Read Sisi: Empress on Her Own by Allison Pataki Online


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel byAllison 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, ElisabethNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel byAllison 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 Andrassy, 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."...

Title : Sisi: Empress on Her Own
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780812989335
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 480 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sisi: Empress on Her Own Reviews

  • Sara
    2019-04-20 21:04

    Edit: April 4/4/15A lot of you lovely commentators have been asking me for recommendations for Sisi books I actually enjoyed. I'm happy to very highly recommend a book I've finally, finally managed to review called Stealing Sisi's Star: How a Master Thief Nearly Got Away with Austria's Most Famous Jewel by the very talented Jennifer Bahaney (who you may recognize from her helpful comments in this review when she kindly corrected all the stuff I got wrong about the real empress!). She very kindly offered me a copy of her book and I'm very pleased to recommend it to all of you!!!! I was seriously amazed I'd never even heard this crazy story before, some of it is honestly too crazy by crappy Hollywood B movie standards but apparently it all really happened!!! Check it out! Yes, its a shamelessly fawning review but I swear we do not know each other are neither related, married, or the same person!From the Journal of Her Highness Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Queen Consort of Bohemia and Croatia -Dear Diary,OMG being empress is like so totally hard! Everyone keeps expecting me to do stuff like "rule" and "pay attention to my kids" and all I want to do is go horseback riding! I love horses. They're so pretty and they run so fast and I'm such a totally kickass rider! Vienna so totally sucks anyway. Franz keeps insisting I go to all these state functions. He's all worried about some stupid impending world war and government stuff. I totally took care of that whole Hungarian thing already! What else does he want me to do!?Dear Diary:I went riding today. I'm awesome at riding!Dear Diary:I love Hungary!!! I'm never leaving!!! No one understands when I try to explain how the twilight is different here than anywhere else. Its like they think that's just some stupid faux poetic bullshit that doesn't actually mean anything and is totally pretentious but kind of sounds like what someone deeply romantic and amazing would say.Dear Diary:I went riding today. I'm awesome at riding!Dear Diary:I went riding today. I'm awesome at riding!(the above entry subsequently appears everyday for the next ten years)Dear Diary:The kids will NOT listen to me AT all! No one understands why I won't like help them with their problems since I whined so much in my last book about how much I wanted to take care of them. Don't they know its my evil dying mother-in-laws fault!? Its aaaallllwwwaayyyssss her fault!!!!*sigh* Andrassay's so hot....Dear Diary:I love Andrassayyyyyyyyy!!!!Dear Diary:Andrassay is so mean! He won't help me get Italy back for my sister! He's just like Franz! He doesn't even want me to go on my two year long vacations anymore!!!!Dear Diary:I think Rudolph is a serial killer. I'm almost positive that in years to come this will literally never be a thing anyone suggests about him but my editor says people don't want to read so many chapters about horse back riding and my love life so we're throwing this in to help sales.Dear Diary:I love England!!!! I'm gonna stay here FOREVER! Yay horsies!!!! Queen Victoria who?Dear Diary:Bay is so totally hawt. I love Bay.Dear Diary:Booo Vienna...Rudolph's getting married to a really ugly princess. I wish I could advise him about this but that would mean talking to him and I don't want to do that. Huh, my daughter got married. Nobody told me!!! Wow, I have a grandaughter? I'm too young to be a grandmother!!!! WWWWWAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! Oh look a horsey!Dear Diary:I love Bay sooooo much.(the rest of the journal is filled with repeated references to horseback riding, how much the empress hates everything that isn't riding, and probably references to a bunch more hawt guys because I am giving up on this horrible, boring book and simply do not care anymore).Final Entry:Dear Diary:Some weirdo just poked me with a stick. I wonder how my horsies are? Is that blood!?

  • Linda
    2019-05-04 19:03

    I received a copy of Sisi: Empress on Her Own by Allison Pataki through NetGalley. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing, and to Allison Pataki for the opportunity.Draw back the lush velvet draperies of the Habsburg Dynasty and you will stare into the soleful eyes of a young woman ill-prepared for the royal life unveiled to her. Sisi is but sixteen years old when she becomes the bride of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary. She has taken residence at Godollo, a palatial country estate outside of Budapest in 1868.Allison Pataki takes special care in her depiction of Sisi. She has absolutely armed herself with indepth research for the time period and for the historical facts surrounding the Habsburg Dynasty. Her writing is rich with details and her portrayal of Sisi is quite an undertaking. Ms. Pataki adheres to an abundance of background information and historical logistics that, at times, can bog down the storyline much to the chagrin of the reader.Sisi is hardly a linear character. She is a complicated, multi-faceted, reactionary to her previous upbringing and to her royal set of circumstances. Sisi finds herself at the receiving end of those who outrank, out number, and out manuever her. The young empress is at the mercy of an extremely judgmental, disapproving court. Her own mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie, has an iron will and has taken over the role of raising Sisi's own children. My sympathy for Sisi was short-lived. Her son, Crown Prince Rudolf, was subjected to extremely harsh and abusive conditions in his early preparations for royal life. We understand that this was the reality of the times. However, we also understand that Sisi's intervention was weak at best. She became all but a phantom of a mother in regard to her children. Some circumstances were beyond her control and some circumstances were due to the lack of assertiveness on her part. Royalty, at times, relinquished parental rights and all suffered greatly because of it.Sisi was obsessed with her beauty and with her hour-upon-hour of regiments to uphold a flawless facade. Lacking control in her public life was a causal factor for Sisi to be engulfed in her own personal pleasures of horseback riding, the royal court, and pursuit of Count Andrassy, the Prime Minister. Custom, order, and tradition were the ways of imperial protocol and Sisi was totally immersed.Sisi found a bit of refuge in her cousin, King Ludwig of Bavaria, who lived in a remote mountain castle of Neuschwanstein. However, "Luddie" was not the most stable of characters. Sisi became crushed under the weight of tragedies. Her father died in 1888, her son Rudolf in 1889, her sister in 1890, and both her mother and her lover, Count Andrassy, died in 1892.Royalty does not prepare you, nor is it inclined to insulate you, for the devastations of life. Sisi was weighed down in life by more than the carat weight of her crown. No cluster of precious pearls nor richness of rubies could ever replace the jewel that Sisi sought to possess......true motherhood in its finest array.

