Cover image for Daughter of fortune : a novel
Title:
Daughter of fortune : a novel
Author:
Allende, Isabel.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Hija de fortuna. English
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, 1999.
Physical Description:
399 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden."
Language:
English
Reading Level:
1250 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.8 24.0 35657.

Reading Counts RC High School 9 28 Quiz: 24221 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780060194918
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Central Library
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valpara#65533;so, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaqu#65533;n Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaqu#65533;n takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.

So begins Isabel Allende's enchanting new novel, Daughter of Fortune, her most ambitious work of fiction yet. As we follow her spirited heroine on a perilous journey north in the hold of a ship to the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco and northern California, we enter a world whose newly arrived inhabitants are driven mad by gold fever. A society of single men and prostitutes among whom Eliza moves--with the help of her good friend and savior, the Chinese doctor Tao Chien--California opens the door to a new life of freedom and independence for the young Chilean. Her search for the elusive Joaqu#65533;n gradually turns into another kind of journey that transforms her over time, and what began as a search for love ends up as the conquest of personal freedom. By the time she finally hears news of him, Eliza must decide who her true love really is.

Daughter of Fortune is a sweeping portrait of an era, a story rich in character, history, violence, and compassion. In Eliza, Allende has created one of her most appealing heroines, an adventurous, independent-minded, and highly unconventional young woman who has the courage to reinvent herself and to create her own destiny in a new country. A marvel of storytelling, Daughter of Fortune confirms once again Isabel Allende's extraordinary gift for fiction and her place as one of the world's leading writers.


Author Notes

Isabel Allende was born in 1942 in Lima, Peru, the daughter of a Chilean diplomat. When her parents separated, young Isabel moved with her mother to Chile, where she spent the rest of her childhood. She married at the age of 19 and had two children, Paula and Nicolas. Her uncle was Salvador Allende, the president of Chile. When he was overthrown in the coup of 1973, she fled Chile, moving to Caracas, Venezuela.

While living in Venezuela, Allende began writing her novels, many of them exploring the close family bonds between women. Her first novel, The House of the Spirits, has been translated into 27 languages, and was later made into a film. She then wrote Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, and The Stories of Eva Luna, all set in Latin America. The Infinite Plan was her first novel to take place in the United States. She explores the issues of human rights and the plight of immigrants and refugees in her novel, In The Midst of Winter. In Paula, Allende wrote her memoirs in connection with her daughter's illness and death. She delved into the erotic connections between food and love in Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses.

In addition to writing books, Allende has worked as a TV interviewer, magazine writer, school administrator, and a secretary at a U.N. office in Chile. She received the 1996 Harold Washington Literacy Award. She lives in California. Her title Maya's Notebook made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2013.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The latest novel by one of the most internationally appreciated writers draws on two of the environments about which Allende knows much: Chile, her native land, and California, where she currently resides. Allende proves she has learned history well and that she knows characters instinctively as she reaches back into both Chile's and California's past to construct a story of family conflict, romantic love, and true adventure, all these threads spun into a fine, even beautiful, narrative of admirable force. Her tale begins in an intriguing milieu: that of the British colony in the Chilean city of Valparaiso (for which, of course, Allende has a wonderful feel) at the middle of the nineteenth century. A year and a half after Rose and Jeremy Sommers, sister and brother (the latter in the import-export business), arrived at the Chilean port city, they took in an orphan left at their doorstep; and little Eliza is raised with privilege, with the hopes of her making a smart marriage. But, as one might have predicted, Eliza falls for a young man much lower on the social scale than she; and when he goes popping off to California to partake of the gold rush there, Eliza, left pregnant, decides to steal away to follow him. En route she meets her soulmate, a Chinese herbalist called Tao Chi'en; and learning from both his and her own experiences in the California goldfields, Eliza grows up quickly, gaining an incredible reserve of strength and character. --Brad Hooper


