By: Allison Pataki
Publisher: Howard Books
Publishing Date: February 2015
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: January 1, 2015
This is a true story set during the years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire featuring Elisabeth “Sisi” and Emperor Franz Joseph of the Hapsburg Court. A powerful court with an empire that stretched from Austria to Russia and Germany to Italy.
Sisi is fifteen years old when she travels to the Habsburg Court with her mother and older sister, Helene, who is about to be betrothed to Emperor Franz Joseph. Sisi is much more outgoing than Helene and captures the young Emperor’s eye right away. Sisi soon falls in love with the Emperor and Helene doesn’t seem to be too upset because she didn’t want to marry him anyway. Franz is extremely interested in his charming sister-in-law to be and backs out of his proposal to Helene, declaring his intentions to marry Sisi.
This decision alarms Franz’s mother Archduchess Sophie, who is also aunt to Helene and Sisi. The Archduchess tries to stop it but to no avail - the wedding of Franz Joseph and Sisi will go on. After the engagement and royal wedding, Sisi must adjust to the way the royals celebrate being married; the worst is that she has no privacy whatsoever, all details are observed and remarked on by court spies, sent to Sisi’s rooms by her mother-in-law/aunt who has told Sisi in no uncertain terms that she is the head of the family and that’s that.
As life continues at the royal court, Sisi and Franz become the parents of two daughters and finally after a time a son is born. Franz is not around all that much and there are small nations within the Habsburg realm that want to be more independent. Sisi turns out to be very popular among the masses and helps her husband heal many problems in the affairs of state.
The Accidental Empress is a very readable book showing the trials and tribulations of the royal families during the Austro-Hungarian times. The reader also learns what the Empress was able to accomplish, for her Emperor, and how she brought about the love of the people for their rulers.
Quill says: Anyone who likes historical novels will love this book. The characterizations are very real and the plot lines, made all the more interesting because they are true, have a way of telling this love story in a very gripping mannor.