May 07, 2010

english 101 #4: daughter of fortune

  • About the author EB

Welcome to the fourth edition of English 101: The Harper Perennial Modern Classics Book Club. Today I’d like to talk about Isabel Allende’s Daughter of Fortune.



I first picked up this book on Saturday afternoon. My boyfriend was at the other end of his apartment, watching Mad Men, and I was in his kitchen. I knew absolutely nothing about this book. Nothing. When Kayleigh added it to our list, I was excited because I’d read Allende before, many many years ago, and liked her work, but that was as far as my awareness went. Upon reading the flap copy, I shouted down the apartment, “oh no! This takes place in 1849!”

Yes, I admit it, I do not generally like historical fiction (though what I like even less than historical fiction is fiction written in 1849, but that’s for another post.) But I grumbled and settled in with the book, and I am so, SO glad I did. Daughter of Fortune is an amazing book, beautifully written. I am still thinking about Eliza and Tao’chien days after I finished.

The story of a young woman’s life, from her abandonment as a child on the doorstep of a wealthy woman and her brother to her love for a rumored revolutionary amid the California gold rush, Daughter of Fortune completely transcended my wariness of historical fiction.

If you read Daughter of Fortune, what did you think of it? And what genre would you be hesitant to pick up?

(more info on next month’s pick on monday!)