Book by Isabel Allende published in 2006
This is perfect historical fiction in my mind; historically accurate and writing beyond reproach. I read this in parallel with a historically focused book about this time and all the facts I could verify were spot on. Daughter of Fortune was so well-researched that if it'd been all I read about the golden age, I would've had a great overview of the period. This is some of the first historical fiction I've read in a while—and it really made me fall in love with the genre.
In short, the book follows Eliza, born in Chile and adopted by an English, aristocratic family. We follow her through her upbringing, and before long her teenage crush catches gold fever and is on the first ship to California. Without spoiling too much, she follows him to California.