Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
In my years of reading, there are certain characters that I have fallen in love with and like to think of as my literary imaginary friends - Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, Jo from Little Women - the list goes on and on. Eliza Sommers, the main character in Daughter of Fortune, is one of those kindred spirits that has joined the rank on my list of literature soul mates.
Eliza is an orphan raised in Chile by a Victorian spinster and her brother. She falls in love with the "unsuitable" Joaquin Andieta. At this time, gold has been discovered in California and Joaquin takes off to San Francisco to seek his fortune. Soon after, Eliza learns she is pregnant and decides to follow him.
We watch Eliza as she ventures out on her journey taking her across the ocean and into Calfornia territory where she learns to live among gold-crazed men, prostitutes, her new friend Tao, and the rush of the wild, wild west.
I love this character because she is strong, yet fragile. Stubborn yet fearful. Bottom line is that she is real and not one dimensional. And when I read this book, I can imagine the scenes playing out in movie-style glory. This really would be an amazing story to see played out on the big screen.