  • Erin
    2019-05-16 00:10

    Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....*** NOTE: This review contains spoilers. Please take heed and proceed at your own risk. I love the Hapsburgs. Their history fascinates me and I was understandably intrigued when I learned that Allison Pataki had chosen to feature Empress Elisabeth as a fictional heroine. I was overjoyed to get an ARC of The Accidental Empress, but the reality of the novel didn’t live up to my expectations. That said, my two year experience with the first book proved I was too addicted to the subject matter to walk away from the series and challenged me to approach the sequel, Sisi: Empress on Her Own, with a more open mind. Resolved to give the author the benefit of the doubt, I jumped straight into the latter and did my best to remain objective. Did the effort pay off? Sort of. The novel incorporated a number of references and I enjoyed the game I made of picking out historically relevant cameos, but I fell into old habits and quickly found myself wrestling to rectify the fiction against my own inner dialogue and understanding of the royal family. Fair warning folks, what follows is a soapbox series of complaints by an exceedingly nitpicky reader. I’m bias and make no apologies for it, but please keep in mind my ‘enthusiasm’ relates to my passion for the material and is not necessarily even-keeled. Spoilers abound in the following paragraphs. Consider yourself warned.I feel the strongest moments of the narrative were the scenes relayed from Luigi’s point of view, but I am frustrated to report that these passages couldn’t have played out as presented in the book. Pataki’s illustration of Sisi’s assassination includes an evening of premeditation that contradicts the timeline. Luigi’s intended target was Philippe, Duke of Orleans, but a change of plans meant the Duke was elsewhere. Frustrated, Luigi looked for a new mark and settled on Sisi after finding her name in the local paper. The paper was published on September 10th, the same day Sisi was assassinated which means Luigi could not have meditated on her death the night before and while that observation means little in the grand scheme of things, I couldn’t help feeling the dramatic shift in context minimized the tragedy of the Empress’ death. She was selected as a target only hours before the attack which made it a crime of opportunity and I am not comfortable with the liberty taken in white washing that fact as it gave Sisi’s assassin far more credit than he is due.I also struggled with the lack of complexity between Elisabeth and Franz. Pataki’s interpretation is very black and white, but I have reason to believe the marriage was in fact much more complicated. In a letter to his mistress, Franz Joseph wrote the following: “We are quite well physically. The Empress has taken up her lessons again... and she devotes herself to the study of modern Greek with her usual zeal, in her room and in her walks in the garden. It is a necessary distraction for her, and Valerie reads to her in the evenings before we retire, while I fall off to sleep in a very comfortable reclining chair. Otherwise, the Empress is composed, and occupied only with her concern for my welfare and for cheering me, but still I notice how utterly the deep, secret grief fills her. She is a great, rare woman!” Their history is convoluted and while their union did not have the hallmarks of a passionate romance, the Emperor’s correspondence appears to indicate that despite their difficulties, the two were companionable, warm, and mutually supportive of one another. Those familiar with my comments on Daisy Goodwin’s The Fortune Hunter understand that I was a not a fan of the novel. The idea of Sisi doning her famed star jewels for an informal evening tryst in the stables of an English country estate still makes me laugh, but the fact remains that Goodwin spent a lot of time researching Sisi’s beauty regime and the details she worked into her novel earned her a degree of admiration from yours truly (Details on Goodwin’s firsthand research can be found here). Pataki, by contrast, makes no mention of Sisi’s extreme dedication to her physical appearance and I couldn’t help asking myself why. Sisi’s features and fashion choices made her a legend in her own lifetime and I found it difficult to understand how such an intense routine could be so completely omitted from a story centered on the ‘most beautiful woman in the world,’ especially when said rituals are referenced in the historic notes at the end of the novel in question.Mayerling makes its first appearance as the setting for a meeting between Elisabeth and Andrassy just after the World Fair in 1873. Pataki paints it as a royal property, but here again I found myself nitpicking. The notorious locale was acquired by Rudolf in 1887 from the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz which had owned it since 1550. This understanding being firmly rooted in my mind, I couldn't see the fictional scene as plausible and consequently assume it was invented to draw a tragic parallel between mother and son. I'll grant it's a creative idea, but I personally found it distasteful. After the incident, Franz Joseph ordered the property be converted to a convent and the Empress commissioned a striking and oddly prophetic Madonna for the chapel. In my eyes, the existence of this memorial is evidence of the deep and unrelenting pain Sisi associated with Mayerling and I don’t think the fiction recognizes those emotions.Politically speaking, Sisi character shows significant inconsistencies. There are discussions with Franz, Andrassy, Ludwig that show her as possessing a great deal of political acumen. I personally agreed with this interpretation, but my opinion on that point is entirely irrelevant. I’d have been just as happy if Sisi had been painted as an independent, self-indulgent, social butterfly, but the fact that she flits back and forth between the two was difficult to swallow. Sisi couldn’t have been fiercely passionate about her role as Empress and repelled by execution of her imperial duties at the same time and as a reader, I found the inherent contradiction disorienting.I understand Sisi to have been a complicated and deeply troubled soul with a host of personal demons, but Pataki’s Sisi was largely preoccupied with and defined by her love life. I struggled with that, but at the end of the day I don't hold it against the author. Pataki's understanding differs from my own, but I'd vowed to let go of my own preconceptions and at least try appreciate the character as Pataki envisioned her. I made a point of examining the contrasts Pataki created in Sisi's relationships with Franz, Andrassy, and Bay and ultimately appreciated those themes a great deal. On a similar note, I was also deeply impressed with Pataki's illustration of the Emperor's relationship with Katharina Schratt.Chapter Fifteen was not my favorite as it omits much and peddles a number of anachronisms, but this review is long enough and I think I've illustrated my feelings well enough. When all is said and done, Sisi: Empress on Her Own is stronger than its predecessor and I'm glad to have read it, but that said, I found the completed work both unconvincing and inconsistent and would have difficulty recommending it forward.

