Review: Sisi: Empress on Her Own (Sisi #2) by Allison Pataki

Author:  Allison Pataki
Publisher: The Dial Press
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
Source: ebook (given by Netgalley)


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?
*The publisher provided this book in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley.*
Sisi is married to Emperor Franz Joseph and beloved by their people, who consider her their "fairy queen", but she's way more than her delicate features and her luscious hair. She's a mother whose children were taken away from her, she's a wife that was traded on her husband's bed and she's a free spirit that is confined to a brick cage that some people like to call a palace.
Travelling from Austria to Hungary, to her beloved Gödöllő Palace this book gives you the life's perspective of one of the most charismatic European rulers of all times, relating all of the Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and how her own life affected and was affected by her people and by foreign rulers.
Sisi is definitely an extremely important part of European story since she was able to conquer the people by merely talking and sometimes she only needed her gorgeous features in order to dissuade the most horrid person to like her.
This book is one of a kind retelling of Sisi's life from her perspective and not from the eyes of the public or her family's point of view. You get to see her passion for Andrassy and her disgust for her husband's betrayal and her mother-in-law's cold heart towards her.
The author outdid herself in terms of research and detail, even if you don't know who Sisi was or have never been (or never seen) the places that are talked about, the wonderful descriptions and attention to every single tiny element takes this book to a superior level.
This is, in fact, a very addicting read and you'll never want to put it down, you'll get so into the story that you'll laugh and cry along with the characters and you'll feel their joy, their despair and their sadness. You'll also get a very good idea of how the Habsburg court really was and you'll learn to loathe the "protocol" as much as Sisi did.
I advise this book to every reader out there! Whether you like romance, historical or thriller novels (or others), this book has a little to give to everyone and you'll love it! Go and pick it up!

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