Publisher's Weekly Review

Allende expands her geographical boundaries in this sprawling, engrossing historical novel flavored by four culturesÄEnglish, Chilean, Chinese and AmericanÄand set during the 1849 California Gold Rush. The alluring tale begins in Valpara¡so, Chile, with young Eliza Sommers, who was left as a baby on the doorstep of wealthy British importers Miss Rose Sommers and her prim brother, Jeremy. Now a 16-year-old, and newly pregnant, Eliza decides to follow her lover, fiery clerk Joaqu¡n Andieta, when he leaves for California to make his fortune in the gold rush. Enlisting the unlikely aid of Tao Chi'en, a Chinese shipboard cook, she stows away on a ship bound for San Francisco. Tao Chi'en's own storyÄrichly textured and expansively toldÄbegins when he is born into a peasant family and sold into slavery, where it is his good fortune to be trained as a master of acupuncture. Years later, while tending to a sailor in colonial Hong Kong, he is shanghaied and forced into service at sea. During the voyage with Eliza, Tao nurses her through a miscarriage. When they disembark, Eliza is disguised as a boy, and she spends the next four years in male attire so she may travel freely and safely. Eliza's search for Joaqu¡n (rumored to have become an outlaw) is disappointing, but through an eye-opening stint as a pianist in a traveling brothel and through her charged friendship with Tao, now a sought-after healer and champion of enslaved Chinese prostitutes, Eliza finds freedom, fulfillment and maturity. Effortlessly weaving in historical background, Allende (House of the Spirits; Paula) evokes in pungent prose the great melting pot of early California and the colorful societies of Valpara¡so and Canton. A gallery of secondary characters, developed early on, prove pivotal to the plot. In a book of this scope, the narrative is inevitably top-heavy in spots, and the plot wears thin toward the end, but this is storytelling at its most seductive, a brash historical adventure. Major ad/promo; BOMC dual main selection; 11-city author tour. (Oct.) FYI: This book will also be released in a HarperLibros Spanish edition, Hija del la Fortuna (ISBN 0-06-019492-8). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