  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    2019-05-07 23:52

    What I'm enjoying about this second book about the Empress Elizabeth is the deliberate placement in history her story takes. King Ludwig, Prince Frederick and Princess Victoria, Esterhazy, Lord Spencer, Tsar Alexander are all in the storyline, and Jack the Ripper as well as Sigmund Freud were mentioned.Sisi was married to Franz Joseph during the golden age of the Austrian-Hungary empire. In book two Sisi continues her personal practical exile from court this time visiting the fox hunting manors of the English countryside and where she meets one of the loves of her life, Bay Middleton. Throughout the book, we read vignettes from a peasant with a death wish named Luigi. His importance to the life of Empress Elisabeth was completely unknown to me. Part of me wishes I had been kept in the dark til the end. The two tragedies she faces are the deposition of her cousin, the Mad King Ludwig, and the combustion of her son, Rudolf. Nothing like his father and tortured by his tutors as a child, he grows to be an alcoholic, drug user, philanderer, and sadist. His legend his well known to history.The grief Franz Joseph faces at the end of the book broke my heart. The author's expressiveness in the last few chapters is put to good use. There is so much sadness and death. I truly felt it and even thought about copying a couple of paragraphs to keep in my journal. Then I remembered I don't have one. Hmmmm

  • Lolly's Library
    2019-05-07 01:12

    4.5 starsAs we learned in The Accidental Empress (which one must really read in order to understand Sisi's motivations and emotional handicaps, and not ignorantly write her off simply as a spoiled horse-lover), Elisabeth was not born to the position of Empress. Her childhood was unbelievably free and unstructured; her parents allowed her and her siblings to run wild, literally, through the Bavarian countryside. She never had to deal with convoluted and constricting rules of etiquette, procedures which dictated her every move from the moment she woke to the moment she went to sleep. So when she married Franz Joseph and became Empress, and found herself trapped by this system of stultifying rules, some of which were so ridiculous as to be unbelievable (there was a top-secret "Imperial Fold" of the napkin, people, that was a guarded state secret passed down orally to only a few living people at a time; that's the kind of detail-oriented, anal-retentive system we're talking about), her response was to run away. So that's what she did, through most of her career as Empress. And when she couldn't run away, she learned to control those few things which hadn't been stripped away from her: her toilette and dress, her exercise regimen, her diet, and her corset, all of which became near-obsessive rituals as the years went on, creating a woman who was more statue than human. But a beautiful statute nonetheless, one that became a favorite of newspapers and photographers, who documented her every look and action, turning her into a fashion icon and her style into the aspiration of thousands of women.In Sisi: Empress on Her Own we see a woman who has lost some of the fragility of the earlier novel, who has grown strong from her success in helping creating the Austro-Hungrarian dual monarchy, who has found fulfillment in raising her third and final child far away from the stifling Hapsburg court, a child she's almost smothered with her thwarted maternal feelings. And yet this is still a woman who can't figure out how to have a relationship with her two older children, who can't figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of the Hapsburg's Hofburg Palace without courting controversy or comment, who still hasn't yet come to grips with the enormity of her role as Empress. Pataki brings Sisi to life in all her heartbreaking, confounding, frustrating glory in a portrayal that's both sympathetic and unflinching in showing Sisi's flaws. After all, as Pataki says in her author's note, Sisi inexplicably stayed out of her son's, Crown Prince Rudolf's, life even though he displayed the same sensitive, high-strung temperament as she and would most likely have benefited from a closer relationship. Sisi also refused to intervene in Rudolf's marriage to Princess Stephanie of Belgium, vowing to be unlike her interfering mother-in-law Princess Sophie, even though she knew the marriage would create only unhappiness on both sides. And Sisi never seemed interested in regaining a relationship with her eldest daughter, Gisela, for what reason, as Pataki states, we can't know, but that lack of interest simply adds to the frustration we feel toward Sisi.One of the interesting aspects of the book was watching the descent into madness, through Sisi's eyes, of King Ludwig of Bavaria, Sisi's cousin. Ludwig was yet another tortured soul, much like Sisi, who threw his country into bankruptcy with his reckless building projects, which were undeniably magnificent (like the remote mountain castle Neuschwanstein) but just as undeniably frivolous, and into scandal with his strangely intimate relationship with the composer Richard Wagner. There is a reason Sisi and King Ludwig II are referred to as the "Fairy Queen" and the "Fairy Tale King" as they both seemed to be slightly not quite of this world, as if they were perhaps changelings left in place of their more mundane copies. After Ludwig's sudden, mysterious death in 1886, Sisi's life seemed to become one, long string of tragedies: her father died in 1888, her son Rudolf died in 1889 in the scandalous murder-suicide with his lover, Mary Vetsera, which became known as the Mayerling Incident after the hunting lodge where they were discovered, her sister died in 1890 along with Sisi's close friend (and rumored lover) Count Andrassy, and her mother died in 1892. Is it any wonder that after Rudolf's death it was rumored that Sisi dressed in black for the remainder of her life?Pataki's writing is rich, dramatic, lush, confident, and an utter joy to read. As another reviewer pointed out, one finishes this book with a great many "What if?" scenarios running through one's head, a great many questions and a near-sadness over the choices made by and made for Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Sisi: Empress on Her Own is a book that leaves you wondering, pondering, and wanting to know more, and that is the sign of a well-written, well-researched, well-structured book. (Just for comparison, Philippa Gregory's books simply leave me wondering how the hell she got published in the first place, so putting her and Pataki together in the same league is a head-scratcher for me.)

