Source: Giveaway Win

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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
Amazon
Goodreads

 

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?

thefortunehunter

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Book Review: Lost Lake

May 7, 2014 Book Review, reviews 8

Book Review: Lost LakeLost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 21, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism
Pages: 296
Source: Giveaway Win
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

 

Sarah Addison Allen can take a situation that seems coincidental and turn it into a thing of magic.   That saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” applies to all of Allen’s novels.

When your cup is empty, you do not mourn what is gone.  Because if you do, you will miss the opportunity to fill it again. 

Kate has been in mourning for a year after losing her husband to a tragic bicycle accident.  While Kate has been in a fog, Her mother-in-law Cricket, a force to be reckoned with, has stepped in to help Kate by arranging the sale of her home, the bicycle shop, and the care of 8 year old Devon.

On the day Kate and Devin are to move into Cricket’s home in a ritzy neighborhood of Atlanta, Devon finds a postcard from Kate’s aunt welcoming her back to Lost Lake campground anytime.  On a whim, Kate & Devon drive to south Georgia in search of  Lost Lake and Kate’s Aunt Eby.  Weaving in and out of Eby and Kate’s story we learn how Lost Lake came to be such an integral piece in so many lives, from Jack, the introverted podiatrist who has visited for 30 years to Bulahdeen, the English Literature professor from “the end of the world” {also known as the wrong side of the tracks} to Lisette, the Frenchwoman who followed Eby and her husband from Europe to the humid heat of south Georgia and to Eby herself, with her calm reassuring ways and superbig heart.  Allen’s characters have such life breathed into them it’s as though I’ve known them all my life.

You can’t change where you come from, but you can change where you go from here. Just like a book. If you don’t like the ending, you can make up a new one.

It is the gentle method in which we learn the back stories of each character that Allen truly shines.  Allen is truly adept at revealing the plot layer at a time.   The magic-infused stories are filled with such hope and love and light, I always feel good about the world after reading one of her novels.  She seems to really “get” the slow easy way of life in the mountains and the uniqueness of an individual.  Highly recommended for anyone who likes a feel-good story and/or Southern Fiction.

Connect with Sarah Addison Allen | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Free prequel to Lost Lake available as an ebook ~ Waking Kate

Many thanks to She Reads for the giveaway!

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