New York Times best-selling author Allison Pataki follows up on her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Traitor's Wife, with the little-known and tumultuous love story of "Sisi", the Austro-Hungarian Empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph.
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."
©2015 Allison Pataki. All rights reserved (P)2015 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved
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"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.
"TOO LONG, TOO SILLY, BAD NARRATION"
I thought this would be a more serious account of Empress Elisabeth but it's like a way too long fairy tale. The narrator is really bad. There are so many characters and accents, male, female and children, that it becomes confusing. Really awful "chick lit".
"Not the best type of historical fiction"
This type of historical fiction is not for me. The story was unnecessarily romanticized (this seems to happen frequently to anything about Elizabeth of Austria)...her life was not at all romantic; her marriage was not necessarily loveless but it was not a happy one, her mother in law ran the roost and she developed what would be considered anorexia today in order to cope, her male child died a horrible death and she was murdered!). There was too much dialogue, too much unnecessary detail and too many obviously fictional scenes. Somehow I did not get a good sense of the period and was never able to fully immerse myself in the story.
I have no objections to the narrator or her narration.
I think a decent script could be derived from this overly long novel...scripting it may manage to remove some of what I consider obvious fluff; this could turn it into a fairly entertaining chick flick for some cable channel. I would watch it!
I read a review written by an Audible listener I follow and I should have paid attention to it and not gone for this book. I was just craving my historical fiction fix, which this did not necessarily satisfy... it almost had the feel of teen fiction to me. Readers who are into historical romances may like it better than I did...I like my historical fiction lighter in the "romance" aspect.
"Okay if you're under 15"
Written for a junior high girl. Romance novel style.
hard to listen to history told in such an amateurish fashion
"Could have been great ...."
Why do modern authors feel the need to sexualize historical figures outside of known facts? Truly it is an insult to the very real people they write about. The beginning and ending of this telling of the story of Empress Sisi do a disservice to an otherwise very good book.
"I loved this book."
This story is spellbinding. I especially enjoyed the author's turn of phrase. I highly recommend it to historical fiction lovers.
"read with caution"
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.
"Fan of historical fiction..."
As a fan of history and historical fiction, this novel of Sisi was quite satisfying. I am fascinated by the life of Sisi and as much as I can tell this narrative held pretty true to historical fact. The narrator, however, I feel would be better suited to a more contemporary novel. I felt this book needed a more quiet and dignified narration, and at times I became quite annoyed with the performance for that reason.
"Do your homework."
The reader's mispronunciations distract the listener. Over and over: The Duh-NOOB. Really. Context tells us she's trying to say Danube. Grade Five geography curriculum. A professional reader needs to prepare in advance. Throughout, the mispronunciation of commonly known Germanic words distracted from the story. Even the name of Sisi's second daughter, Giesela, was mispronounced. Do your homework!
The author's enhancement of the historical backgrounds of Sisi, Franz, Sophie, and the other characters and of so many historical incidents - while fiction - created a good story.
Someone who bothered to prepare.
This book would make an excellent series.
Sisi's story is a fascinating one. If you are interested in this book, read it, don't listen.
"Happiness is what you make it"
This was an interesting book. I had trouble believing throughout the novel that this actually happened. In the interview with Ms. Pataki, she stated that the novel was historically correct with a few things added or deleted as necessary for the flow of the narrative. I am impressed with the author and will read more of her work. If you are interested in the Hapsburgs and their reign in Bavaria, you will definitely enjoy this book. I would also recommend it for anyone interested in Sisi. She may have started out as an accidental queen, but she certainly didn't remain that way.
"Could not stop listening"
I could not stop listening to this book! Wonderfully written, exciting and highly emotional. I adored this book and you might just adore it too. After visiting the Schönbrunn palace in Vienna I fell in love with Empress Sisi and longed to know more. This book was absolutely perfect! I know when I next visit Vienna I will want to go back to the palace and it will be even more special.
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