Sisi: Empress on Her Own: A Novel

Sisi: Empress on Her Own: A Novel

by Allison Pataki
4.6 9

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Sisi: Empress on Her Own: A Novel by Allison Pataki

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel by 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 page-turner.

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-nineteenth-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.

Praise for Sisi

“Pataki successfully juggles numerous political and personal plot lines while maintaining her focus on a fascinating central character. . . . Readers of Pataki’s first book will want to know the rest of Sisi’s story, but this novel stands on its own for historical fiction fans.”Library Journal

“A deeply moving book about a complex character.”BookPage

“A satisfying saga of the late Habsburg period.”Kirkus Reviews

“Pataki brings richness and relevance to the story of the woman who worked tirelessly to protect the face of an empire.”Publishers Weekly

“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 bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

“This entire novel is irresistible—completely impossible to put down! Pataki reimagines the reign of the nineteenth-century Princess Diana in this stunning book.”—Michelle Moran, internationally bestselling author of Rebel Queen

“Emotional, exuberant, masterly, Sisi swept me into the glittering, treacherous world of the waning Habsburg empire. A must-read.”—Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812989069
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/08/2016
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 3,540
File size: 11 MB
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About the Author

Allison Pataki is the New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor’s Wife and The Accidental Empress. The daughter of former New York State governor George E. Pataki, she was inspired to write about Sisi by her family’s deep roots in the former Habsburg empire of Austria-Hungary. She graduated cum laude from Yale University with a major in English. Pataki is the co-founder of the nonprofit organization ReConnect Hungary, regularly contributes to The Huffington Post and, and is a member of the Historical Novel Society. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their daughter.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Sisi: Empress on Her Own 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sisi grows from a naive teenage empress to a woman seeking a life that frees her from a rigid royal world . Her marriage goes through many changes but they never lose a mutual respect for one another. In her early years as empress she tries to be an involved mother and patriot. When a royal takes on an institution the results can be disappointing and painful. Ms. Pataki is a gifted writer who weaves history and fiction together in a skillful manner. Her characters are presented with their strengths and flaws. She hooks the reader immediately. I recommend her three books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes me feel glad to NOT be born royal. Good story
Anonymous 8 months ago
lotsofpuppies More than 1 year ago
Sisi: Empress on Her Own is a very good follow up novel to Allison Pataki's first about the Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary: The Accidental Empress. This novel follows Sisi immediately after her coronation as the Empress of the newly combined Austria-Hungary empire and follows the adventures of Sis, her family's, and her many friends. This novel painted a different side of Sisi compared to the young girl we met in The Accidental Empress. Sisi is older now, with more complex emotions, thoughts, and problems facing her than ever before. This novel is a must read if you loved The Accidental Empress as it answers the question "What happened after the coronation?" Both novels were very intriguing and I found myself running to the internet to read more about Sisi, her family, friends, and life.
ASouthernGirlReads More than 1 year ago
I have always been drawn to historical fiction. My Goodreads library, TBR list, Amazon wishlist, and Audible wishlist overflow with historical fiction from various times and places. However, this is the first book I have encountered about Sisi, and before reading it, I knew nothing about this tragic Empress. While this book is a follow up to Accidental Empress, which covers the early years of Sisi's marriage, I still found it enjoyable and easy to follow. Sisi married the Emperor Franz Joseph when she was only 15 years old. The marriage thrust her not only into the role of Empress of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, but also into the middle of the revered Habsburg Family. Renowned for her beauty and her impossibly long hair, Sisi was also a sensitive and troubled soul. She wasn’t ready or equipped to handle the challenges at court. Her mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie, believed Sisi too frivolous to manage the royal household. Sophie took control of all aspects of the life of the royal family, even overseeing the care of Sisi’s children without any input from Sisi. In addition, Sisi suffered from the infidelities of Franz Joseph and the intense scrutiny of the government and court. All this stress drove Sisi to flee from Vienna whenever possible, and she spent much of her life traveling abroad trying to find a sort of freedom. Ultimately, she met a tragic end, and her fierce need for independence may have played a small part. This book brought up 3 points for me. First, real life is often stranger than fiction. There were several instances in the book, that I assumed were added to the story. However, in the epilogue, the author relates that many of these things actually happened the way she presented them. Secondly, the people we idolize are not perfect, they are flawed humans just like us. Sisi was often called a “fairy queen” and was loved by many. But like any other person, she made mistakes and possessed a darker side. I found myself getting frustrated with her at times. Thirdly, it made me wonder “what might have been”? In the epilogue, the author wonders how things might have been different for the world if Sisi’s relationship with her son had been different. I love when a book introduces me to new material or subject matter, and I know I can look forward to reading more. I was excited that the author included a list of books for further reading regarding Sisi and her world. And thus, my TBR expands!
DiJordan More than 1 year ago
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Sisi: Empress on Her Own is part of the Sisi series. It can still can read as a stand alone, though. Again, Allison Pataki shows what a great talent she is. I just love her style of writing. She sweeps the reader back in time to the Nineteenth century. The descriptions for this historical time were extraordinary. I felt like I was right there. I, also, felt the emotions Sisi were going through all throughout the book. Just a beautifully written story. I would highly recommend this book, as well as, others by Allison Pataki. A wonderful historical based on actual events. Five Plus Stars.
Angfan5 More than 1 year ago
I have never read any of Allison Pataki's books before but after reading Sisi, I am a big fan and will purchase her other books to read. I am not a big history buff so I knew nothing of Sisi or the Emperor but I found myself stopping the book to research their lives and was fascinated by their stories. The author made me feel that I was there with the characters and all their drama. I was rooting for Sisi and despising her at the same time. Definitely a must read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was pleased to be given an advance copy of Sisi, and I loved it! I was amazed at the historical accuracy and enjoyed Allison Pataki's writing thoroughly. The characters became so real to me, flawed as they really were! I would highly recommend this book.