The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe's most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.
Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, "Sisi", Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister's groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.
Thrust onto the throne of Europe's most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.
With Pataki's rich period detail and cast of complex, bewitching characters, The Accidental Empress offers a captivating glimpse into one of history's most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Hapsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved "Fairy Queen."
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
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By Susan on 18-03-15
learn your pronounciation
it was quite frustrating listening to the first half of this book because the reader completely mangled the foreign words. I don't expect perfect pronounciation but if you don't even know how to pronounce the name of the river Danube, you have no business narrating this book. doesn't anyone check the recordings?? for me, this was quite a distraction.
27 of 29 people found this review helpful
By Kaui on 09-10-16
read with caution
Any additional comments?
This book is really a 2 star book for me (where 5 stars is only awarded to the best books I have ever read in my life, so 4 stars is really good for me) but I bumped it up to 3 stars for its historical element. It certainly sparked my interest in the Hapsburg Empire. The book reads like a literary harlequin to me, and I was constantly frustrated with the main character's meager ability to take other perspectives to navigate her way through the Court. Pretty much for the whole book, I disliked Sisi, but when I read the comments at the back of the book (interview with the author, book club questions) I was reminded that being a young girl of 15 with almost no political or cultural education (she was born to minor royalty but allowed to roam free in the countryside reading Goethe and composing verse) would have been very difficult, and perhaps her lack of theory of mind was appropriate for her age. I read this book for a local book club I recently joined; it will be interesting to see what the discussion will be like tomorrow afternoon. Regardless, pick this one up with caution; it will not blow your socks off.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful