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The Fortune Hunter

by Daisy Goodwin

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I picked up this book because, having just returned from a trip to Vienna, I was intrigued that it featured Empress Elisabeth of Austria – Sisi – as part of a love triangle. Having never heard about this lady until my visit to the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, I wanted to see how she was depicted in fiction.

Details of Sisi’s life and strict beauty regimes were all present and I loved reading descriptions of places that I recognised. As for her love affair with Bay Middleton – well, that is where fact and fiction may or may not differ. The characters in the novel, Sisi, Bay and Charlotte Baird were pulled from history. As for the love triangle – who knows. Whether Charlotte Baird had a camera – again, who knows? The other characters, Charlotte’s sister-in-law to be and some of the Bay’s friends were sterotypes – the waspish, jealous young woman, the soldier who becomes the angry drunk.

This is a frothy, easy to read novel. It demands nothing of the reader, except to turn the pages. Unfortunately, the characters didn’t really grab me. Charlotte was the most interesting character and I found Sisi and Bay irritating. But that is just me.

If you want to put your feet up and escape for a few hours, this is the novel for you. If you want to be challenged – choose something else.

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