  • Susan
    2019-05-02 23:54

    During the time period this novel covers, Empress Elisabeth of Austria may have been fascinating, but she did not evoke sympathy. During the time period the first novel "The Accidental Empress" covered, Sisi was a young, naive girl who had spent a carefree, unstructured, unrestrained childhood and then was put in a difficult situation, not of her choosing. She was not the first or the last to marry into a difficult or challenging royal situation. The way a person meets their challenges shows their true character. Sisi chose to literally run away from her challenges involving the royal court, her marriage, and her two elder children. Sisi fled from her husband and children, as well as her duties at court, by frequent traveling. Because of the nature of the historical Sisi, she does not make a sympathetic character in this novel at all. Instead, she is selfish and self-centered, and that is the major problem with this novel. I simply can't find anything to like about her.The first half of the novel was OK, but somewhere near the middle it started to really drag. I've been to all the Habsburg sites in Vienna, but I would have appreciated more description as Sharon Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick do in their medieval works. Those authors make readers feels as if they are there with the characters. There was too much wonderings of Sisi with too many rhetorical questions (pages and pages of wonderings) and too much about riding horses and Bay Middleton, so I started to skim. There were too many errors with facts that could have been easily checked, so I started to ask myself if I could trust any facts at all. Yes, it is historical fiction and I will give historical fiction writers some artistic license, but I do expect some things to be factual. The following are just several of the things I have issues with. I am a Queen Victoria and family buff and the factual errors about her children drove me bonkers!1) When she visited the World's Fair in Vienna in 1873, Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia, the eldest child of Queen Victoria, was not a "young princess" or living in her "new home Berlin." So very wrong and so easy to check facts. Crown Princess Victoria was born in 1840 (she was 33 when she visited Vienna) and was only three years younger than Sisi (born in 1837, she was 36 at the time of the World's Fair). Victoria married in 1858, had lived in Berlin for 15 years and was the mother of eight children by the time of the Vienna visit.2) "Edward was closer in age to Rudolf than Frederick had been..." insinuating Albert Edward (not Edward, see #3) and Rudolf would have more in common. OK, but Albert Edward was still 17 years older than Rudolf. They were hardly contemporaries. Rudolf was a 15-year-old and Albert Edward was a 32-year-old married man with five children. Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia was born in 1831, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales was born in 1841, Crown Prince Rudolf was born in 1858. 3) Queen Victoria's eldest son and heir would never have been called "Prince Edward". His name was Albert Edward and his title was Prince of Wales, not "Crown Prince." He would have been called The Prince of Wales or if using "Prince," Prince Albert Edward. He was called Bertie in the family. He used his second name when he became king, reigning as King Edward VII, but he was still called Bertie in the family. He chose to reign as Edward (his mother wanted him to reign as Albert Edward) so as not to diminish the status of his father's name.4) Rudolf bought Mayerling in 1886 and converted it into a hunting lodge. Previously, it was a possession of the nearby Heiligenkreuz Abbey for over 300 years and was not a Habsburg royal hunting lodge as stated at the time Sisi rode to it in the novel. I also doubt Sisi would have been allowed to ride the 25 or so miles from Vienna to Mayerling alone and in the winter, and the 25 miles is using today's roads. I've driven from Vienna to Mayerling, which is literally in the middle of nowhere. Once we got off the highway, it was all country roads. It took about 1 1/2 hours to drive there. Sisi would have been riding 50 or so miles (back and forth from Vienna and Mayerling) in one day in winter conditions, probably unlikely in reality.5) It's stated that Rudolf could not marry any of Queen Victoria's daughters because they were Church of England. In 1881, when Rudolf married, all the daughters but one, the youngest Beatrice, had been married for years. Beatrice was born in 1857, her sisters were much older, born 1840 - 1848. Yes, make the case that there were not a lot of Catholic princesses, but not that Queen Victoria's daughters could have been major prospects if only they were Catholics.6) “...the young German emperor, younger than Rudolf , will expect to be honored as an old friend" Kaiser Wilhelm II was only five months younger than Rudolf which is insignificant, and yes, Wilhelm would expect to be treated as a friend as Austria and Germany had a treaty.

  • Marla
    2019-05-09 22:02

    This is a wonderful story. Allison does a great job of bringing these historical figures to life. I found it so interesting that I started Googling the different people to see what they looked like and to read about them. I felt sorry for Sisi because she thought she had true love with Franz but like history, the Emperor can have a mistress but the Empress can't have one. Sisi fell in love with a couple men who could never be with her romantically. I didn't know there was an Emperor in the late 1800's like them who ruled several countries. This was well worth my time. I do recommend reading Accidental Empress first. You will not be disappointed.I won this on Goodreads.

  • Sophia
    2019-05-17 21:46

    The Accidental Empress was a book that really captivated me. Partly because of the author's writing style, but mostly because, while I knew a smidgen about Empress Elisabeth of the Hapsburgs, I didn't know much so I was eager to get her story.Sisi: Empress on Her Own takes up where The Accidental Empress left off and follows the middle and later years of Sisi's life which also happens to coincide with the latter years of the Austrian Empire of the Hapsburgs. I appreciate how the author paid attention to historical detail even while she didn't bury the story in minutiae. There is so much here that I feel to do what she did in a duology was to pick and choose what to include that would further her story of Sisi along. I say it that way on purpose because I'm pretty sure that- as it is with any historical figure written about in a fiction story- its a take on that person and not a biography.In the first book, I had a great sympathy for Sisi and was rooting for her to come into her own. This book struck me rather differently. While this is the story of the Empress who broke away from the court and was allowed to live her own life, I was constantly struck by a person who was extremely self-absorbed. The Sisi of this story lived her own life on her own terms and refused to give attention to her duty- at least not for very long- as Empress and wife and mother. She kept falling for men (three of them) whose duty took them elsewhere, but she couldn't see why this had to be. This woman was a runner. Constantly running away from anything that cut up her peace and then once she got where she was going, she wasn't satisfied there either. The most beautiful woman in the world, an Empress, treated well by her husband (as state marriages go) and she shuns it all only to sit there wondering why her people rip her to shreds in the newpapers and why her own children want nothing to do with her. I think this portrayed the humanity in her and her flaws mingled with her strengths rather well.So, while I enjoyed learning more about Sisi the Empress and her personal life, I think the biggest enjoyment from this book was the overall history of the times and the colorful people Sisi encountered. I got emotional near the end because I was attached as Sisi was to many of these people. And yes, it is so sad to think how she met her death.All in all, I'm glad to have gotten this second half of her story. I definitely want to read more about the key figures in this story including Sisi and I like the author's writing so I want to get more of her work, too.I received this book from Penguin-Random House in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-13 21:43

