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Monday, February 9, 2015

The Accidental Empress

I absolutely love a great historical fiction that is based so much on historical fact. Obviously you have to take some liberties as an author to fill in the proverbial blanks when viewing something that happened in the late 1800's in Europe. While the historical facts give us a broad overview, we often wonder what happened behind the scenes to bring to life the events that are now part of our unshaken historical past. Allison Pataki is such an author with the skill to breath life into the story of Empress Elizabeth or affectionately known as "Sisi" by those who love her including her beloved people in her latest novel The Accidental Empress. She was much like Princess Diana later would be referred to as the people's princess.

This is the story of her life as a young girl at 15, who found her love of the outdoors would be the jewel in her crown to winning the heart of Franz Joseph, the Emperor of Europe. What I love most about the way this novel begins is the brief introduction into the story that outlines the countries that the Emperor had control over. It's not like Downton Abbey where Lords ruled the land, Emperors ruled and controlled the countries that bordered one another in hopes of keeping them together to prevent against the threat of wars from others.

Here we see the evolution of Elizabeth as she goes from being a young girl with a title, being sent away with her sister Helene who their parents believe will be a suitable match as the future Empress. But it isn't Helene that Franz falls for, but the younger sister Elizabeth. Her undisciplined manners from growing up in the outdoors in Bavaria appeals to him. His mother Sophie is the epitome of the wicked Aunt and soon to be Mother In Law, who will ensure that Elizabeth maintains the proper decorum suitable for an Empress along with all the duties and responsibilities.

We see how the events of being thrust into this lifestyle weighs on Sisi as the novel moves forward in time, from trying to procure an heir for Franz to learning to deal with his control mother, Sophie. She has no real alliances and the romantic notions she has built her marriage on soon come crumbling down when reality of war threatens on the countries horizon. Her husband is pulled away to help manage politics but avoids sharing that part of his life with her, instead letting his mother and officials lead him to do what they believe is best. So Sisi is forced to find interests wherever she can even though in her heart, she just wants the love and the man she fell in love with to come back. It is an unforgettable journey that will leave you with a different impression of what life among the royals was really like.

I received The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are my own. I absolutely loved a birds eye view into Elizabeth's life, from humble, innocent, romantic backgrounds, to one of being exposed to the difficulties of marriage during turbulent times that would force one to grow up rather quickly. I loved the insight the author shares at the conclusion about how much of this is historical fact, and the fictional fill in elements she added. This for me was a beautiful added bonus and one I enjoy especially when reading historical fictional novels. This one is definitely remaining a keeper on my bookshelf and one I know I will enjoy rereading again and again which is why I feel it deserves a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. My only hope is Allison will write a sequel to this one in the very near future!

For more information about The Accidental Empress, Allison Pataki or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below"

You can find Allison Pataki on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest books.

To read more reviews on The Accidental Empress, please visit Howard Books' website.

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