For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel by New York Times best-selling author Allison Pataki.
Sisi tells the little-known story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, the Princess Diana of her time, in an enthralling work of historical fiction that is also a gripping pause resister.
Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth - fondly known as Sisi - captures the hearts of her people as their "fairy queen", but beneath that dazzling persona lives a far more complex figure. In mid-19th-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Feeling stifled by strict protocols and a turbulent marriage, Sisi grows restless. A free-spirited wanderer, she finds solace at her estate outside Budapest. There she rides her beloved horses and enjoys visits from the Hungarian statesman Count Andrássy, the man with whom she's unwittingly fallen in love.
But tragic news brings Sisi out of her fragile seclusion, forcing her to return to her capital and a world of gossip, envy, and sorrow where a dangerous fate lurks in the shadows. Through love affairs and loss, dedication and defiance, Sisi struggles against conflicting desires: to keep her family together or to flee amid the collapse of her suffocating marriage and the gathering tumult of the First World War. In an age of crumbling monarchies, Sisi fights to assert her right to the throne beside her husband, to win the love of her people and the world, and to save an empire. But in the end, can she save herself?
Featuring larger-than-life historic figures such as Bavaria's "Mad King Ludwig" and the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf, and set against many of Europe's grandest sites - from Germany's storied Neuschwanstein Castle to England's lush shires - Sisi brings to life an extraordinary woman and the romantic, volatile era over which she presided.
©2016 Allison Pataki (P)2016 Random House Audio
"Pataki simply stuns me with each new book. I savor each page. Sisi is her best yet!" (Kathie Lee Gifford)
"Readers will enjoy the glorious dilemma of whether to turn the pages swiftly, breathlessly following Empress Sisi from one astonishing, heartbreaking adventure to the next, or to linger and luxuriate in Pataki's vivid, sumptuous descriptions of the Habsburg court." (Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times best-selling author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker)
"This entire novel is irresistible - completely impossible to put down! Pataki reimagines the reign of the 19th-century Princess Diana in this stunning book." (Michelle Moran, internationally best-selling author of Rebel Queen)
Gorgeously written historic novel. A wonderful mix of fact with sympathetically added fiction. A guess at what might have transpired between the events we know to be true. A lovely book, the writing is beautifully descriptive and emotive - I cried, laughed, and totally loved Sisi. I got a true sense for who she was and how complicated her life was.
"outstanding in every way"
It was rich and full of depth. I was engaged throughout the story. The narrator was superb. Actually - she was the best narrator of all the books I've listen to so far. She was adept at expressing the tones and nuances of all the characters giving them a unique voice. She brought the story to life. This book was well done and very complete.
I tear slip out a few times.
It's a wonderful book.
"well told story"
never heard the story of Empress Elizabeth. well narrated. I wish the author went into more detail about the current day events that led to WW1 and the class warfare. everything was about Sisi which got tiring half way through.
The book was interesting. It has a sad ending but is was well written. Good story.
Not only is the author amazing, but the narrator as well! Had me all caught up in the emotion and made me feel like I Was actually there!
"Romantic Novel blended with historical detail"
Gave a good insight of the life of the Emperess of Austria Hungary and the day to day challenges she faced. an important period in history was covered and one I didn't know much about.
"Don't like the change in narrators"
Don't like the change in narrators from book to book. Otherwise, an incredible story, very interesting woman.
"Interesting historical perspective"
This was historically a good book but the story line is missing a punch line and is a bit dry at times.
"Slightly Less Excellent"
Book 2 was slightly less enjoyable then Book 1 (which I rated as excellent) only because it started feeling long towards the end. Perhaps reading them back to back was not the best way to go.
I’m still immensely satisfied overall, and I would like to read a true biography in order whittle-out the dramatized passages.
I would also like to read the biographies of Emperor Franz, Crowned Prince Rudolf and “Mad” King Ludwig; I have a pretty good tourist-acquired knowledge of their lives, but I’d still like to learn more.
I will buy this book in hardcopy form and read it now instead of listening to it on audible because of the change in narrators between book one and book too. Way too distracting for me. Feel like I'm reading a story about a totally different person. Story rating was only because they wouldn't allow me to post this review without making one. I'm sure once I read the book myself in my own voice it will be as great as the first one.
"It helps to have visited Bavaria and Vienna"
I fell in love with Sisi when in Vienna where there is a museum devoted to her life, located in the palace. She was so ahead of her time - her life was very tough despite the money and the royal title. The story of her childhood friend "the Mad King" is fascinating, again, especially if you've seen the castle in Bavaria and heard the stories from Germans.
I think most of this is historically accurate, but it will sound like a romance novel to some.
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