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7.08.2015

Book Report - The Fortune Hunter and The Hunt For Red October

I'm so behind on my book reviews. Besides these two, I still have 6 more waiting in the wings!

I read The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin and The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy recently. These books have absolutely nothing in common, so why in the same post? I figured they both had "hunt" in the title, so I could make it work. Plus, it's a good example of how varied my tastes in books are. I do not discriminate when it comes to books. Anything goes.

First up, Daisy Goodwin's historical fiction novel, The Fortune Hunter.
It's 1875, and heiress Charlotte Baird is in the English countryside for the hunting season - although she much prefers her photography hobby over hunting. Her money, not necessarily her beauty, allow her any choice of suitor, but Charlotte is in no particular hurry to marry. That is until she meets the dashing Captain Bay Middleton, considered to be one of the finest horsemen in all of England. The two grow quite fond of each other, but Bay's fine horse skills soon have him playing "pilot" to the Empress Elizabeth of Austria. In England for the hunting season as well (in addition to escaping her husband for a bit), the Empress is considered to be the most beautiful woman of her time. An avid horsewoman herself, she and Bay soon grow close. Bay cannot deny his attraction to the Empress, and he must soon decide between a life of passion and scandal, or that of compatibility and friendship.

I started reading this with no knowledge that the characters were all actual historical figures. I thought it was going to be a sweet little romance between Charlotte and Bay, so I was thrown when the Empress showed up and lured Bay away from Charlotte. That's when I decided to Google the names and realized what I was actually reading. Once I adjusted my expectations, I started to enjoy the story more. The writing is a bit simplistic, and I doubt a lot of the historical accuracy of the story. (Goodwin states at the end that not much is actually known of Charlotte Baird, and that she fabricated the entire photography hobby for her - a major part of the novel).

All in all, I thought this novel only okay. There are far better historical fiction authors out there if you're interested in this genre (Phillipa Gregory comes to mind). If you're looking for something light and quick to read though, then you may want to give this novel a try. It certainly didn't offend by any means; I've just read better.  

Speaking of better books...

I randomly picked up The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy as my next book to read. Bill has a ton of Tom Clancy books at home, but I've never read him before!
Russian submarine, "The Red October" has gone missing, and the race is on between the Americans and Russians to find it first.

I feel like I should write more for the synopsis, but that's really it. I also feel a little silly "reviewing" a book that has been so widely well-received since its debut in 1984.

So, here's what I'll say...

I have zero interest in submarines, and in general, have little interest in this type of novel (which I would categorize as a military mystery adventure novel). So, it's a real testament to Tom Clancy's skill as a writer that I was so engrossed in this novel from beginning to end. It's very technical writing, filled with military jargon and acronyms; yet, I was able to follow along with absolutely no trouble at all. I highly recommend reading The Hunt for Red October. I'm so glad I gave it a chance, and you will be too.  

As for my 2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge - I checked off "A book based entirely on its cover" (the Victorian riding habit had me intrigued) and "A popular author's first book" from the list.

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