisi goes to keep her beauty as she ages shows the vainness that can surround a woman of a certain age whose ticket in the world was her looks. It’s a terrific summer read, one that those who love period shows like “Downton Abbey” will eat up. And there’s a lot to “gossip about” in it afterwards.

The Fortune Hunter
by Daisy Goodwin

  • Publication Date: March 31, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 1250043905
  • ISBN-13: 9781250043900