The Fortune Seller
by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
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Pub Date 13 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 27 Feb 2024
Yellowjackets meets The Cloisters in this beguiling coming-of-age story about class, reinvention, and destiny, set against the backdrop of two mysterious deaths.
Middle-class Rosie Macalister has worked for years to fit in with her wealthy friends on the Yale equestrian team. But when she comes back from her junior year abroad with newfound confidence, she finds that the group has been infiltrated by a mysterious intruder: Annelise Tattinger.
A talented tarot reader and a brilliant rider, the enigmatic Annelise is unlike anyone Rosie has ever met. But when one of their friends notices money disappearing from her bank account, Annelise's place in the circle is thrown into question. As the girls turn against each other, the group’s unspoken tensions and assumptions lead to devastating consequences.
It's only after graduation, when Rosie begins a job at a Manhattan hedge fund, that she uncovers Annelise's true identity––and how her place in their elite Yale set was no accident. Is it too late for Rosie to put right what went wrong, or does everyone's luck run out at some point? Set in the heady days of the early aughts, The Fortune Seller is a haunting examination of class, ambition, and the desires that shape our lives.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 94 members
Heavier than “women’s fiction” but still a page turner. Regular kid among the rich at Yale but with a fresh paranormal twist. Brings the old trope into the 21st-century.
During the early 2000's on a college campus the reader encounters the complexity of female friendships, ambition and those with privilege and wealth. Middle-class Rosie Macalister has worked hard to fit in with her friends on the Yale equestrian team, but has her doubts. Set among these friendships is Annelise a mysterious newcomer who has dark undertones causing disruption, with the girls turning against each other. She is a talented equestrian as well as a talented tarot card reader. Was it fate that brought to Yale's equestrian team, or was it just coincidence? At the beginning of each chapter there is a tarot card reading giving a hint of what's to come. An interesting novel. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
WOW!!! I seriously loved this book and adored how real the characters were! I could almost see Rosie and Annalise being friends of mine. She perfected the story of excess culture, richness, and how the 1% live in impermeable ivory towers above the rest of us. I absolutely adored the twists that made karma look like a lightweight! Can’t wait to read more from her, her writing grips you and doesn’t let go!
I knew going into The Fortune Seller how well Rachel Kapelke Dale writes complicated female relationships and that’s on full display here. I loved her previous novels The Ballerinas and The Ingenue so my expectations were high.
This novel starts in 2005 with Rosie and her friends who are on the Yale Equestrian team. After being abroad for her junior year, Rosie is excited to reunite with her friends only to learn a new girl named Annelise has joined their clique and will be her roommate. Annelise is an excellent equestrian rider who appears to have many talents and one of them is her tarot card reading. Although Rosie finds herself charmed by Annelise, something seems off. All of the girls are keeping secrets and after a series of events, they start to turn on one another and there are tragic consequences. We then follow Rosie after graduation when she starts working for a hedge fund company. Events from the past continue to haunt her as she searches for answers.
I loved the dark academia feel to the story and the writing is as beautiful as I expected it would be. The tarot card interpretation and foreshadowing at the start of each chapter was a brilliant touch. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and the author for an advance digital copy of The Fortune Seller. It exceeded my high expectations!
This was really enjoyable for me. I really became invested in the characters, and the Ivy League equestrian element was also interesting. A very satisfying ending capped it off. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
*This review will be posted on my blog and various other social media outlets on January 13, 2024.
When Rosie returns from time abroad to realize that a new girl has made a position in her friend group, she's a little uneasy. She doesn't know anything about Annelise. And now she has to share a room with her. What's even more strange is that the girls in her friend group don't know much about her either. She's a great equestrian. She fits right in on the team. But where did she come from? How does she afford Yale tuition and the lifestyle that comes with being friends with rich girls? Who is Annelise?
In a classic tale of class and ambition, Rosie has to figure out what everybody in her friend group is after, and which of them will stop at nothing to get it.
