The Fortune Hunter is Daisy Goodwin’s second novel. I purchased the Audible edition of this book not too long after its release, but I didn’t listen to it right away because I was saving it. Well, I saved it for almost three years- and I even read Goodwin’s third novel Victoria– but The Fortune Hunter was absolutely worth the wait.
Charlotte Baird is a young heiress. She inherited her fortune from her mother, who died in a horseback riding incident when Charlotte was very small. Now that Charlotte is older, she has to consider whether the young men who seek to form an acquaintanceship are interested in her or her fortune.
Bay Middleton served in the army with Charlotte’s brother. He finds her to be charming, but he also knows that his situation makes his actions seem more predatory, and that he is merely a fortune hunter.
But the situation becomes even more complicated when Bay is called away to serve as a pilot for the Empress of Austria as she participates in the winter hunt season. “Sisi”, as she is known, is impressed with Bay’s horsemanship; he is the only one who can keep up with her. At Sisi’s behest, Bay moves to the estate where she is staying, and away from the estate where Charlotte and the rest of the house party.
Charlotte still cares for Bay, but his involvement with Sisi is well known in their circles. So Charlotte travels to London to stay with her godmother and help her prepare for a photography exhibition. This proves to be a welcome respite for Charlotte, and an opportunity to sort out her feelings about Bay, and more importantly- what she wants out of life.
And likewise, Bay has captured the attention of one of the most beautiful women in the world, but is that what he really wants out of life?
This was a superbly written book, and while I do regret taking to long to read/listen to it, it was worth the wait. Goodwin has such a knack for developing well-rounded characters; even many of the secondary characters have been fleshed out. One of the most interesting aspects of this is Bay’s ambiguity. He does not quite rise to the level of an antihero, but he does make some questionable choices.
I would absolutely recommend The Fortune Hunter. The Victorian era is one of my favorites, and I love the way that Goodwin brings it to life. The plot is well paced, and full of historical details. Goodwin is one of my favorite authors, and although she is busy with the Victoria miniseries nowadays, I can’t wait to find out what her next project is.