    Thank-you to NetGalley for my advanced reading copy of this novel.This was a wonderfully written novel that I enjoyed immensely. After reading “The Accidental Empress” I was pleasantly surprised to discover there was a sequel, as I was eager to learn more about Empress “Sisi” of Austria-Hungary.This novel begins where the last novel left us and therefore I strongly recommend reading them in order. I enjoyed this novel even more than I did the first one as I found it to be more educational about who Sisi was as a person and how she dealt with the issues in her life.Sisi is a much stronger, independent woman in this novel and I was intrigued to learn how she was able to cope with the rigid structure of being a Hapsburg and all that it entailed. She struck me as a true free spirit–a “Fairy Queen” as she was named by her people–and therefore she ran away from the Hapsburg court as often as she could.I do not use the term “ran away” lightly. There were many things that I felt Sisi was running away from, to name a few: the slander about her in the press, the tension between her husband and her son, even the prospect of too many Imperial functions would cause her to flee at times. If you read this novel by itself I could see how it may cause you to view Sisi as selfish and irresponsible, however if read after “The Accidental Empress” it becomes evident that Sisi HAS to take a step back from these things for her own well-being of body and mind. This is a woman with a much better handle on herself and her emotions than the Sisi of the first novel. I really enjoyed seeing this change in her and therefore found myself rooted firmly in her camp when it came to the backlash surrounding her urge to flee the court.Yet this is not to say that I agreed with every decision she made. Her avoidance of her son’s issues in particular was disturbing to me. The author voices this same concern in her author’s note. The author muses upon whether or not the lack of control Sisi had in her children’s upbringing led to this distancing of herself from them later in life. Another thought is that she was reluctant to exert any kind of influence or control in fear of being too much like her mother-in-law Archduchess Sophie, who strove to control the Imperial Family’s every move. It was upsetting to read of the deteriorating relationship between Crown Prince Rudolf and his parents. I couldn’t help but wonder if the fate of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire would have been different if their relationship had not become so strained. I was amazed by some of the events that transpired in the family. As the author states in her author’s note: “one cannot make this stuff up”.A particularly fascinating figure that appeared in this novel was Sisi’s cousin, King Ludwig II of Bavaria. “Mad King Ludwig” is most famously known for his creation of Neuschwanstein, the extraordinary fairy-tale castle set amongst the mountains of Western Bavaria. Ludwig was an eccentric recluse who became the patron of the composer Richard Wagner. He bankrupted himself through his building work and his patronage of Wagner, causing serious discontentment in the Bavarian government. Although it was mostly through letters written between him and Sisi, the author still managed to create a vivid character in Ludwig that I greatly enjoyed reading about. I adored the descriptions of Neuschwanstein that were shown to us through Sisi’s eyes and I found myself staring at photographs of the castle in wonder. Ludwig’s story is a sad one but his legacy of Neuschwanstein is awe-inspiring all the same.Overall I really enjoyed this novel and I was able to get a good sense of who Empress Sisi actually was. Her life story is very interesting and there are many things that are curious enough to give me pause for thought. I’ve found myself pondering many “what-ifs” after finishing this novel and this is truly a sign of a good read: one that stays with me for a long time afterwards. I am very glad to have read this pair of absorbing, intriguing and well-written novels.

  • Petra Miocic
    2019-04-28 21:10 Sve djevojčice maštaju o tome da jednog dana postanu princeze, sanjare o raskošnoj odjeći, veličanstvenom dvorcu i zaljubljenom, zauvijek odanom princu. Djevojački su snovi, kažu, danas ponešto osuvremenjeni jer vrijeme princeza odavno je prošlo. Osim u bajkama gdje one žive i dalje, a upravo su bajke krive za čarobnu koprenu kojom su zakriljeni ne toliko bajkoviti prinčevski životi. Stvarni prinčevski životi. I tako, svaka djevojčica mašta o tome da postane princeza misleći kako će joj upravo to osigurati njeno sretno do kraja života. Postoje, ipak, i one rijetke među djevojčicama čija se sloboda ne dopušta ukrotiti, čiji se nemir ne da zauzdati krunom i čiji su snovi ponešto drugačiji. A upravo je jednoj takvoj namijenjena uloga ne princeze već carice na najvelebnijem, ali i najstrožem od svih dvorova druge polovice devetnaestog stoljeća; onom austrougarskom.Kada bi priča o carici Elizabeti Austrijskoj, od milja prozvanoj Sisi i njenom suprugu, austrijskom caru Franji Josipu potekla iz pera neke maštovite autorice povijesnih ljubića i kada njeno uporište ne bi bilo tako čvrsto ukorijenjeno u povijesnoj zbilji, njihova bi ljubav možda i mogla imati sretan kraj, a kći bavarskog nadvojvode, slučajna carica, pronašla bi svoje sretno do kraja života. Ali nije. Premda povijest Elizabetu Austrijsku nije zapamtila po važnim preustrojima dvorskog života, čeličnoj volji ili svakodnevnom savjetovanju supruga pri državničkim poslovima, Sisi su povijesnom zaboravu otrgli neuobičajen način života i nepokoravanje dvorskim konvencijama. Prije no osobu, povijest je upamtila mit. Književnost je, kao i mnogo puta ranije, od mita načinila legendu.Mlada američka novinarka i spiateljica Allison Pataki nije se prva našla na putu rasvjetljavanja Sisina mita. Vjerojatno nije ni posljednja, ali njena knjiga Sisi : U potrazi za slobodom idealiziranu caricu prikazuje bez filtera, u nešto promijenjenom, jasnijem svjetlu. Bilo zbog povijesnog ili geografskog odmaka, Pataki je u svom romanu Sisi udahnula život na način koji su svi dosadašnji književni proučavatelji njena života izbjegavali, skinula ju je s trona nedodirljive, nepogrešive i vječno prognjene, idealizirane careve žene i na njena leđa položila dio krivnje za događaje što su se oko nje odvijali. Na taj joj je način, možda, oduzela ponešto od čarobne prašine kojom je priča o vilinskoj kraljici obavijena više od stoljeća, no poklonila joj je nešto mnogo vrijednije, učinila ju je vladaricom vlastitog života.U potrazi za slobodom čitatelju neće otkriti kako je došlo do sjajnog zaljubljivanja mladog cara u njegovu vragolastu bavarsku rođakinju, kako su zbog te ljubavi otkazane unaprijed dogovorene zaruke između Franje Josipa i Sisine starije sestre Helene te kroz što je sve mlada i naivna, za život na dvoru nepripremljena, a ipak carica prošla u prvim godinama svog bračnog i carskog života. Za to je bio zadužen, u nas nepreveden, prvi dio duologije o Sisinu životu iz Patakiina pera naslovljen Slučajna carica. Otkrit će mu, ipak, koliko je nemira bilo u tridesetogodišnjoj ženi koju na početku romana susreće i koliko ga je preostalo u šezdesetogodišnjakinji od koje se na koncu oprašta, koliko je čežnje za povratkom bilo u svakom od njenih bjegova i koliki su razmjeri utamničenja što ga je, ma koliko slobodna bila ili mislila da jest, uvijek nosila sa sobom. Otkrit će mu svu dubinu caričine potrebe za iluzijom, za prividom, za osjećajem čiji ju je nedostatak proždirao, a nije zapravo bila sigurna postoji li taj osjećaj uopće.Iluzija… to je ono u što smo, kao da svojim romanom poručuje Allison Pataki, navikli gledati kada uperimo pogled u austrougarsku caricu, šećući sobama Hofburga, promatrajući njene portrete, gledajući filmove o njenu životu ili iščitavajući njegove romansirane inačice. Iluzija je ono što je Elizabeti Austrijskoj bilo potrebno kako bi se sačuvala od povijesnog zaborava, od protoka vremena.Iako ga je sama smatrala jednim od svojih najvećih neprijatelja, vrijeme je i sada prema njoj blagonaklono, čuvajući uspomenu, ne dopuštajući mitu da izblijedi i da osoba iza mita padne u zaborav. U tom je smislu Sisi : U potrazi za slobodom vrijedno djelo jer prikazuje caricu razotkrivajući sve njene mane, a ne oduzimajući previše od njene ljupkosti. Svatko je od nas barem jednom pomislio kako bi lijepo bilo, poput Petra Pana, nikada ne odrasti. Allison Pataki iz povijesnih čitanki preuzima ženu i na njenom nam primjeru prikazuje kolike bi to potešoće nosilo sa sobom. Jer vrijeme se mijenja i mi se, htjeli ili ne, moramo mijenjati s njim. Kako na makrorazini, tako i na onoj vrlo osobnoj.

