The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I have given this novel 5 stars, not because it is destined to be a classic or because it is a masterpiece of writing but rather because it possesses everything a good novel needs to completely draw its reader in. Likable, sympathetic characters, action, romance and a really great original story. I read this book while vacationing, I couldn't put it down, leaving my husband to hike on his own while I holed up by a warm fire and immersed myself in this fantastic story.
The characters and many of the events in this novel are factual, however, there time line has been adjusted to fit the novel. Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (Sisi) did have hair to her ankles, was known to be very vain and concerned about aging, packing raw veal on her face to prevent wrinkles and avoiding photographs. Often compared to Princess Diana, Sisi had reluctantly married into royalty and hated the trappings of being a royal figure. She was know to have several extramarital affairs, have periods of depression and to be one of the best horse women in Europe.
Captain Bay Middleton was also one of the best horseman, having won several prestigious steeplechases including the Grand National, and was selected by Earl Spencer to pilot SIsi when she came in England to hunt in 1875. He too had a reputation for seeing married women and he did eventually marry Charlotte Baird.
This novel is primarily focused on Charlotte and her relationships with Middleton, her family, and SIsi's effect on her relationship with Middleton. Charlotte is a very likable, unique characters, avoiding all things women in her position should have embraced, instead becoming an accomplished photographer (a fictional hobby) while navigating life with her future sister-in-law and her complicated relationship with Middleton. The sole heir of the Lennox fortune, Charlotte must be careful to avoid fortune hunters, looking to marry only for her money. Captain Middleton's reputation and rumored relationship with Sisi have everyone concerned about his intentions with Charlotte, but despite his past and caddish behavior he is very charming and despite everything that happens you find yourself pulling for Charlotte and him.
I recommend this book for anyone looking for a great summer vacation read, lovers of English history and anyone looking for a great story. This is a highly entertaining novel.
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