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The Fortune Hunter: A Novel

The Fortune Hunter: A Novel

Escrito por Daisy Goodwin

Narrado por Clare Corbett


The Fortune Hunter: A Novel

Escrito por Daisy Goodwin

Narrado por Clare Corbett

valoraciones:
3.5/5 (11 valoraciones)
Longitud:
14 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jul 29, 2014
ISBN:
9781427236128
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descripción

Empress Elizabeth of Austria, known as "Sisi," is the Princess Diana of nineteenth-century Europe. Famously beautiful, as captured in a portrait with diamond stars in her hair, she is unfulfilled in her marriage to the older Emperor Franz Joseph. Sisi has spent years evading the stifling formality of royal life on her private train or yacht or, whenever she can, on the back of a horse. Captain Bay Middleton is dashing, young, and the finest horseman in England. He is also impoverished, with no hope of buying the horse needed to win the Grand National—until he meets Charlotte Baird.

A clever, plainspoken heiress whose money gives her a choice among suitors, Charlotte falls in love with Bay, the first man to really notice her, for his vulnerability as well as his glamour. When Sisi joins the legendary hunt organized by Earl Spencer in England, Bay is asked to guide her on the treacherous course. Their shared passion for riding leads to an infatuation that threatens the growing bond between Bay and Charlotte, and all of their futures.

The Fortune Hunter, the brilliant new novel by Daisy Goodwin, is a lush, irresistible story of the public lives and private longings of grand historical figures.

A Macmillan Audio production.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Jul 29, 2014
ISBN:
9781427236128
Formato:
Audiolibro

Sobre el autor

Daisy Goodwin studied nineteenth-century history at university and has been using it ever since. She has written two bestselling novels set in the Victorian era, My Last Duchess and The Fortune Hunter, as well as the screenplay for Masterpiece’s Victoria on PBS. She has three dogs, two children, and a husband.


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  • (2/5)
    A digital ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    This should have been a novel that got the pulse racing and the imagination quickening. Instead the pacing, the oft switching of POV, and the tedious of the description just slowed the story down. I read the first 75 pages and was bored stiff of what was going on. I could not find any compelling reason to continue, despite the fact the genre and period are right up my alley. I also could not find a character I could commit too or cheer for. I found Goodwin presented a lot of exposition that wasn't necessary and as such at times, the story felt forced, as if she was hoping to wing it back into the path to keep it moving forward.

    The technicality of the writing is fine and it's not a terrible story, but I just feel the hype was much more than what the story delivered. This may appeal to readers who like Philippa Gregory.
  • (2/5)
    This is the third book I've read by Daisy Goodwin and each one I have rated a star less than the one before. "The Fortune Hunter" never won me over. I found the plot very slow in places and there were too many descriptions about the fox hunts; the whole time I was hoping the poor, terrified animals would find a way to escape.The characters were too self-centred and shallow for my liking. I especially loathed Bay Middleton who was nothing but a womaniser; first falling for Charlotte then turning his attention to Sisi. However, Bay loved his horse, Tipsy, far more than either of them. I was ready to shake Charlotte on more than one occasion. She was an intelligent woman but became a snivelling fool around Bay which annoyed the heck out of me.Overall, a slow, disappointing read, and I don't think I'll be bothering with any more books by this author.
  • (2/5)
    A digital ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    This should have been a novel that got the pulse racing and the imagination quickening. Instead the pacing, the oft switching of POV, and the tedious of the description just slowed the story down. I read the first 75 pages and was bored stiff of what was going on. I could not find any compelling reason to continue, despite the fact the genre and period are right up my alley. I also could not find a character I could commit too or cheer for. I found Goodwin presented a lot of exposition that wasn't necessary and as such at times, the story felt forced, as if she was hoping to wing it back into the path to keep it moving forward.

