I don’t know what I like more about Sisi. Is it because it is historic fiction? Is it because it is based on fact and a lot of research? Is it because it is so well written? It is possibly a combination of all of them!
I was about half-way through the book when it was unexpectedly “borrowed” off my desk. I went into full panic until it magically showed back up. I read every free minute, totally engrossed in the life of Sisi, in and out of court.
Elizabeth, Sisi, had a very complex life; full of regimen, heartache, love, travel, love for her children, misunderstanding, false accusations, and fierce determination to be herself in a world she couldn’t really.
Allison beautifully crafts the story of Sisi and her marriage to Franz Joseph the Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She is trapped by formalities and tries to escape by traveling throughout Europe. This causes more heartache for Sisi due to the stories in the papers, gossip, and the emotional distance between herself and her oldest children.
Her first daughter died young, her second and third children were taken away by their grandmother- and convention- to be raised as royals. Valerie, her youngest, was her once chance to be a real mother and show the love she had wished she could show all her children.
I felt as if I was in Sisi’s world, going on the hunts with Sisi and Bay, visiting her cousin King Ludwig, and searching for the little boy she used to see in her son Crown Prince Rudolph. I felt part of the fox hunts and horseback riding adventures. I felt the rush of excitement and secrecy when she met and talked with people in confidence. I felt the confusion when she was bumped by the mysterious man and shortness of breath as she reached the boardwalk for her last journey home.
Sisi: Empress on Her Own is a hardcopy-worthy book! Paperback is to read and share, hardback is forever… This is a five star read I recommend to anyone who likes history, especially around the turn of the 20th century.
I was given the opportunity to read Sisi: Empress on Her Own in exchange for an honest review.