I loved everything about this novel. The way that Kapelke-Dale engrosses readers in atmospheres and how well she develops relationships has never disappointed me, and it didn't let me down here. Just like in The Ballerinas and The Ingenue, I felt completely engrossed in the story unfolding in my mind.
I love the way that her writing captures complicated female relationships and I love the way the tension and pressure builds until it all boils over in a stunning climax. I loved the quiet ending. The way that through everything that happens, there is also space for moving on. How there has to be space for moving on, if you want to keep growing into the person that you are meant to be.
I think as long as Kapelke-Dale is writing anything, I'll be a fan of it. I would probably read her grocery list if it was all I could get my hands on, and as always, even though this novel isn't even published yet, I will be eagerly awaiting her next release.
The Fortune Seller by Rachel Kapelke-Dale is enigmatic and fresh. Bordering on dark academia and women's fiction - this book will resonate with every woman who dreams of being extraordinary.
Rosie, a regular middle class American, is attending Yale with the daughters of billionaires and just trying to stay afloat. She does everything that she can to fit in and feel like a part of the group. When Annelise is brought into the group, Rosie feels as though the rug has been pulled from underneath her. The story from this point takes so many twists and turns that it will leave you feeling every emotion under the sun.
If you need an incentive to read this book - allow me to ask a question of you. Who did you want to be when you were finishing school and how far would you have gone to make your dreams come true?
Competitive horse riding is not for the meek, nor the poor, as we learn all to well in Rachel Kapelke-Dale’s novel, “The Fortune Seller,” based upon a fictional account of a Yale University female student Equestrian team.
Initially composed of just four undergraduate coeds, when the only student loan/scholarship funded member of the group, Rosie, returns from a semester abroad in Argentina, she finds to her surprise a fifth teammate, Annelise, who’s also designated as her new roommate.
Surprisingly, new girl Annelise, is an exceptionally fine horsewoman—now possibly the most skilled on their team—even more so than Cressida, the beautiful, talented and rich daughter of Grayson Tate, legendary equestrian champion, charity fund manager, and financial Hedge Fund darling of Wall Street.
However, mystery surrounds Annelise. She’s secretive about herself, her family pedigree, and her equestrian skills and training. Her wardrobe is smattered with quality designer touches like Stella McCartney Baby dolls, Prada purses, and Hermes scarves; but all have the well-established aesthetic look and appeal of being classics of a ‘certain age’—perhaps vintage resale buys?
Annelise also has another unique bohemian eclecticism that sets her apart from the traditional preppy norm of her Yale Equestrian teammates. Annelise is a Tarot reader extraordinaire! Intuitively interpreting the Major and Minor Arcana Tarot Cards drawn by those individuals seeking advice.
All is copacetic among the Yale housemates/teammates until Cressida realizes that her bank account is being drained repeatedly for thousands of dollars, and someone in the house is check-kiting.
Tensions mount, fingers point, and accusations fly nonstop. The esprit d’corps, sisterhood, friendship, trust, and ‘love’ once felt, cherished and taken for granted among the girls shatter irreparably!
Then, when a ‘so called’ prank and it’s deadly consequences quickly follows, the repercussions send tectonic plate-shifting vibrations of destructive change into the emotional and personal lives of all. Nothing can ever be the same again. Humpty Humpty Dumpty can’t be put together again, nor can the happy and carefree Yale Female Equestrian Teammates..
TheBookMaven graciously thanks NetGalley, Author Rachel Kapelke-Dale, Publisher St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press Publishing Group, for this advanced reader’s copy (ARC) for review.
I loved this book. It was such a great story with themes of inherited privilege, the “American dream”,ect without any of it feeling preachy or predictable at all.
I am a super picky reader. Much like Chefs are often judgmental about the food they eat, I am judgmental about the books I read. I'm mostly impossible to please. But, it doesn't feel right for me to leave below a four star (unless it's really bad) because these authors are out there TRYING.
So I stop and start many books.
But, then once in a while, one book comes along, and the world stops.