    The technicality of the writing is fine and it's not a terrible story, but I just feel the hype was much more than what the story delivered. This may appeal to readers who like Philippa Gregory.
  • (4/5)
    This was definitely not the book I was expecting from the synopsis. I wasn't expecting the story about Charlotte Baird. I was expecting a story about the Empress Elizabeth and while I did get that I was given much more. Bay Middleton is the man who purportedly romanced both women - he was a man who just seemed unable to not start up a relationship with a woman he found attractive. It didn't matter if he was already in one! In this tale he is rebounding from a dismissal given by his latest lover after learning she is pregnant with his child. He meets Charlotte and is charmed by her lack of worldliness.Charlotte is an heiress to a great fortune living with her aunt and brother. Her brother is trustee of her money and she can't marry without his permission until she turns 21. He has a couple of men in mind for his sister and Bay is not one of them but Charlotte is smitten. Unfortunately for Charlotte so is the visiting Empress Elizabeth. She has come to England to hunt and Bay is to be her pilot - a sort of guide in the hunt. He also finds her very attractive and his arrangement with Charlotte seems to be fading in the glory of a woman known as the most beautiful in the Empire.I will admit to really knowing nothing about Empress Elizabeth prior to reading this book and my curiosity was certainly piqued. As fascinating as she was though, I really found Charlotte's story more interesting. She was a little more real even though most of her tale was made up as she really did not leave much to history. I just enjoyed what Ms. Hunter created.I found this to be a very enjoyable read even if I found the ending a little trite.
  • (3/5)
    Having had my fill of British Royalty, at least in my historical fiction reads...I still check out Prince Harry now and then because, well, you know, I decided it was time to turn my eye to other monarchs/royal families/emperors/etc. THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy Goodwin fit the bill perfectly. Going into this story, I knew very little about Sisi, the Empress of Austria and a grandmother (!) at 38 years old. A quick glance at Wikipedia showed me pictures of a beautiful young woman with a wealth of hair... so you could say my interest was piqued.Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on July 11, 2014.
  • (4/5)
    This is a wonderful historical love story. Charlotte is a young heiress who is much in demand. She is very savvy and intelligent woman. She has a budding career in photography. She falls in love with Bay, but he is caught up in an affair with Sisi the Empress of Austria.When Bay wins the Grand National horse race he finds it is a hollow victory and his happiness is slipping away. The Fortune Hunter is a great combination of a few true events and people and some make-believe. I found that this book was an easy light read. I read it over several days. It is a little bit predictable. The fairytale ends happily ever after. I found the segments about early photography and hunting to be intriguing. This book is a refreshing change from the usual Tudor court stories. It still has an Empress, a Queen, a Prince and Princess and a Countess. I find it interesting that the book is called The Fortune Hunter. It seemed to be more about Charlotte than Bay. I give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
  • (5/5)
    This is a story about love in the Victorian era. Charlotte is a young woman, heiress to the Lennox fortune, who is interested in photography meets Captain Bay Middleton. Bay is a cavalry officer of modest means who falls in love with Charlotte. They become engaged but there is another person in this scenario, Sisi, Empress of Austria, who is in England to escape the rigidity of the Hapsburg court. She is an accomplished rider and becomes involved in some fox hunts and wants Bay as her 'pilot'. Bay truly loves Charlotte but becomes enamored of Sisi. Is it because Sisi is royalty and shares his love of riding horses? Is he really a "Fortune Hunter"? He knows that even being engaged to Charlotte, he is still below her in social status and even more so with the Empress. This is a novel that tells us what life was like among the royalty and peerage. A very descriptive tale of Victorian England and the duty that is expected by the royal family. Even in this era I found Charlotte to be a strong person but vulnerable at the same time and I really liked her. This is a novel loosely based on real people about a love triangle between Charlotte, Bay and Sisi during Queen Victoria's reign. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who has read Daisy Goodwin's previous novel, The American Heiress or anyone who loves historical fiction.
  • (4/5)
    Oh the guilty pleasures of Daisy Goodwin! Her books are really mostly old fashioned bodice rippers, without the explicit sex, but I love them anyway.In this, her second novel, heiress Charlotte is not interested in gown, jewels, and balls. She is a serious photographer in the early stages of the development of the art. When she meets her brother's friend Bay, the best rider in England, their simpatico is evident.Enter the Empress of Austria, a fantastic rider in sidesaddle, to really screw things up.Goodwin takes chick lit up a notch or two by providing fascinating period details, in this case, in the Victorian era. This is great non-stupid fun.
