This is the third book in the last few months that I wish never ended. The other two were by Ann Patchett. The difference is that Isabel Allende’s, “Daughter Of Fortune,” has a sequel that I have already ordered.

“Daughter Of Fortune,” is top heavy with fantastic characters and as anyone who knows me knows, I am a firm believer that characters are what drive a story, and there are many stories in this amazing book, each driven by unforgettable characters.

It takes place on three continents, Europe, North and South America, but the bulk of the book takes place in northern Ca. before, during, and after the gold rush and Ms. Allende’s portrayal of the American west of the 1850’s is a disturbing, but truthful, rendition of how it really was back then just after America took control of California, Az., Oregon, and Texas from Mexico and from the indigenous Indians. The bigotry and racism against Mexicans, Hispanics in general, the Indians, Chinese, and anyone not completely ‘white’ is appalling and a disturbing look into present day America.

The heroine of this story is Eliza Sommers, an orphan baby left in the garden of the Sommers’ estate, and raised as a rich and guarded child in the British colony of Valparaiso, Chile. She meets and falls in love with Joaquin Andieta, a lower class clerk who by the social standards of the country is not suitable for Eliza.

Joaquin, with the promise of coming back, sails to California in search of gold and without him knowing it leaves behind a pregnant Eliza. Eliza, after a few months, leaves behind everything and sails to California as a stowaway in search of her first love.

It is during her search that the sixteen year old Eliza, who has a miscarriage on the ship, transforms herself from a beautiful, privilege, child in Chile into a person of unbelievable courage, intelligence, and compassion and it is mainly through her eyes that all the other stories are told.

This is a great novel!!!!!!! And Eliza is a character for the ages!!!!

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