Sisi: Empress on Her Own

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) Sisi: Empress on Her Own – Allison Pataki

I decided to listen to this historical novel because I had read Allison Pataki’s first novel about Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Accidental Empress, a while back and enjoyed it so I figured I would like this one as well. Overall, I enjoyed listening to this book but I think I preferred the first book to this one. Both tell the story of Empress Elisabeth, but the first is a narrative of her early life and the second is the tale of her mid-late life. 

Pataki does a fabulous job of placing Sisi into her very strict and conservative context as a member of the Habsburg royal family. She clearly demonstrates to the reader the confines in which Sisi is expected to live as well as the harshness and unforgiving nature of the world-at-large. Pataki paints Sisi as a sensitive and artistic soul who bridles at being confined by the rigid rules and traditions of the royal family. Sisi seeks only freedom and goes to extremes to obtain some semblance of autonomy throughout this book. 

I gave this book only 3 stars not because I found it deficient but rather because I did not like the character of Sisi. Honestly, this is probably only personal preference and nothing more. The writing was intriguing and I listened to the entirety of the book and never found myself wishing it was over. It was more that I simply did not care for the characterization of Sisi and therefore found it difficult to sympathize with her. 

I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who loves a good character driven historical fiction novel. Sisi is an intriguing and unique character (even if I did not ‘like’ her) and Pataki brings her stifled and restricted world to life in this epic narrative. 

Read on my friends!

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