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Sissi - Coragem até ao Fim For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel by New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki Sisi tells the little known story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria Hungary, the Princess Diana of her time, in an enthralling work of historical fiction that is also a gripping page turnerMarried 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 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 Andr ssy, 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 Featuring larger than life historic figures such as Bavaria s Mad King Ludwig and the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf, and set against many of Europe s grandest sites from Germany s storied Neuschwanstein Castle to England s lush shires Sisi brings to life an extraordinary woman and the romantic, volatile era over which she presided Thank you to NetGalley for my advanced reading copy of this novel.This was a wonderfully written novel that I enjoyed immensely After reading The Accidental Empress I was pleasantly surprised to discover there was a sequel, as I was eager to learnabout Empress Sisi of Austria Hungary.This novel begins where the last novel left us and therefore I strongly recommend reading them in order I enjoyed this novel eventhan I did the first one as I found it to beeducational about Thank you to NetGalley for my advanced reading copy of this novel.This was a wonderfully written novel that I enjoyed immensely After reading The Accidental Empress I was pleasantly surprised to discover there was a sequel, as I was eager to learnabout Empress Sisi of Austria Hungary.This novel begins where the last novel left us and therefore I strongly recommend reading them in order I enjoyed this novel eventhan I did the first one as I found it to beeducational about who Sisi was as a person and how she dealt with the issues in her life.Sisi is a much stronger, independent woman in this novel and I was intrigued to learn how she was able to cope with the rigid structure of being a Hapsburg and all that it entailed She struck me as a true free spirit a Fairy Queen as she was named by her people and therefore she ran away from the Hapsburg court as often as she could.I do not use the term ran away lightly There were many things that I felt Sisi was running away from, to name a few the slander about her in the press, the tension between her husband and her son, even the prospect of too many Imperial functions would cause her to flee at times If you read this novel by itself I could see how it may cause you to view Sisi as selfish and irresponsible, however if read after The Accidental Empress it becomes evident that Sisi HAS to take a step back from these things for her own well being of body and mind This is a woman with a much better handle on herself and her emotions than the Sisi of the first novel I really enjoyed seeing this change in her and therefore found myself rooted firmly in her camp when it came to the backlash surrounding her urge to flee the court.Yet this is not to say that I agreed with every decision she made Her avoidance of her son s issues in particular was disturbing to me The author voices this same concern in her author s note The author muses upon whether or not the lack of control Sisi had in her children s upbringing led to this distancing of herself from them later in life Another thought is that she was reluctant to exert any kind of influence or control in fear of being too much like her mother in law Archduchess Sophie, who strove to control the Imperial Family s every move It was upsetting to read of the deteriorating relationship between Crown Prince Rudolf and his parents I couldn t help but wonder if the fate of the Austrian Hungarian Empire would have been different if their relationship had not become so strained I was amazed by some of the events that transpired in the family As the author states in her author s note one cannot make this stuff up.A particularly fascinating figure that appeared in this novel was Sisi s cousin, King Ludwig II of Bavaria Mad King Ludwig is most famously known for his creation of Neuschwanstein, the extraordinary fairy tale castle set amongst the mountains of Western Bavaria Ludwig was an eccentric recluse who became the patron of the composer Richard Wagner He bankrupted himself through his building work and his patronage of Wagner, causing serious discontentment in the Bavarian government Although it was mostly through letters written between him and Sisi, the author still managed to create a vivid character in Ludwig that I greatly enjoyed reading about I adored the descriptions of Neuschwanstein that were shown to us through Sisi s eyes and I found myself staring at photographs of the castle in wonder Ludwig s story is a sad one but his legacy of Neuschwanstein is awe inspiring all the same.Overall I really enjoyed this novel and I was able to get a good sense of who Empress Sisi actually was Her life story is very interesting and there are many things that are curious enough to give me pause for thought I ve found myself pondering many what ifs after finishing