Empress Elizabeth of Austria, known as Sisi, is the Princess Diana of nineteenth-century Europe. Famously beautiful, as captured in a portrait with diamond stars in her hair, she is unfulfilled in her marriage to the older Emperor Franz Joseph. Sisi has spent years evading the stifling formality of royal life on her private train or yacht or, whenever she can, on the back of a horse.
Captain Bay Middleton is dashing, young, and the finest horseman in England. He is also impoverished, with no hope of buying the horse needed to win the Grand National—until he meets Charlotte Baird. A clever, plainspoken heiress whose money gives her a choice among suitors, Charlotte falls in love with Bay, the first man to really notice her, for his vulnerability as well as his glamour. When Sisi joins the legendary hunt organized by Earl Spencer in England, Bay is asked to guide her on the treacherous course. Their shared passion for riding leads to an infatuation that jeopardizes the growing bond between Bay and Charlotte, and threatens all of their futures.
The Fortune Hunter, a brilliant new novel by Daisy Goodwin, is a lush, irresistible story of the public lives and private longings of grand historical figures.
Goodwin's second novel (after The American Heiress) travels the difficult protocols of Victorian-era fox hunting, as well as the even more complicated protocols of love and marriage in the era, especially for an intelligent young woman with a fortune. England, 1875: Charlotte Baird is the eligible heiress to "the Lennox Fortune." Her lovely, reckless mother was her father's second wife, and she died young in a hunting accident, leaving her fortune to Charlotte. Charlotte's brother, Fred, is engaged to Augusta Crewe, an ambitious woman from a good family who'd rather settle for Fred than stay unmarried (and she covets the Lennox diamonds). Charlotte is more interested in photography especially composing unusual portraits and developing the plates and prints herself. When Bay Middleton, an expert horseman and friend of Fred, arrives for hunting season at Melton, Augusta's family home, he and Charlotte form an unlikely alliance that turns into love. Fred and Augusta believe Charlotte can do better. Further confusing matters is the arrival of the Empress of Austria, who comes to a nearby estate and appoints Bay as her "pilot" for the hunts; she later decides that Bay can provide her happiness beyond horseback. Charlotte and Bay are faced with listening to their hearts, or falling victim to the machinations and customs surrounding them. Goodwin manages to take the reader deep inside the characters' longings and flaws in a way that makes the reader root for them. An enchanting, beautifully written page-turner. First printing of 150,000 copies.
Customer ReviewsSee All
At times the book seemed a bit contrived. The intrigue held my attention. Glad it had a happy ending.
This book was engaging but was a bit predictable and completely fizzled at the end.
The Fortune Hunter
This was a joy to read ... A very engaging story set in an historic period of immense interest to us modern day readers ... Maybe it was because I just returned from a Danube River Cruise through parts of Austria and Hungary and had learned of Sisi and passed by Godollfo .. As a big fan of historic fiction, I gave this read 4 stars!