  • (4/5)
    A must read for Jane Austin fans. We have two women an one man, go figure. We have hunting, horse racing, royalty and characters that inhabit the upper classes of English society. I must say that I genuinely cared for the main characters even though they seemed to have the character flaws of Greek drama. For a nearly five hundred page book the story seemed to fly by. This is a romance written with the skill to keep a not so big romance fan interested to see how it would all come out in the wash, Guilty pleasure.
  • (5/5)
    The Fortune Hunter is a very absorbing and entertaining read. A thick, beautiful book with a voice that gives the story a good sense of pace and appeal. I loved the descriptions and the world that the author paints. This is one of the best historically based novels I've come across in a while that thoroughly felt enjoyable to read. Also I loved the American character, I thought he was a real peach.
  • (4/5)
    Is he only after her fortune?I enjoy historical fiction, and when it's based on fact, then so much the better. Unfortunately The Fortune Hunter veered just a little too far into romance for my taste, it was still enjoyable, but possibly a little trite.Charlotte Baird was an interesting character, quiet and mousy on the outside, but quite feisty in her views and ambitions. Her love of photography gave her something beyond the role of wife and mother that was expected of young ladies of the 1800's.She was not enthusiastic about the prospect of 'coming out' into London society, the round of luncheons and balls did not excite her and her inherited wealth made it all the more difficult to tell if it was just her money that made her attractive to men. However, she felt an instant attraction when she met Bay Middleton, a lowly paid cavalry officer.Enter the Empress of Austria, allegedly the most beautiful woman in Europe, though her likenesses don't give me that impression. However, she is in the area for the hunting and Bay is persuaded to act as her pilot on the courses as he's as good a rider as she is. An awkward triangle ensues and we wait to find out who gets the guy, and, incidentally, who wins the Grand National.Disappointingly predictable in parts, and it didn't really inspire me to turn the pages, but an OK, light read.
  • (3/5)
    I have also had a fascination for Sisi and was greatly looking forward to the development of her character in a work of historical fiction. Unlike some of the reviewers here, I found this work somewhat lacking in depth, although it was obviously well-researched and thought out. To me, the characters lacked the complexity in the story that they probably possessed in real life and the historical story was treated very superficially. Saying that, it a quick and enjoyable read, but nothing memorable.
  • (5/5)
    Another fabulous historical fiction novel from Daisy Goodwin! I love a novel that inspires me to research the topic/people upon which it is based. The book is rich in detail--social customs, events, outings, households--of the period. The weaving of historic fact and fictional tale is masterful. While I did find the pace a little slow, it did remind me of the pace of a courtship during that time period. The inclusion of the upcoming hobby/craze of photography was smashing. The main characters of the book, Charlotte Baird, Bay Middleton, Empress Elizabeth of Austria, AKA Sisi and her son Rudolph were real people. The details of their interactions and the chronology of the events has been altered in order to fit a novel. The strength and desperation of Sisi was intriguing. Even though I hated her manipulations and demands, I felt empathy for her when she said, "For twenty-two years I have been watched and measured and criticized every minute of the day." The author has likened Sisi to Princess Diana--beautiful, beloved and constantly under scrutiny by the public. Even though the reader knows that Captain Middleton is a ladies man who is sure to break the heart of inexperienced, heiress, Charlotte, one cannot stop hoping that he'll get his act together and show her that he is not interested in her for her money and that for her, he will stop living up to his reputation as a lothario.
  • (3/5)
    Wealthy families, the right marriage, the proper husband, dancing balls, horse racing, fox hunting, proper seating at dinner parties, and proper everything is what you will find inside THE FORTUNE HUNTER. Charlotte is the heiress to the Lennox fortune, and her brother and new sister-in-law to be must make sure the proper suitor is selected for her. Not just anyone can be the husband of the heir to the Lennox money.Charlotte is a bit of a rebel, though, and wants to choose the man she loves not someone her family approves of because of his status, and love conquers all as you follow Charlotte and Bay through their ups and downs.If you enjoy "proper" lifestyles with all of its formality, you will love THE FORTUNE HUNTER. Ms. Goodwin will definitely impress the reader with her attention to detail in every sentence. You will feel as though you are at the fox hunts and the dinner parties and vividly see the dresses and jewels of each of the ladies. The characters were very well described and quite authentic. For me, THE FORTUNE HUNTER was a bit too detailed, though, and was repetitive, but if you enjoy reading about aristocratic activities, you won't be disappointed.I am rating the book a 3/5. For