I stop scrolling. The dishes pile up. I'm groggy in the morning from staying up too late. And mopey when I finish the book.
The Fortune Seller...is beautifully crafted. A bit of a mystery at times. I thought, "Oh, I know where this is going...wrong!"
Though there was some foreshadowing that was easy to figure out, it all melded together like an autumn stew on a brisk cloudy evening.
I will hand-sell this over and over and over again.
I can't wait to dive into Ms. Kapelke-Dale's other writing (and how the heck did I ever miss it!)
A huge KUDOs for keeping politics out of this fiction book.
Lately, so many (fiction) books have allowed politics to creep in, and it immediately alienates not only me, but I hesitate to sell /suggest titles even if I loved the book.
This book could have easily lent itself to punching down one political party or making political observations, but there wasn't even a hint; the characters could have gone either way. THANK YOU.
I'm also going to go through some old boxes because I know there is a long forgotten tarot deck in there somewhere.
Maybe you might want to market the book with a tarot card deck?
Believable characters, even the worst of the lot garnered some sympathy.
A story as old as time but done beautifully.
The Fortune Seller by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Competing on an equestrian team with the daughters of millionaires and billionaires is difficult enough for a girl who isn’t born rich. Add the pressures of Ivy League schooling and uncertainty about what professional path to follow after graduation, and it’s no wonder Yale senior Rosie Macalister is muddled. Her situation worsens when she arrives in the rented Victorian house that she and her upper-crust teammates share and discovers she’s stuck in a double room with a complete stranger. Not only has the lovely and mysterious Annelise apparently stolen the affections of Cressida Tate, Rosie’s best friend, she’s also an enviably skilled rider. But Rosie unexpectedly bonds with the West Coast newcomer, attracted by her warmth and intrigued by her tarot readings. She becomes her roommate’s pupil, friend—and defender, when mistrust severs longstanding friendships.
Reeling from tragedy and loss, Rosie settles for a post-graduation job in finance that is at odds with her longstanding desire to follow her parents’ profession and become a vet. Torn between her desire to achieve wealth and her longing to care for animals, she tries to navigate her way through betrayals, revelations, and a budding romance doomed by her circumstances and conflicts. A twisty plot, the interweaving of tarot cards and lore, the unpredictability of highly strung horses, characters of privilege and of wasted promise, laced with mystery and suspense lead to an impressively satisfying yet bittersweet conclusion. (St. Martin’s Press, 320 pp., hardcover/ebook/audio, February, 2024)
Like slipping into a warm bath when you haven't been able to shake the chill from your bones for days. My reading slump is over babies: Watch me now.
"The Fortune Seller" delves into Rosie's quest for belonging among wealthy friends, disrupted by enigmatic Annelise. After graduation, Rosie unravels Annelise's identity, revealing a haunting exploration of class, ambition, and secrets. A great recommendation for a book to read quickly because you can't put it down.
4.5 Stars: The Fortune Seller begins with the return of Rosie and her friends for their senior year at Yale. The four of them are on the Equestrian team and plan to share a house this year. Rosie is at Yale on financial aid, but her friends are all from wealthy families. Rosie spent her junior year abroad, in Argentina working on a horse farm, and has realized that she can be her own person with her own opinions, and not just a mirror of her friends.
Upon arriving back at Yale she learns that there is a 5th girl, Annelise, that has not only become part of the group, but her roommate. At first Rosie is resentful, but as she and Annelise get to know one another, they become very close. Annelise is a very talented equestrienne as well as a tarot card reader, which increases her popularity. As the year goes on, they all start seeing that none of them are quite as they seem, and this is when the doubts and betrayals begin to surface.
The complicated relationships between the girls, is a huge part of what makes this book so good. They are rich, complex characters, that you can't help but sympathize with even when they are being harsh and unlikeable. I liked that this book did not try to wrap up every story line in a neat little bow, but let them feel more like real life. I enjoyed the author's writing so much that i immediately grabbed another of her books to read! I highly recommend this book!
Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review.