This blockbuster of a historical novel by Chilean writer Allende (House ofSpirits) captures the adventure of 19th-century Chile and California while presenting colorful and energetic characters. In Valparaiso, Chile, an English colony, siblings Rose and Jeremy Sommers adopt Eliza, an orphan left at their door. They hope to raise her to be a marriageable, upper-class English lady, but at 16 she falls in love with a destitute, would-be revolutionary who, after getting Eliza pregnant, leaves for California to search for gold. The headstrong Eliza follows him, miscarries, and meets Tao Chi'en, a Chinese physician who nurses her back to health. In America, Eliza spends years searching for her lover, at times disguised as a man, supporting herself with odd jobs, including as a piano player in a traveling brothel. Allende has woven a colorful, complex story around family conflict, romantic love, and history. A number of minor players flesh out the narrative. Blair Brown reads with clarity and warmth, even if a little understated for some of the more flamboyant characters. Recommended for all libraries.--Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Daughter of Fortune A Novel Chapter One Eliza Everyone is born with some special talent, and Eliza Sommers discovered early on that she had two: a good sense of smell and a good memory. She used the first to earn a living and the second to recall her life -- if not in precise detail, at least with an astrologer's poetic vagueness. The things we forget may as well never have happened, but she had many memories, both real and illusory, and that was like living twice. She used to tell her faithful friend, the sage Tao Chi'en, that her memory was like the hold of the ship where they had come to know one another: vast and somber, bursting with boxes, barrels, and sacks in which all the events of her life were jammed. Awake it was difficult to find anything in that chaotic clutter, but asleep she could, just as Mama Fresia had taught her in the gentle nights of her childhood, when the contours of reality were as faint as a tracery of pale ink. She entered the place of her dreams along a much traveled path and returned treading very carefully in order not to shatter the tenuous visions against the harsh light of consciousness. She put as much store in that process as others put in numbers, and she so refined the art of remembering that she could see Miss Rose bent over the crate of Marseilles soap that was her first cradle. "You cannot possibly remember that, Eliza. Newborns are like cats, they have no emotions and no memory," Miss Rose insisted the few times the subject arose. Possible or not, that woman peering down at her, her topaz-colored dress, the loose strands from her bun stirring in the breeze were engraved in Eliza's mind, and she could never accept the other explanation of her origins. "You have English blood, like us," Miss Rose assured Eliza when she was old enough to understand. "Only someone from the British colony would have thought to leave you in a basket on the doorstep of the British Import and Export Company, Limited. I am sure they knew how good-hearted my brother Jeremy is, and felt sure he would take you in. In those days I was longing to have a child, and you fell into my arms, sent by God to be brought up in the solid principles of the Protestant faith and the English language." "You, English? Don't get any ideas, child. You have Indian hair, like mine," Mama Fresia rebutted behind her patrona's back. But Eliza's birth was a forbidden subject in that house, and the child grew accustomed to the mystery. It, along with other delicate matters, was never mentioned between Rose and Jeremy Sommers, but it was aired in whispers in the kitchen with Mama Fresia, who never wavered in her description of the soap crate, while Miss Rose's version was, with the years, embroidered into a fairy tale. According to her, the basket they had found at the office door was woven of the finest wicker and lined in batiste; Eliza's nightgown was worked with French knots and the sheets edged with Brussels lace, and topping everything was a mink coverlet, an extravagance never seen in Chile. Over time, other details were added: six gold coins tied up in a silk handkerchief and a note in English explaining that the baby, though illegitimate, was of good stock -- although Eliza never set eyes on any of that. The mink, the coins, and the note conveniently disappeared, erasing any trace of her birth. Closer to Eliza's memories was Mama Fresia's explanation: when she opened the door one morning at the end of summer, she had found a naked baby girl in a crate. "No mink coverlet, no gold coins. I was there and I remember very well. You were shivering and bundled up in a man's sweater. They hadn't even put a diaper on you, and you were covered with your own caca. Your nose was running and you were red as a boiled lobster, with a head full of fuzz like corn silk. That's how it was. Don't get any ideas," she repeated stoutly. "You weren't born to be a princess and if your hair had been as black as it is now, Miss Rose and her brother would have tossed the crate in the trash." At least everyone agreed that the baby came into their lives on March 15, 1832, a year and a half after the Sommers arrived in Chile, and they adopted that date as her birthday. Everything else was always a tangle of contradictions, and Eliza decided finally that it wasn't worth the effort to keep going over it, because whatever the truth was, she could do nothing to change it. What matters is what you do in this world, not how you come into it, she used to say to Tao Chi'en during the many years of their splendid friendship; he, however, did not agree. It was impossible for him to imagine his own life apart from the long chain of his ancestors, who not only had given him his physical and mental characteristics but bequeathed him his karma. His fate, he believed, had been determined by the acts of his family before him, which was why he had to honor them with daily prayers and fear them when they appeared in their spectral robes to claim their due. Tao Chi'en could recite the names of all his ancestors, back to the most remote and venerable great-great-grandparents dead now for more than a century. His primary concern during the gold madness was to go home in time to die in his village in China and be buried beside his ancestors; if not, his soul would forever wander aimlessly in a foreign land. Eliza, naturally, was drawn to the story of the exquisite basket -- no... Daughter of Fortune A Novel . Copyright © by Isabel Allende. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Daughter of Fortune: A Novel by Isabel Allende All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Part 1 1843-1848
Elizap. 3
The Englishp. 22
Senoritasp. 43
A Ruined Reputationp. 58
Suitorsp. 71
Miss Rosep. 85
Lovep. 100
Part 2 1848-1849
The Newsp. 119
The Farewellp. 139
Fourth Sonp. 153
Tao Chi'enp. 170
The Voyagep. 199
The Argonautsp. 222
The Secretp. 247
Part 3 1850-1853
El Doradop. 269
Business Dealingsp. 287
Soiled Dovesp. 300
Disillusionp. 315
Singsong Girlsp. 337
Joaquinp. 355
An Unusual Pairp. 367