Thursday 24 April 2014

Review: The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin
Publisher: Headline Review
Release date: 24 April 2014
Rating: **** and a half
Back cover blurb: In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies. Beautiful, athletic and intelligent, Sisi has everything - except happiness. Bored with the stultifying etiquette of the Hapsburg Court and her dutiful but unexciting husband, Franz Joseph, Sisi comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton, the only man in Europe who can outride her. Ten years younger than her and engaged to the rich and devoted Charlotte, Bay has everything to lose by falling for a woman who can never be his. But Bay and the Empress are as reckless as each other, and their mutual attraction is a force that cannot be denied. Full of passion and drama, The Fortune Hunter tells the true story of a nineteenth century Queen of Hearts and a cavalry captain, and the struggle between love and duty.

The Fortune Hunter is Daisy Goodwin's Second novel, but the first one that I have had the pleasure of reading. I must add the first (The Last Duchess) to my 'to be read' list! 

The Fortune Hunter is the compelling tale of how one man's love of two (very different) women, almost cost him everything. 

Captain Bay Middleton is one of the finest horse riders that the country has to offer, he has dreams of winning the Grand National, as well as settling down and marrying. Charlotte, the sister of one of his best friends Fred, is a wealthy heiress who captures Bay's heart. Charlotte is an independent young woman with an interest in photographry which the majority of her family don't seem to support.

When Bay poses for a portrait, the finished photograph shows clearly that Bay's feelings are reciprocated and things seem destined to be heading in the right direction for the young couple. All is well until Bay is summoned and asked to be a pilot (guide) for the Empress of Austria who is visiting the country. The Empress is a fine horsewoman and although seemingly shy at first, the Empress is soon discussing horses with Bay, the first obvious thing they have in common.

As Bay accompanies the Empress on a series of hunts she begins to grow fond of him, and he of her. But Bay is mindful of Charlotte and proposes to her after an unsettling encounter with the Empress. Charlotte is delighted, but can she really compete against royalty for Bay's love?

The Fortune Hunter is a delightful novel which doesn't try too hard. Unlike some historical fiction I've read which has been based on historical figures. In fact, I didn't realise that the several of the historical figures were real until I read the author's notes.

The Fortune Hunter also touches on some unconventional relationships, jobs and hobbies and is an interesting as well as an engaging read which comes highly recommended!

The Fortune Hunter is now available from Amazon online and all good book shops.

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Thank you to the publishers who sent me an advanced proof copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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