  • Annette
    2019-05-15 20:50

    This is the story of Sisi, Empress Elisabeth of Austro-Hungarian Empire, unhappily married to Emperor Franz Joseph in the mid-nineteenth century. She looks for happiness in the arms of Hungarian statesman Count Andrassy as they share unhappy marriages. Later in the arms of Captain Bay Middleton as they share passion for horses, when she arrives for the legendary hunting season in England.The book starts with Sisi debating why twilight looks different in Hungary than in Austria due to her unhappiness and that goes for about two pages. You have to like this kind of writing to be able to go through with this book. If you liked part I, The Accidental Empress, then you probably will like this book. If you didn’t, then I doubt you will like it.Sisi in her childhood enjoyed informal and unstructured upbringing. Therefore, she had difficulty adapting to the life at Hofburg Palace and its rigid protocols and strict etiquette. Her children except the youngest one were snatched from her by her mother-in-law, Princess Sophie. She suffered greatly, because of that. Unfortunately, the way the story is presented in this book is not gratifying for Sisi. She is not a likeable character. She is full of self-pity. We all should feel very sorry for her. What she cares most about is her lover.Overall, the writing is poor with vain descriptions, not reflecting a skillful story-telling. The author lists the rigid rules of Habsburg’s court as they came up with the court rules and no other court had any of them. In terms of historical figures, I am not a fan of Sisi. However, the author doesn’t do her justice with this story.

  • Tess
    2019-04-22 19:56

    **I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from LibraryThing**"Sisi: Empress On Her Own" is the heartbreaking story of Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary. Maybe not a household name today, Empress Elizabeth (known to her friends and family by her nickname “Sisi”) was a celebrity in her day, a trend-setter and legendary beauty who was simultaneously adored and picked apart by her public, her every move a subject of scrutiny for the newspapers and gossip columns.I had no idea what to expect when I picked this up, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to fall in love with the characters the way I did. I’d never heard of Sisi and knew next to nothing about the Hapsburgs. Pataki says it best in the afterward: “This [story] was a fairy tales meets a Shakespearean tragedy meets a family soap opera meets an international saga.” Pataki’s use of luscious historical detail and meticulous research make Sisi and her world come alive, and the story swept me along from the first pages right until the end. I really enjoyed Pataki's writing style and pacing, and will be looking up the rest of her books.

  • Erika Robuck
    2019-05-08 20:46

    From luscious moonlit gardens to sumptuous castles, the settings of SISI: EMPRESS ON HER OWN are as dazzling as those of Vienna’s Imperial Court Theater, and the drama enacted on its pages is no less impressive. Pataki resurrects the unforgettable Empress Elisabeth in a rich and exquisite tragedy of passion and heartbreak—a true tour de force.

  • Zeta Dina
    2019-05-17 00:53

    Zanimljivo je da mi ovaj dio povjesti nije ostao u sjecanju iz filmova o Sisi koje sam obozavala kao klinka. U ovoj drugoj knjizi, o njezinom zivotu nakon udaje i rodenja djece, Sisi je prikazana kao vrlo nesretna zena, koja smatra da je jednostavnije od svega pobjeci nego li se s problemima suociti. Mozda je zbilja bilo tako najlakse s obzirom na njezinu funkciju i neimanje nekog prava glasa unatoc cinjenici da je carica.U njizi je prikazana carska obitelj koja se raspada po svim savovima, ali jos uvijek odrzava dojam velike skladne i utjecajne obitelji, kako i sama pravila nalazu. Sisi je bila miljenica cijeloga svijeta ali iz ovoga djela mozemo zakljuciti da je njezin narod nije bas volio zbog njenih ucestalih izbivanja i ne davanja potpore Franji. Zapravo mi se cini da su on i Sisi zivjeli dva razlicita zivota u dva razlicita svijeta, on se drzao svojih duznosti i pravila koja su nametnuta od strane njegove majke Sofije i dvora, a ona je bjezala od svega, pokusavala uzivati u zivotu i trazeci svoju srecu dalje od vlastita doma. Djelo je prozeto spletkama, ogovaranjima, prevarama i svim ostalim oblicima pretvaranja.Lijepo i kvalitetno ispricana prica, iako sam ocekivala vise opisa i koristenja epiteta koji bi me prenjeli u samo doba njihove vladavine i raskosi koja ih je okruzivala.

  • Tracy
    2019-04-19 23:57

    I highly recommend reading this book after its predecessor, The Accidental Empress. Otherwise it's like stepping into the middle of a play and trying to figure out what's happening. Growing up as a kid and in my teenage years I heard mention of the Habsburgs quite a bit. I never knew who they were or where they were from. I certainly do now and I found the whole thing fascinating! Sisi reminds me of Princess Diana a bit. Her story is tragic. Her life is full of love and loss. She had quite some power and didn't always know how to use it. I enjoyed learning about Sisi, Mad King Ludwig, Franz Joseph, Rudolph and even Hungary. I would love to visit Vienna and see the Hofburg Palace where Sisi felt so trapped. If you enjoy historical fiction, this 2 book series about Sisi is worth it.

