A beautiful empress, a handsome horseman, and a bluestocking heiress form a passionate love triangle in this historical novel from the New York Times
bestselling author of The American Heiress
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 threatens the growing bond between Bay and Charlotte, and all of their futures.
This brilliant new novel by Daisy Goodwin is a lush, irresistible story of the public lives and private longings of grand historical figures.
Published in hardcover in 2014. In paperback March 2015.
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You can see the full discussion here. This discussion will contain spoilers!
Some of the recent comments posted about The Fortune Hunter:
Daisy Goodwin has said Sisi reminds her of Princess Diana. Do you see parallels?
I agree with Bettyt and I think the author did a wonderful job developing Sisi. - Lindsay
I find it interesting that advice columns are still printed in newspapers to answer the public's queries about how to handle situations. Some are very good - there is even a Miss Manners column in some papers. Maybe everyone should be given a copy of... - andreab
How do Queen Victoria and Sisi reflect the privileges and/or burdens of royalty? Do you think today's "royalty" (i.e., celebrities) have similar privileges and/or burdens?
Most of today's royalty appear to be tourist attractions, emblems of a long-ago empire without being "the ruling classes". They have tremendous privileges and trappings of wealth paired with obligations to make stirring, inspiring public appearances ... - lindah
How do you feel about the ending?
I suppose I did hope that Charlotte would end up with Bay. She wanted him, and he seemed to really want her back. As for long term happiness? I doubt it. But, who knows? Some of the most promising relationships seem to go bad, and some of the "least... - jeann
In what ways do you see Sisi's position as enviable or otherwise?
I cannot imagine being scrutinized and criticized like Sisi was. But it seemed like she was her own worst critic. She so feared the loss of her beauty that she felt compelled to go to the extreme lengths that she did to try to hold onto her looks. ... - jeann
"I want to highly recommend that you settle in for a whopping good time... especially if you are one of the thousands of English-speaking fanatics and fans of Downton Abbey, those who love reading about the royals, who were once the be-all and end-all of British 'civilization.' I should add that Goodwin can really write and write about that subject most others fail romantic love, betrayal, jealousy and manners under the reign of Queen Victoria. This author has been compared by experts to Edith Wharton, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen with a dash of People magazine. So you won't be bored. The emphasis on the Victorian rules for female behavior have seldom been delineated better.
This is a triangle story of the woman who at 16 became the Empress of Austria, Sisi, termed the most beautiful person in Europe and of an all-too-dashing cavalry captain who is poor but appealing. And, a unique British heiress bent on bending the rules. I just loved it. The backdrop of true history is there, certifying all the enlightened romance, confusion and drama of an English period of "manners" and change into a modern world."
- New York Social Diary, Liz Smith (Full review including photos)
"Starred Review. Although readers who enjoyed The American Heiress will be first in line to savor Goodwin's new novel, they will be followed quickly by others who appreciate engaging and thoughtful historical fiction." - Library Journal
"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." - Publishers Weekly
"Goodwin's second novel is a luxurious indulgence for romantically inclined readers....Mingling historical fact with imaginative fiction, Goodwin writes with effortless grace, and her dialogue's subtle wit is delightful." - Booklist
"Goodwin has hit on a winning formula - a sophisticated blend of money, class, history, misunderstandings among lovers, spirited women, and unpredictable but irresistible men - and is sticking with it." - Kirkus
"A sumptuous, scrumptious confection, with country houses, Austrian Empresses and Victorian glamour galore." - Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces
"Daisy Goodwin has triumphed again. In The Fortune Hunter she weaves a rich and textured tale of desire and ambition. Sizzling with energy and passion on every page, Goodwin's characters compel the reader to fall in love with them." - Amanda Foreman, author of the New York Times bestsellers Georgiana and A World on Fire
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Daisy Goodwin is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Fortune Hunter The American Heiress. She is a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University's film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University and was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. She is the screenwriter and executive producer of the PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria. She lives in London.
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