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Daughter of fortune
Isabel Allende
Adult Fiction ALLENDE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Allende expands her geographical boundaries in this sprawling, engrossing historical novel flavored by four culturesÄEnglish, Chilean, Chinese and AmericanÄand set during the 1849 California Gold Rush. The alluring tale begins in Valpara¡so, Chile, with young Eliza Sommers, who was left as a baby on the doorstep of wealthy British importers Miss Rose Sommers and her prim brother, Jeremy. Now a 16-year-old, and newly pregnant, Eliza decides to follow her lover, fiery clerk Joaqu¡n Andieta, when he leaves for California to make his fortune in the gold rush. Enlisting the unlikely aid of Tao Chi'en, a Chinese shipboard cook, she stows away on a ship bound for San Francisco. Tao Chi'en's own storyÄrichly textured and expansively toldÄbegins when he is born into a peasant family and sold into slavery, where it is his good fortune to be trained as a master of acupuncture. Years later, while tending to a sailor in colonial Hong Kong, he is shanghaied and forced into service at sea. During the voyage with Eliza, Tao nurses her through a miscarriage. When they disembark, Eliza is disguised as a boy, and she spends the next four years in male attire so she may travel freely and safely. Eliza's search for Joaqu¡n (rumored to have become an outlaw) is disappointing, but through an eye-opening stint as a pianist in a traveling brothel and through her charged friendship with Tao, now a sought-after healer and champion of enslaved Chinese prostitutes, Eliza finds freedom, fulfillment and maturity. Effortlessly weaving in historical background, Allende (House of the Spirits; Paula) evokes in pungent prose the great melting pot of early California and the colorful societies of Valpara¡so and Canton. A gallery of secondary characters, developed early on, prove pivotal to the plot. In a book of this scope, the narrative is inevitably top-heavy in spots, and the plot wears thin toward the end, but this is storytelling at its most seductive, a brash historical adventure. Major ad/promo; BOMC dual main selection; 11-city author tour. (Oct.) FYI: This book will also be released in a HarperLibros Spanish edition, Hija del la Fortuna (ISBN 0-06-019492-8). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

This blockbuster of a historical novel by Chilean writer Allende (House ofSpirits) captures the adventure of 19th-century Chile and California while presenting colorful and energetic characters. In Valparaiso, Chile, an English colony, siblings Rose and Jeremy Sommers adopt Eliza, an orphan left at their door. They hope to raise her to be a marriageable, upper-class English lady, but at 16 she falls in love with a destitute, would-be revolutionary who, after getting Eliza pregnant, leaves for California to search for gold. The headstrong Eliza follows him, miscarries, and meets Tao Chi'en, a Chinese physician who nurses her back to health. In America, Eliza spends years searching for her lover, at times disguised as a man, supporting herself with odd jobs, including as a piano player in a traveling brothel. Allende has woven a colorful, complex story around family conflict, romantic love, and history. A number of minor players flesh out the narrative. Blair Brown reads with clarity and warmth, even if a little understated for some of the more flamboyant characters. Recommended for all libraries.--Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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main characters Eliza Sommers
Raised by a pair of British siblings.

Tao Chien

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