Miss Fortune

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
304 Pages
Reviewed on 04/24/2015
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Author Biography

I was born and raised in Ukraine, in a small village called Volchanovka in the Donetsk region.
Currently, my husband John and I have dedicated our lives to preventing the South African rhino population from becoming extinct by breeding rhinos for future generations. In the last six years, we have bred over 500 white rhinos. At the same time, I have become a pro-rhino activist, advocating for an end to the war on trade in rhino horn that only creates conditions for illegal trade and results in killing of rhinos and also people in Africa.
I founded the Facebook page Future4Rhino, calling for legalizing trade in horn – a renewable product – to help create harmony between African people and their natural heritage.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Miss Fortune is a coming of age memoir written by Albina Hume. The author was born and raised in a small village in Ukraine. She became very self-conscious about her speech impediment when she began primary school. One of the other students, a little boy, made fun of her mispronunciation when she introduced herself, and he called her a crow. This ridicule deeply affected the bright young girl who henceforward would refuse to answer questions in class if they involved words she'd have trouble pronouncing. Even later, as a young adult, she passed on a coveted Miss School title rather than risk mispronouncing the answer to a tie-breaking quiz. Always ambitious and determined to prove herself, Hume got involved in a health product pyramid scheme which left her in debt, despite her success at sales. Her quest for love and success would lead her to the traveling she'd always dreamed of, even to that mythical Africa of her childhood song.

Albina Hume's coming of age memoir, Miss Fortune, is a most impressive nonfiction account that reads so beautifully that I had to check several times to assure myself that it was indeed a memoir. Her life story is a fascinating one, and her honesty and frankness in sharing it is deeply appreciated by this reader. I was fascinated by her stories about life in Ukraine, especially the early years, and smiled at the story of the strawberry business she set up with her siblings. Her accounts of the border crossings from Ukraine and Bulgaria into Greece for a job as a dancer made those terrifying and perilous trips come alive in my mind. Miss Fortune has action, adventure, danger and romance adroitly served up in a remarkable coming of age memoir. It's most highly recommended.

Gisela Dixon

Miss Fortune by Albina Hume is an autobiographical account of Albina, a young girl from Ukraine. Born in a small village called Volchanovka, or present-day Novogrigorovka in Ukraine, Albina is one of several siblings raised in post-Soviet Union Ukraine. The story starts with Albina in her early twenties, about to get married to a sixty-year-old rancher from South Africa named John. John has left his city life behind him and semi-retired outside of Johannesburg where he has bought a ranch in order to offer sanctuary to and save the African rhino. We then learn about Albina’s childhood as she struggled with a speech defect as well as her teenage years and early twenties when she worked as an exotic dancer and stripper at various clubs in Ukraine and Greece. The story also explores her past relationships and various experiences that finally ended in her meeting John through a matchmaking service.

Miss Fortune by Albina Hume is a simply written first person account. The writing follows a sequential series of events for the most part. Most of the story is told simply and I was interested in reading about her various experiences growing up and then working as a stripper. I also felt that it was brave of Albina to write about extremely personal experiences, although I felt that the writing in some parts was a bit repetitive. The memoir overall is still intriguing as we follow Albina’s journey across the globe. All in all, an interesting read!

Maria Beltran

Miss Fortune by Albina Hume is an interesting biography about a woman who dares to dream. As a young girl in Volchanovka, a small village in Ukraine, Albina grows up believing in fairy tales, where after a series of seemingly insurmountable struggles, the princess gets to marry her prince. Born when her country was still part of the Soviet Union, she struggles with a speech impediment that makes her a target of bullying in school. When she is a young woman, Soviet Union falls apart and life in independent and democratic Ukraine becomes a struggle to make money and gain success in a capitalistic society. Driven by mounting debts to work as a dancer, Albina seems destined for a shady life in Greece. Deported back to Ukraine, she tries to pick up the pieces of her life and never stops dreaming of a better one.

Albina Hume’s memoir, Miss Fortune, is a modern fairy tale, except for the fact that it is, after all, a true story. What makes her narrative doubly fascinating is because it gives readers an insight into the life of a woman from the other side of the Iron Curtain. This is especially true for those who grow up in the West and other democratic and capitalistic countries. The book is an entertaining and easy read and, as we follow Albina in her life’s journeys, we realize that there is not so much difference between a Ukrainian woman and other women from different parts of the globe when it comes to aspirations and dreams. This is one of the reasons why we can easily empathize with her. She is as strong and as vulnerable as any of us, but she never gives up on her dreams. And this is what brings her to the position where she is now. This book should be an inspiration to all the women out there who have not yet achieved their dreams.