Book Review: The Fortune Hunter

July 31, 2014 Book Review, reviews 7

Book Review: The Fortune HunterThe Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 29th, 2014
Genres: chick-lit, Fiction, Historical
Pages: 480
Source: Giveaway Win


Recently our book club read The Fortune Hunter {thanks to a giveaway from Reading Group Guides}.   With a cast of characters to rival that of Downton Abbey, The Fortune Hunter wove in and out of the lives of bluestocking heiress Charlotte Baird, her ‘suspected’ fortune hunting beau, Bay Middleton, and Empress of Vienna, Elizabeth of Austria {known as Sisi throughout Europe}.  In 1875 Sisi visits England to escape stuffy Vienna and to pursue her passion of riding.  Bay Middleton is ordered to be her guide through the trails for the fox hunting events.  Bay has his eye set on Charlotte while Charlotte’s brother has plans for her betrothal that do not include Bay Middleton.  Ack, confusing I know, yet quite intriguing, yes?

Welllll, I really wanted to love The Fortune Hunter and I really wanted my book club to love it as well. . .especially since I entered us into the drawing!  Unfortunately neither happened.

Empress Elizabeth of Austria

Empress Elizabeth of Austria

What I thought would be a historical novel filled with intrigue and fact ended up not being a book I would normally read.  Y’all know I have a weakness for Downton Abbey and all things late 19th/early 20th century European history.  While The Fortune Hunter is set in the 1870s and there is a huge cast of characters, so many that I could not keep them all straight, this novel came across [to me] as more of a romance than historical literary fiction.  Romance certainly has its place but it is not a genre that I particularly enjoy.

While my book club felt pretty much the same as me we did enjoy discussing Sisi and her beauty regimen.  Sleeping with her hair tied up to the ceiling and the variety of things Sisi would do and use to maintain her beauty were jaw-dropping to say the least.  She is certainly beautiful and, while I like having long hair, there’s no way I could handle having that much hair!

It was fascinating to read about the monotony that women of means dealt with because they were not deemed smart enough, strong enough, ____ enough to have hobbies and interests.  Goodwin gives Charlotte Baird an interest in photography that puts her in the crosshairs of several of the characters.  A good bit of humor was interspersed by Charlotte reimagining her photography subjects as different animals.  From the first line of the novel “Was Queen Victoria a kitten or a codfish. . .”  I have to admit, I’ve played that game myself, although not by actually altering photos to reflect my imagination!

If you like a bit of romance with your European aristocrats then you will probably enjoy The Fortune Hunter.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Connect with author Daisy Goodwin.  Website | Facebook | Twitter

Reading Group Guide is Available Here.

Listen to a clip of the audio version.

curious – which cover do you prefer – the UK version on the left or US version on the right?


7 Responses to “Book Review: The Fortune Hunter”

  1. Rissi

    Aw, this one does sound interesting – and like you, I have a HUGE weakness for ‘Downton Abbey’ – because of that, maybe I’ll look into this one. Thanks for the honest, thoughtful review, Stacy – sorry this one wasn’t your thing. That’s always a disappointment.

    Have you read the books about the “real” Downton Abbey? My aunt has and she cannot rave enough about them. 🙂
    Rissi recently posted…The Musketeers (2014)My Profile

  2. Elizabeth

    I too was quite disappointed in this book.

    There was too much high brow stuff and the fox hunts and trying to find the perfect husband wasn’t my cup of tea. 🙂

    Fantastic review and post.

    Have a great day.

    Elizabeth recently posted…Mailbox Monday – 8/11/14My Profile

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