  • Nicko D
    2019-04-21 20:50

    Боже, преди седмица викам я да изчистя каквото съм завлачил и започнах Сиси, че ми бяха останали стотина страници.Донапънах я, тея дни ревю, че се събраха много :)

  • Clare O'Beara
    2019-04-30 21:03

    This imagined memoir of Sisi, the Empress of Austria-Hungary, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph, dovetails with the facts recorded in 'Elizabeth, Empress of Austria', by Conte Corti, Egon Caesar. The Count collected memories and papers shortly after the First World War which scattered the Empire and along with original sources has provided a good look at this great beauty of her day. This tale begins as Sisi has decided to rear her fourth child, a daughter, herself. By maintaining her partial independence and riding as frequently as she could, whether across the plains of Hungary or in Britain and Ireland to hounds, Sisi kept herself fit and well, unlike many nobles who became swollen and gouty from rich living. Her dresses set the world's fashions and her hair took two hours to wash, dress and twine with jewels and flowers before state occasions. And occasions there were, from visiting dignitaries in her palace to hosting the World's Fair. Yet Sisi was not loved by all, from those Austrians who sneered at a Hungarian woman, to her controlling mother in law who removed her babies to be reared by stern tutors. By telling it from Sisi's point of view, the author enlists our sympathies for this lonely woman and warm mother, who had paintings of her favourite horses hung in her rooms while her secret lover was raised to a high ministerial post so he had to work closely with her husband. I found Sisi's cousin Ludwig of Bavaria a fascinating contrast. Unlike Franz Joseph the dutiful, Ludwig has bankrupted his kingdom by funding musician Wagner to create the Ring Cycle and building lavish castles above the Rhine. Sisi has to decide if her younger sister should marry this cousin - at the time in Europe, nobles had to marry those of equal stature and the same religion. The shock of the parliament in Bavaria deciding to oust Ludwig must have been astounding to Sisi who believed that nobles were immutably rulers. I also love the sequences set in England and Ireland, which was then a colony ruled by Britain, as Sisi travelled there to pursue her love of foxhunting. I'm surprised that the author has not used correct hunting terms; for instance she says 'the hounds' instead of hounds, and other mis-steps that would get Sisi thrown off the snobby field. Anyone interested in seeing how and why anarchism and the 'European sport' of assassination increased, along with the rise of Germany, to the extent of sparking WW1 on the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, will gain a great deal of understanding from reading this carefully layered book. As a novel it reads well though be prepared for some distressing scenes. I was sent an ARC by the publisher and Fresh Fiction. This is an unbiased review.

  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    2019-04-19 18:07

    I really loved The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki and was super-excited at the opportunity to read and review Sisi: Empress on Her Own. Unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me. I'm not sure if, in part at least, it's because I didn't read The Accidental Empress. I found the comparison to Princess Diana to be quite a stretch since Sisi seemed to face consistent criticism for her lack of attention to her royal duties and detachment from her subjects. There was really nothing about her I found endearing or relatable. In fact, I found her to be really seemed rather selfish. And though I'm sure that "troubled" would be the preferred light in which to paint her, I really just didn't get that. For example, when her daughter Gisela wrote imploring her to come home and address the cruel measures being used to discipline and strengthen the constitution of her young son Rudolph, she did do so, but she never followed through in any way to try to alleviate the emotional damage that had already been inflicted; in fact she turned an absolutely blind eye to his own cruel actions. Throughout the book, it seemed that she really just wanted to skate by, getting away with accepting the bare minimum of responsibilities. Though the result of a long marriage having gone loveless, she actually had many freedoms for a woman of that time and I would have liked to see her use them for endeavors that were not always self-serving. I suppose I just wanted her to be a stronger woman in general. One who would face her problems rather than run from them. I did enjoy learning about Sisi's cousin, Ludwig II of Bavaria, who proved to be an interesting story and character unto himself. Probably gay, an eccentric patron of the arts, a wild spender of his empire's fortunes, and possible clinically insane, he made for an actually likable, if not conventional man of his times. Throw in a suspicious and untimely death and there's another novel in the making, I think. Though I can't give this book an overwhelmingly positive review, I would certainly look forward to reading Allsion Pataki's next book. She's a great writer who clearly does her homework. I think part of the problem for me, with this book, is that I didn't find Sisi to be a great heroine. And while that not the author's fault, it's hard to separate from my overall feelings about the book. My rating: 3 starswww.litwitwineanddine.comMany thanks to Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Faouzia
    2019-04-21 21:55

    I would like to thank NetGalley, the Publisher and Author for the free copy of this amazing book.So, this was the fascinating life of "the most beautiful woman alive", this was the journey of the wonderful Sisi!! This was an amazing book and i can honestly say it is the best historical fiction i read so far.I was always fascinated by the story of Sisi, and i was very happy to read this book, as i gave me more insight into her life!It was really amazing to read all these names, that never fail to make me dream, in the same story: Sisi, Franz Joseph, Andrassy, Matser Strauss and his amazing waltzes, Wagner and his operas, even hints of Liszt and many others, i felt like stepping into history, actually living in that wonderful world, "the fairy tales" world. But also the protocols and "etiquette" world.The description of the events, the gatherings, the private life of the Empress and her travels, her relation ship with all those who were under her spell, was simply mind blowing!!You can feel that restraint, the agony, the sense of duty and all these emotions that make this wonder land not that wonderful for those who can't bear it.The style of the author was really good and interesting, she made all these fascinating character feel still alive, she brought back to life that long gone world.All through the book i felt that i am getting closer to Sisi, and even Franz, sharing their sorrows, , trying to understand their lives and choices, and at the end i felt that i lost that dear friend, i had tears in my eyes, as if she had just died!!One of the scenes that impressed me the most, was during the celebration of 40 years of the rule of Franz Joseph. When Master Johann Strauss started the Waltz he created specially for Franz, "The Emperor Waltz", the description of the music and its impact on Sisi and Franz made me cry, especially that i was listening to that same waltz while reading that part. I felt transported into that world.I also appreciated the final author's note, when she explained how she came across these information and how accurate they were. That was really great and true.All i can add, is that i loved this book more than i can describe and now i am looking forward very much to reading the first part of Sisi's story. I know it would be as good as this one.

  • Cheryl
    2019-05-16 21:49

    Elizabeth, Empress of Austria-Hungary and wife of Franz Joseph was considered to be one of the most beautiful and captivating women of her time. Franz Joseph had fallen madly in love with her. They married when Elizabeth, called Sisi by family and friends, was only fifteen. The Habsburg Court was one of the world’s most respected dynasties, and rules of behavior were expected to be strictly followed. Life for Sisi became unbearable as everything she said and did, as well as her appearance, was scrutinized, criticized, and written about. As life became more and more stifling, Sisi sought ways to find happiness and peace away from the Imperial Court. Using information taken from diaries, eyewitness accounts, letters, government reports, journals, and newspapers, Allison Pataki provides a well written historical novel which brings to life the Habsburg Dynasty and the world as it existed in the mid-nineteenth century. Readers of historical fiction will enjoy the story of the beautiful, strong-willed, and tragic figure known as Sisi. Thank you to Netgalley and Dial Press for giving me the opportunity to read the advanced copy of this fascinating novel which will be released in June 2016.

