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The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki

the accidental empress 9781476790220 hrChicago ago author Allison Pataki's second work of historical fiction is the story of Elisabeth (Sisi), who becomes the Austro-Hungarian Empress, the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph.

The Accidental Empress has all the elements that make for an excellent work of historical fiction - rich period details including time and place, clothes, food, and furnishings; fascinating characters; and it set during a period of great political upheaval and intrigue.

Sisi is introduced to us at age 15. She is Duchess of Bavaria and is traveling to the Habsburg court with her older sister, who is to be betrothed to the Emperor. Instead, Franz Joseph and Elisabeth fall in love and, despite many objections, Sisi becomes the Empress.

As a child, Sisi has been brought up far from the court and its ways, free to ride and explore the countryside and to indulge in energetic pursuits. Her new role requires that she learn self-control and the very disciplined and formal ways of the court. The course of love is not always true. Sisi's relationship with her domineering mother-in-law is a difficult one.

Among the situations Sisi finds most difficult are the lack of privacy and the control others have over her life and the life of her children; while these are frequent themes in historical fiction about royalty, Pataki explores them, through Sisi, in a very personal way. During the years depicted in The Accidental Empress, Sisi becomes an Empress beloved by her people, one known as "The Fairy Queen." 


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