Published by: St. Martin's Press
Genres: Historical Fiction
Buy It Now (Affiliate Link): Buy on Amazon
When I finally picked up The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin earlier this week to read it, I was so excited. The Empress of Austria? Empress Sisi? Admittedly I knew very little about her so I ran a quick history search, read a few articles, looked up a few pictures, then settled in to read all about this wondrous woman.
I was miserably disappointed.
I wasn’t disappointed in the book itself as much as I felt betrayed and misled by the synopsis. Yes, Empress Sisi is a character in this historical fiction novel but this is not Sisi’s story. This is the story of Charlotte and Bay with a side of Sisi; this is not the story of Sisi and Bay with a side of Charlotte as I expected. Sisi isn’t the narrator and, honestly, we don’t even meet her for the first couple of chapters.
Besides, all of the characters fell a little bit flat for me and I was really disappointed. I wanted to fall madly head over heels with this amazing historical woman and the people that surrounded her but I didn’t feel the realness of any of them. They all had their roles to play and they seemed stuck in their character cocoons.
- Charlotte was the headstrong but naive young girl who can’t resist the charms of her beloved.
- Bay is the womanizer.
- Empress Sisi was willful and spoiled.
I was bored with them all.
I wanted depth and I didn’t feel like I got it even though they are all true historical figures. This book isn’t really accurate with the history it depicts at all at least not according to the little bit of research I did. I just felt so frustrated by this book.
The synopsis pitches it as being “full of passion and drama” but I didn’t get that at all. I didn’t feel passion between any of the characters even though there were supposed to be multiple love triangles. I certainly didn’t feel any drama and there were some really obvious passages where it was clear the author was trying to force drama and tension but it failed.
Charlotte sent Bay a letter from her aunt’s home in London and reading the journey from her home to his was tedious! What kind of envelope did she use? How many people intercepted it? Was Bay going to receive it? Oh no! The monkey has the letter! There was such forced writing to try to manufacture tension in this moment but I didn’t feel it. I felt annoyed. I just wanted him to read the stupid letter and get the story back to moving. I’m a plot-driven reader and if something doesn’t advance the plot I don’t care to read about it.
I read the book quickly, there were moments that captured my attention and there were characters I did enjoy (like Casper but we didn’t meet him soon enough for my tastes). I read it on the train on my way home from work and it passed the time. It’s an easy read and it ends tied up in a pretty little bow. It is a simple pleasure read, nothing more.
I liked it fine although I have definite criticisms. I would have liked it more had it been pitched as the story of the romance between Charlotte and Bay and the Empress who threatens to destroy it all rather than a story about Empress Sisi.