me THE FORTUNE HUNTER was a tedious read. This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher in return for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    My parents have long had an alluring looking coffee table book on Sisi, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, that they brought back from a trip. Since I usually take my own collection of books with me to read on the holidays we spend at their house, I haven't done much more than flip through it to look at the pictures but I've done that one more than one occasion. So I was definitely intrigued to read a book where the famous royal beauty was a major character. That the author was Daisy Goodwin, whose The American Heiress I enjoyed, made it that much more appealing. But The Fortune Hunter is not focused on Sisi so much as it is on two characters whose lives are changed by her very presence. Charlotte Baird is a quiet and unassuming young woman possessed of an enormous fortune. She has a quick wit and a settled sensibility to her. Her older half brother has the administration of her fortune until she attains her majority or marries and he has short-listed several suitable men for her consideration. She's more interested in pursuing the art of photography than she is marrying until she meets one of her brother's fellow officers, the dashing but rather unsuitable Captain Bay Middleton. When they meet, Bay has just been thrown over by his married lover after she discovers that she is pregnant with his child and must go to her husband to prevent the child from appearing illegitimate. He is still smarting from his dismissal but finds himself captivated by this intelligent and no nonsense young woman. And although they come to a sort of secret understanding, the arrival of Elisabeth, the Empress of Austria, threatens to change everything. As the preeminent rider in England, Middleton, who is in fact a cavalry officer, is assigned to pilot Sisi for the current hunting season. She herself is a marvelous equestrienne and the two of them spend hours out in the field riding together and testing each other's prowess in the saddle. And soon they are lovers as well. Despite this liaison, Bay doesn't want to give up Charlotte, and torn between them, he must juggle the two women carefully, one too astute to miss the situation and one too entitled to give her rival much of a thought. When Charlotte takes a furtive picture of the Empress, who is accounted the most beautiful woman in the world, and of Bay gazing on her with patent adoration, and the picture comes to public view, not only the personal is revealed but political underpinnings come suddenly into play. This is not a typical romance, even if it has many of the hallmarks of one. Goodwin draws a fascinating picture of Victorian England, the horsey set, and the nascent art of photography. She's captured several different, sometimes unconventional, love stories and the longing and desire in each beautifully. But she's also captured the uncertainty of women through Charlotte's fear that she is only being pursued for her money rather than herself and through Sisi's poignant fear of aging and losing her much vaunted looks. A thick feeling of unhappiness pervaded much of the novel with each of the characters trying so hard to find something to hold onto in life that would bring them joy. For Charlotte, that thing is clearly photography. For Bay, it's riding and horses. For Sisi, it's hard to say as she continually pushes for more of everything in search of the elusive happiness. In both Bay and Sisi, there is a certain recklessness while Charlotte is a much steadier character. The secondary characters surrounding this trio were well drawn and helped to show the stifling social rules under which each of them was forced to live. Based on real people, the story was very readable although Sisi as a character was rather less likable than Charlotte for me, coming across as petulant and spoiled on occasion. Charlotte's continued devotion to Bay, despite the rumors of his infidelities and her own photographic proof, would be inexplicable if not for her tender age and the mysterious workings of the human heart. This is pleasant and readable historical fiction although I must admit to liking Goodwin's prior book more.
  • (2/5)
    Love triangle, focused on the Empress Sisi, her pilot Bay, and the lady with the fortune. Quite long winded, talked a lot about the manners of the English and the fox hunting events. Not as good as her earlier novel.
  • (2/5)
    On and on and on. Didn't get interesting until the last 100 pages.
  • (5/5)
    This was a terrific book. One that will be on my Top 2015 Reads. The story is supposed to be about Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) of Austria. But I felt the pull of Charlotte Baird, an heiress who has captured the interest of Captain Bay Middleton. Charlotte is plain and quiet, a girl who is just coming out into society. She's also an orphan, heir to a fortune and whose brother has recently become engaged. Charlotte's mother died from a riding accident and so her father forbids riding so Charlotte must find another past time. That hobby is provided by Charlotte's godmother, whose passion is photography and she teaches/inspires that passion in Charlotte, a most willing pupil. And so the story begins with Charlotte meeting Bay. Later Bay meets Empress Sisi when he is assigned as her pilot. Bay is torn between the two women each compelling in her own way.

