Allende, Isabel "Daughter of Fortune" (Spanish: Hija de la Fortuna) - 1999
Even though I loved "The House of the Spirits", I thought this one was even better. It is situated mostly in the United States, especially California, and talks about different cultures getting together at around the time of the gold rush. That's a favourite topic of mine, the first couple of decades of the U.S. where people came together from all over the world with the wish to work as hard as they could and get on with people from other countries ... It sort of reminds me of my own life in different countries in an international environment.
Anyway, this is probably my favourite from the trilogy though I liked them all. The last book is called "Portrait in Sepia". Another great book by the same author: "Island Beneath the Sea".
From the back cover:
"Orphaned at birth, Eliza Sommers is raised in the British colony of Valparaíso, Chile, by the well-intentioned Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her more rigid brother Jeremy. Just as she meets and falls in love with the wildly inappropriate Joaquín Andieta, a lowly clerk who works for Jeremy, gold is discovered in the hills of northern California. By 1849, Chileans of every stripe have fallen prey to feverish dreams of wealth. Joaquín takes off for San Francisco to seek his fortune, and Eliza, pregnant with his child, decides to follow him.
As we follow her spirited heroine on a perilous journey north in the hold of a ship to the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco and northern California, we enter a world whose newly arrived inhabitants are driven mad by gold fever. A society of single men and prostitutes among whom Eliza moves -- with the help of her good friend and savior, the Chinese doctor Tao Chien -- California opens the door to a new life of freedom and independence for the young Chilean. Her search for the elusive Joaquín gradually turns into another kind of journey that transforms her over time, and what began as a search for love ends up as the conquest of personal freedom."
Find more reviews of Isabel Allende's books here.