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.
A historical romance, The Fortune Hunter is not really my usual fare. The main thing that caught my attention in the blurb was the mention of Sisi, Empress of Austria. Here in France, Sisi is quite popular and well-known because of a trilogy of movies that trace her life, released in the 1950s and regularly shown on French television. I’ve never watched the movies and knew very little about her, so when this showed up on an upcoming releases post on a friendly blog, I decided to pick it up.
I actually enjoyed The Fortune Hunter a lot more than I had expected. The characters are well-drawn, especially Charlotte who is much more of a central figure than the blurb would have you believe. It is actually Sisi who takes a back seat, acting more as an obstacle in the way of Charlotte and Bay’s love story than a heroic figure in and of herself. Goodwin does a great job of bringing all three characters to life, taking liberties with timelines and lifestories in order to create an intriguing and surprisingly gripping story of love, desire and society. I loved the character of Charlotte and enjoyed the fact that in the end she is able to maintain her liberty and interests without giving up her romantic life. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a historical romance with some great characters.
I gave The Fortune Hunter 4 stars.