    I felt this novel really showed how trapped women were in this time period and that no matter if you were a serving girl, an everyday woman, an heiress, or an empress you were placed in roles where you had the choice of complying or becoming ostracized by society. To break out and be yourself took strength and courage - which of the women is able to do that successfully? That's where the story and romance is.

    One of the reasons I gave this story 5 stars is because it inspired me to read more about Sisi, women's ability to own anything during this time period, and horse racing. Highly recommend the book if you like historical fiction or if you like to be inspired to read more.
  • (4/5)
    This story is woven around 3 characters, Charlotte Baird, an heiress and orphan aspiring to be a renowned photographer, Elizabeth, the Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, and George “Bay” Middleton an accomplished rider. They are very real historic characters, but the story knitted around them is historic fiction.Middleton was an excellent horseman in the service of the Queen. He was in charge of the horses for Earl Spencer, to whom he was indebted. Because he was neither titled nor rich, he was looked down upon and often ridiculed by those in the aristocracy, even as he socialized with them on occasion. He was dependent on the support of Earl Spencer, his sponsor, and was obliged to perform favors when asked.The Empress was married to Emperor Franz Josef when she was very young. Although to the world it would seem like she had everything anyone could want, she was lonely and dissatisfied with her life and lack of privacy. She was rather haughty and extremely vain about her looks. She was royalty and expected to be treated as such. Her husband was preoccupied with the affairs of state, the very purpose for which he was raised, and she often felt neglected. On a visit to England to the estate of Earl Spencer, where she intended to participate in a legendary hunt, the Earl assigned her a pilot to ride along with her to insure her safety. Although she was quite an accomplished horsewoman, she was unfamiliar with the terrain. At first, both objected, but Bay Middleton was not in a position to refuse the request, and although the Empress had her own attendants, after meeting Bay Middleton, she soon grew fond of him and preferred his company.Charlotte loved photography more than ball gowns which in an English lady of good breeding was an anomaly of the times. Bay found her fascinating; he insisted it was not because she was an heiress who would inherit a large fortune when she was 25 and could marry a man of her choice when she was 21. At the time, her brother was her overseer since she was only 20. Bay even proposed to Charlotte, offering to run away with her, but she turned him down, wanting to wait until she was of age. Before the Empress had even stepped foot in England, Elizabeth and Bay seemed smitten with each other. Bay Middleton was known as a lady’s man, but he had taken such an interest in Charlotte Baird because she was feisty and a woman of independent thought. In stodgy England, where they were very class conscious, where public decorum must always be observed and manners must be impeccable, it was very unusual for a woman to be so outspoken. Soon, however, the larger than life personality of the Empress (in reality she was delicate and small), turned his head and mixed signals between all three of the characters caused a rift in the relationships. Bay was quite overcome by the beauty and position of the Empress. In addition, she did expect to be obeyed by all, including him. Yet, his love for Charlotte remained and would not die even as he transgressed with Elizabeth, and he still wished to marry her.The love triangle is the basis of this “fairy tale” created by Goodwin. These very real historic figures were constantly surrounded by jealous suitors and sycophants who fawned over each of them at different times in the narrative and exemplified the class differences and arrogance that existed at that time. It was not easy to cross the line from the commoner into the world of the aristocracy. However, one misstep would cause the aristocracy to shun the aristocratic member who erred, and Charlotte was in real danger of misstepping as was the Empress herself! She had to be even more discreet.I think of the book as a light and airy, pleasant read, it was interesting and not too taxing. The history in the novel was meager without rich detail, but there was enough to keep the reader interested and to inspire further research into the characters. The best part was the sardonic and sarcastic banter between the characters. Their dialogue seemed so authentic that the conversations often made me smile and at other times made me angry. The pomposity of some of the aristocracy was abominable, but the repartees made the uniqueness of the Victorian age, apparent. This book is simply a very good read. The pages will turn themselves. Actually, I listened to the audio and really enjoyed it. It was the theater of the mind as the reader assumed the personality and mood of each character with the proper tone and modulation. I think it would be better to listen to this book than read the print version because the characters all seem to have distinctive personalities which the reader’s voice portrayed accurately. The formality of the English is presented clearly with the class differences and condescending behavior very apparent and so, too, was the stark contrast between the realms of England, with Queen Victoria, and Austria, with the Empress Elizabeth.
