This is the first book I’ve read by author Daisy Goodwin. I actually own The American Heiress, but haven’t gotten to it yet.
THE PLOT: Charlotte Baird is an heiress in late 19th-century England. Her half-brother and his soon-to-be wife are her guardians, and they’re jealous of her fortune (which belonged to her mother not the father she shared with her brother). Charlotte is a fairly independent woman of the times, a budding photographer who doesn’t want to marry just anyone after her fortune. She meets Bay Middleton, one of her brother’s friends and an officer, and falls in love with him. Unfortunately, Bay is not a great guy. The story starts off with his married mistress retiring to the country to bear their child, then tries to soften him a bit with his honest attraction to Charlotte. Despite her family’s warnings, Charlotte becomes unofficially engaged to Bay. But then he ends up being hunting pilot for Empress Elisabeth (“Sisi”) of Austria, and falls into instant, all-consuming lust with her. Their affair plays out against a backdrop of fox hunts, pouting nobility, and an important horse race.
MY TWO CENTS: The characters are wonderfully written. You can very easily see Charlotte’s relatives, Sissy’s entourage, and “Chicken” Hartopp. The reader is very easily drawn into the story, but I’m not sure it delivers in the end. Will Charlotte forgive Bay? Will she find someone better? Is Bay really any better than a fortune Hunter? Will he choose to remain the empress’s lapdog? Will he win the big race? I just wasn’t 100% on board with Charlotte’s choices and thought she deserved better than her eventual fate.
BOTTOM LINE: An easy, engaging read that keeps you thinking for a while after you finish it. Many of the characters were based on real people, but it reads like 100% fiction, which is fine.
TEACUP RATING: Between three-and-a-half and four out of five teacups. I’m not completely fulfilled by it, but I like Daisy Goodwin’s writing style, and I AM eager to go on to The American Heiress now.
ON SALE DATE: The Fortune Hunter will be released in hardcover and ebook formats on July 29, 2014.
Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.