The Fortune Seller

A Novel

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Pub Date Feb 13 2024 | Archive Date Feb 27 2024


"Sophisticated with just the right dose of sinister, this coming-of-age story doesn’t shy from the grisly power dynamics of privilege." ––Library Journal

When it comes to seeing the future—do you really want to know?

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.

"Sophisticated with just the right dose of sinister, this coming-of-age story doesn’t shy from the grisly power dynamics of privilege." ––Library Journal

When it comes to seeing the future—do you...

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ISBN 9781250286130
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Average rating from 245 members

Featured Reviews

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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*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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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)

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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.

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"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.

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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.

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The Fortune Seller by Rachel Kapelke-Dale explores the complex dynamics of female friendships, the influence of wealth and class, and the desires that shape our lives. The story follows Rosie Macalister, a middle-class student striving to fit into the elite world of the Yale equestrian team. When mysterious tarot reader Annelise Tattinger infiltrates the group, Rosie's newfound confidence is tested, leading to devastating consequences as the friends turn against each other.

Kapelke-Dale's character is simply superb. Having read her novel “The Ballerinas” I was happy to see that she yet again created a cast of strong female characters that are incredibly likable and undeniably flawed. The narrative is propelled by smooth pacing, offering a page-turning quality that keeps the reader engaged. The quality of writing is impeccable, with a lovely, immersing readers in a world that feels like a blend of "The Clique" and “Gilmore Girls”, plus the mystique of tarot card readings.

The artistry of the story is evident in its themes of class, wealth, and the role of luck in shaping our lives. The emotional impact is poignant, evoking a haunting reflection on relationships, money, and societal status.

This book is a perfect fit for hot girls especially those who enjoy character-driven narratives with rich (both figuratively and literally) characters. While the plot occasionally flirted with predictability, the overall engagement and surprises kept me invested. The Fortune Seller is a magical, entertaining drama that doesn't neatly tie up its narrative, leaving readers with a lingering sense of the weight of the characters’ choices.

Sensitive content includes murder and some instances of animal abuse. The story's tone is best described as magical, character-driven, and super entertaining. I would confidently rate this book 4.5 stars for its compelling storytelling and thought-provoking exploration of societal dynamics.

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This is one of those rare books where I sensed the plot twist coming, but was entirely unbothered by having figured things out before the ending because the writing was just so damn good that I wanted to see how the author was going to pull it off. And the way Rachel Kapelke-Dale pulled it off was by constructing an engrossing story populated by characters I loved, and characters I loved to hate. I fell headlong into this intoxicating world and was sorry to reach the last page, and now I'm adding her back catalog to my reading list and pushing this new book on everyone I know who craves a dark and twisty story in the dead of winter.

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Pub date: 2/13/24
Genre: dark academia, books about friends
Quick summary: Rosie is ready for senior year with her wealthy Yale equestrian friends - until she realizes she's been replaced by the charming Annelise Tattinger. After Rosie and Annelise become friends, the whole group's secrets threaten to come out and destroy them all.

This was a quick and immersive read, and I loved the dark academia meets horse world meets tarot vibes. The complexities of female friendship and class differences were well explored by the author, and I loved following Rosie's perspective as she tried to keep her place in the group. There's also a second, future timeline where Rosie unpacks what happened in college, and it was nice to see how she interpreted the events of the past with a little more life experience under her belt.

If you enjoy dark academia, this is a fun ride!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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* 4.5 stars *
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.
The Fortune Seller by Rachel Kapelke-Dale is about Rosie Macalister, a senior at Yale, who is constantly keeping up her image as another rich girl amoung her fancy best friends. Secretly she is a normal middle class student who has to work to survive and is swimming in school loans. When a new girl is brought into their group, and new house, she learns a new skill from her new connection.
I really enjoyed the addition of tarot in this book. As someone who has no previous knowledge of tarot or their meanings I can not speak on the accuracy of the card meanings. However, it was a fascinating addition to the beginning of each chapter that connected to the story. I felt like I was learning something and could get more insight into the story that the character might not immediately see herself.
The way the group connection shifts and changes throughout the book was unexpected. I enjoyed how the main character developed and learned about who she was on her own. As well as, the main character's relationships with the other girls in the group change many times as things happen throughout the novel. It feels like she slowly takes off rose colored glasses throughout the novel and the consequences are unexpected...
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes dark academia and tarot. It was a great novel and I am sad that I finished it. I want more of these characters and this concept to read.

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We’re all looking for meaning in our lives and this book gives us a hint of what can happen with tarot card readings, friends with money and a chance of making a difference in this world.

A group of five university students from Yale are sharing the rent as they ponder what their future will bring. Cressida acts like a beautiful queen with a father that manages a billion-dollar hedge fund. Andra is studying to be a writer and Lila wants to star in films. Rosie loves finance and hopes to be like Cressida’s father someday. And then there’s Annelise who transferred from Stanford with an equestrian gift. She tries to help everyone with her tarot readings. It makes me wonder how many readers will be searching for someone that can read their cards as well.

The tarot takes center stage around this original plot with layers of work ethics, charitable giving, great wealth and some who are scrambling to pay the bills. There are unexpected twists that makes you think about what an advantage it is to have money in this world…or not. It also shows the author’s love of dogs and horses. The tarot guides with wisdom and each person’s life evolves in ways that may not be expected. The end wraps up everything with a complete satisfaction.

The book was fast, fun and filled with a glimpse of reality for each character. I hope Rachel Kapelke-Dale will consider including her love of art history next…in Paris.

My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book with an expected release date of February 13, 2024.

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This novel does. a good job at exploring toxic and complicated female friendships with a background of class commentary. I enjoyed learning more about the equestrian and tarot worlds and am a sucker for any story that takes place at a university. Not my absolute favorite of her fantastic books, but I definitely enjoyed and also found the ending to be satisfying.

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I really loved this one! It had a really different path from your normal everyday gothic novels about friends in college. I actually found myself caring about the characters and their secret struggles. Something I thought would be skewed in a paranormal direction actually turned into a story about hiding who you truly are and what the consequences are if you do that, all centered around a deck of tarot cards. It's up to you if you believe the cards or not, which means every reader will get a slightly different story.

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