  • Juliet-Camille
    2019-05-08 22:02

    After The Accidental Empress, I had hoped things would get better, but they didn't.Sisi is absolutely a bitch.This is Sisi's response to life:This is Sisi's response to her children:

  • nikkia neil
    2019-04-26 18:57

    Thanks Random House Publishing Group - Random House and netgalley for this ARC.Packed with so much its hard to describe the feelings this novel gives you. We are virtually along with Sisi; her thoughts, dreams, and feelings are described in such a way that I feel like I can see her long hair and beautiful dresses now. This is only one great part of this novel because it covers the whole whirlwind lives of the Austrians. Learning about this part of history was done in such a painless passionate way.

  • Christine
    2019-04-22 22:00

    This is an enthralling fictional account of the famous Sisi, the Habsburg Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary. As the second book in Sisi's story, it covers the last 30 years of her life and the 19th century. In case you can't quite place her, it is her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph, who declared war on Serbia after his nephew and heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by an anarchist in Sarajevo. This began World War I and resulted in the loss of over sixteen million lives. Sisi is an amazing story and a most entertaining way to refresh your historical memory. Read it!

  • Kelli
    2019-05-17 22:50

    It is because of books like this one, Sisi: Empress on Her Own, that I love reading historical fiction. Last fall, a friend was telling me about her trip to Vienna and how she had learned about the beautiful and beloved Empress Elisabeth, known as Sisi. I hadn't heard of Sisi before, so I came across the ARC of this soon to be published novel, I had to read it. Starting with limited knowledge of Austria in the late 19th century, I found Sisi's life both fascinating and terribly sad and frustrating. She lived at a time of much upheaval in Europe. Her cousin to (Mad) King Ludwig of Bavaria, famous as sponsor to Wagner and for building Neuschwanstein Castle, was deposed. Her sister was consort to King of Naples, until they were deposed during the Italian Unification. She was rivals with Empress Eugenie, consort to Napoleon III (also deposed). In her life she met Queen Victoria, Tsar Alexander, Kaiser Wilhelm and just about every ruler of the time.Although she had a life of wealth and luxury and was living in the heart of events of the time, Sisi's life was not a happy one. Her marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph was a failure and she was overshadowed by her mother-in-law/aunt Empress Sophie who took over the raising of her first three children. This book begins shortly after the birth of her last child, Valerie, with Sisi living happily in Hungary, both to keep her child safe and to escape the restrictions of the Austrian court. Despite this situation that starts the novel, Pataki does a good job in not painting Sisi as a victim. She clearly shows that Empress Sisi had choices in her life and she had to live with both the positive and negative effects of her decisions. During Sisi's life, it seems that she was both beloved and despised. Thanks to Pataki careful hand, the reader can certainly see why, particularly in the context of the time, she created this large scope of reaction in Austria and Europe. There were times that I wished I could go back in time and comfort her or give her a good talking to - or both all at once. I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in historical fiction, particularly if you do not have a lot of prior knowledge of Sisi, Franz Joseph or Austria-Hungary during this period of time.

  • Candace
    2019-04-27 20:50

    This book is a great historical fiction book about Elisabeth, Empress of Austria-Hugary (Sisi). The book is great in scope (especially combined with book one) and very descriptive. Also, if you haven’t read about Sisi, she is an interesting character.This is the second half of her story. The first part being The Accidental Empress. I was not aware of that book when I requested Sisi, so I haven’t read it. Although I loved reading this book, I am familiar with Sisi’s life. For those who aren’t, I recommend reading both books.I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jane
    2019-04-24 00:04

    Today is the publication date of a book I had the pleasure of pre-reading: “Sisi, Empress on Her Own”, by Allison Pataki. One thing I enjoyed about the book is that the strengths & weaknesses of the characters come through without being forced. The author presents in such a way that it is up to the reader to judge or not. For instance, Sisi is away from her children a lot, but the times and circumstances may keep you from thinking her a bad mother. It seems real and human, despite the subject matter dealing with some of the most important international figures of the era.As with Pataki’s prior books, “Sisi” is full of rich prose. The book, for me, was a good read. I highly recommend it!

  • Lizzy
    2019-05-01 00:42

    *This was a Good Reads Giveaway* 2.5 stars. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It was smooth reading, but the writing was boring and felt juvenile and the book felt way too long. So much unnecessary writing that could have been cut out. I was fascinated with the story and the history, but found Sisi as a character to be very weak selfish and I was not sympathetic to her as a character. I was INCREDIBLY bored by her romance with Bay, and actually, anytime she was pining over someone I was pretty bored. So, interesting story, an easy read, but the writing was not a high enough caliber for me.

  • Kim
    2019-04-28 17:57

    A fascinating story about a fascinating woman. I very much enjoyed the story about the Empress' later life. Quite possibly my only quibble would be that although they claim you could read this book as a standalone, you often get the feeling that you're missing several things, nearly all of which can be traced back to The Accidental Empress, Pataki's book about the Empress' earlier years. The origins of her relationships with several people in her life - her husband the Emperor, her older children, her mother-in-law, etc. - all feel kind of strange due to this book picking up the threads of the previous one. My recommendation would be to read TAE first, and then read this one.

  • Nancy Ellis
    2019-04-28 01:54

    This is exactly what a historical novel should be! As the author says in her notes, she really didn't have to work hard to make this a fascinating romantic tale....the facts where right there. She was able to make use of quotes from the characters, and she successfully made each person as well as the whole era come alive. Reading the story of Sisi was better than a movie could have been! In spite of the awareness of the tragedy and horrors that were to come, it still was magical to me to be transported to Vienna in the latter days of the 19th century.

  • Katelyn Powers
    2019-04-21 22:49

    So I received this book as a promo and was asked to be on the launch team for this book's release.This book is a sequel, so naturally I ordered and read the first one. Which was delightful and I enjoyed it. Thhhhiiiiiissssssss one though is going down as DNF, because it felt like it was DRAGGING on. I literally felt like I could read a summery of this book and gain more than I learned from the book itself. I never wanted to pick this book up!Ughhhhh. I've read too many non great books lately. Hopefully my next one will be better, becase these are taking the enjoyment out of reading.