tag: classicsdaughter of fortuneenglish 101isabel allendeisland beneath the sea

April 2010

english 101: next month’s pick

News alert: we are switching around the order of the picks for english 101: the harper perennial modern classics book club due to circumstances beyond our control. So, April’s pick will be . . .

DAUGHTER OF FORTUNE by Isabel Allende

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An orphan raised in Valparaiso, Chile, by a Victorian spinster and her rigid brother, vivacious young Eliza Sommers follows her lover to California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Entering a rough-and-tumble world of new arrivals driven mad by gold fever, Eliza moves in a society of single men and prostitutes with the help of her good friend and savior, the Chinese doctor Tao Chi’en. California opens the door to a new life of freedom and independence to the young Chilean, and her search for her elusive lover gradually turns into another kind of journey. By the time she finally hears news of him, Eliza must decide who her true love really is.

The timing works out perfectly, since our friends at Harper will be releasing Isabel Allende’s newest hardcover, Island Beneath the Sea, on April 27.

I’ve got five copies of Daughter of Fortune to give away! To win, just tell me why you want to read it. (“Because it’s free” is a totally acceptable response.) Go!

May 2010

english 101 #4: daughter of fortune

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.

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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!)

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