  • (4/5)
    THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy GoodwinThe Empress Elizabeth of Austria is a leading character in this historical romance that has many historical persons in both major and minor roles. I would have appreciated an epilogue telling what were actual events and which were made up as well as what happened to each of the characters later.The writing was clear and the story line easy to follow. The characters were true as they were written. I liked learning so much about royal morals and manners and the early method of photography. The horse race and hunting were detailed so you understood what was important even if you knew nothing about either. Queen Victoria actually added some humorous elements.Altogether an interesting and likeable read. Book groups would enjoy discussing the differences between “now and then,” clothing as it has changed for both men and women, and the changes in photography.4 stars of 5
  • (3/5)
    I’m not a big romance fan, but this story set in Victorian England was enjoyable. A strong, independent female protagonist, a handsome male and the love of horses combine to show that women did have a part in Victorian society. I particularly enjoyed the scenes involving Queen Victoria. She must have been quite a woman.
  • (3/5)
    Is she a breath of fresh air or will he tire of her before it even starts?This book is billed as being about the Empress of Austria, Elizabeth (aka Sisi) but it is actually about Charlotte Baird, an heiress with a passion for photography. Bay Middleton, an officer in the royal army and an aspiring competitor in the Grand National on his horse Tipsy, is better known for his way with women than his strength of character. Bay is instantly impressed by the straightforward yet carefree Charlotte, and the feeling seems to be reciprocal however he is soon distracted by the Empress’ strong will. Where do his feelings lie? Will his past come back to haunt him? Ugh! The story had me intrigued the entire way through as I kept waiting for a twist that never came. Bay, while charming, was more of a rake than I prefer in a love story (my personal preference). It was a well written and while long, was light and interesting from start to finish. I would recommend to anyone looking for a light, historical fiction beach-y read.
  • (3/5)
    One thing this book has going for it is its descriptive powers. The world of the late Victorian/early Gilded Age period come to glamorous life: heart-pounding fox hunts, glittering balls, and on-going search for an appropriate spouse of one’s class or better. The author’s familiarities of the era and her depth of knowledge of its intricate details are very evident.I started out the book liking the characters, especially Charlotte. I liked that she was dedicated to her craft and not afraid to stand up to her brother. She also shows wonderful backbone in deciding her own fate and spouse rather than bowing to her overbearing brother and sister-in-law. I initially enjoyed Bay. He was appropriately dashing and dedicated to Charlotte, enjoying what made her different from your typical society gal.Yet, once the love triangle started to develop and Sisi had more of a roll in the story, the characterization started to slip. Charlotte became a whimpering, spineless girl hopelessly in love with a cad. She stayed dedicated to her art, but I lost all respect in her judgment in love matters. And Bay? OMG, don’t get me started… He even admits himself that he wanted a fast wedding ‘cause he didn’t trust himself with women. Really?! What makes him think a wedding would change anything…After a while, the book started to get bogged down in the period details and the ever-ongoing love triangle of Charlotte, Bay, and Sisi. I found myself reading it in spurts, periodically dropping it for other books when my attention wavered. I will also admit I probably skimmed parts when I felt bored with the endless fox hunts and back-and-forth love struggles of our trio. Bottom line, this book got boring the further I read.Another book that started out promising that didn’t finish that way. The rich period details and atmosphere were a joy to read; the author evidently knows her stuff in that arena. And I started out liking the characters. Yet, I quickly got bored with the endless rounds of the same activities and interactions. The love triangle just got boring in all its melodramatic glory. My interest was held enough to finish, and that can probably be chalked up to the rich historical details. But would I recommend this? No. Too much padding and too boring, overall.Note: Book received from publisher for free via GR giveaway in exchange for an honest review.