Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

Title: The Fortune Hunter
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Source: Amazon Vine
Genre: Historical Fiction - Victorian
Length: Novel
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Rating - 4
Sexual - 1

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.
The Fortune Hunter introduced a few historical characters that I was not too familiar with, Sisi (the Empress of Austria) especially.  Sisi is known as the most beautiful woman in Europe, but she is miserable and lonely - which leads her to come to England to enjoy the hunting season.  Sisi was quite the fascinating figure - at the same time very observant of protocol and traditions, but shunning them at the same time.  She was obsessed with her looks and insisted on keeping people close that would ensure she had her way.  This may sound like quite an unpleasant person, but when she was happy - the world seemed happy.  Everyone around her would share in it.

Charlotte and Bay are our other two main characters.  Charlotte is the heiress to quite the fortune has several hunters out for her hand in marriage because of it.  She is an avid photographer, and from the description and reactions in the book, she was quite skilled in the art as well.  She, too, was an interesting contrast in characteristics, being both naive and world-wise at the same time.

Her favored suitor Bay causes all sorts of trouble by catching the eye of the Empress.  The Empress insists that he attend her at all times, and this drives a significant wedge between him and Charlotte.  This wedge was something he would have to work quite hard at pulling out and regaining her trust and affection.

I loved how Daisy Goodwin made her characters so life like.  The nobles were quite full of themselves and their traditions and rules, while everyone else was tasked with making their lives easier.  That was just the way of the world and you could really feel that on every page.  There is a very strong romance that flows through the story, but it is not all happy endings for our three main characters.  Having said that, the ending was very climatic and beautifully written.  I was sure quite a few times that the worst was going to happen, but it realistically (yet miraculously) turned around and did something quite unexpected.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

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