this novel and this is truly a sign of a good read one that stays with me for a long time afterwards I am very glad to have read this pair of absorbing, intriguing and well written novels Edit April 4 4 15A lot of you lovely commentators have been asking me for recommendations for Sisi books I actually enjoyed I m happy to very highly recommend a book I ve finally, finally managed to review called Stealing Sisi s Star How a Master Thief Nearly Got Away with Austria s Most Famous Jewel by the very talented Jennifer Bahaney who you may recognize from her helpful comments in this review when she kindly corrected all the stuff I got wrong about the real empress She very kindly Edit April 4 4 15A lot of you lovely commentators have been asking me for recommendations for Sisi books I actually enjoyed I m happy to very highly recommend a book I ve finally, finally managed to review called Stealing Sisi s Star How a Master Thief Nearly Got Away with Austria s Most Famous Jewel by the very talented Jennifer Bahaney who you may recognize from her helpful comments in this review when she kindly corrected all the stuff I got wrong about the real empress She very kindly offered me a copy of her book and I m very pleased to recommend it to all of you I was seriously amazed I d never even heard this crazy story before, some of it is honestly too crazy by crappy Hollywood B movie standards but apparently it all really happened Check it out Yes, its a shamelessly fawning review but I swear we do not know each other are neither related, married, or the same person From the Journal of Her Highness Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Queen Consort of Bohemia and Croatia Dear Diary,OMG being empress is like so totally hard Everyone keeps expecting me to do stuff like rule and pay attention to my kids and all I want to do is go horseback riding I love horses They re so pretty and they run so fast and I m such a totally kickass rider Vienna so totally sucks anyway Franz keeps insisting I go to all these state functions He s all worried about some stupid impending world war and government stuff I totally took care of that whole Hungarian thing already What else does he want me to do Dear Diary I went riding today I m awesome at riding Dear Diary I love Hungary I m never leaving No one understands when I try to explain how the twilight is different here than anywhere else Its like they think that s just some stupid faux poetic bullshit that doesn t actually mean anything and is totally pretentious but kind of sounds like what someone deeply romantic and amazing would say.Dear Diary I went riding today I m awesome at riding Dear Diary I went riding today I m awesome at riding the above entry subsequently appears everyday for the next ten years Dear Diary The kids will NOT listen to me AT all No one understands why I won t like help them with their problems since I whined so much in my last book about how much I wanted to take care of them Don t they know its my evil dying mother in laws fault Its aaaallllwwwaayyyssss her fault sigh Andrassay s so hot.Dear Diary I love Andrassayyyyyyyyy Dear Diary Andrassay is so mean He won t help me get Italy back for my sister He s just like Franz He doesn t even want me to go on my two year long vacations any Dear Diary I think Rudolph is a serial killer I m almost positive that in years to come this will literally never be a thing anyone suggests about him but my editor says people don t want to read so many chapters about horse back riding and my love life so we re throwing this in to help sales.Dear Diary I love England I m gonna stay here FOREVER Yay horsies Queen Victoria who Dear Diary Bay is so totally hawt I love Bay.Dear Diary Booo ViennaRudolph s getting married to a really ugly princess I wish I could advise him about this but that would mean talking to him and I don t want to do that Huh, my daughter got married Nobody told me Wow, I have a grandaughter I m too young to be a grandmother WWWWWAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH Oh look a horsey Dear Diary I love Bay sooooo much the rest of the journal is filled with repeated references to horseback riding, how much the empress hates everything that isn t riding, and probably references to a bunchhawt guys because I am giving up on this horrible, boring book and simply do not care any.Final Entry Dear Diary Some weirdo just poked me with a stick I wonder how my horsies are Is that blood I received a copy of Sisi Empress on Her Own by Allison Pataki through NetGalley Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing, and to Allison Pataki for the opportunity.Draw back the lush velvet draperies of the Habsburg Dynasty and you will stare into the soleful eyes of a young woman ill prepared for the royal life unveiled to her Sisi is but sixteen years old when she becomes the bride of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria Hungary She has taken residence at Godollo, a palatial country est I received a copy of Sisi Empress on Her Own by Allison Pataki through NetGalley Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing, and to Allison Pataki for the opportunity.Draw back the lush velvet draperies of the Habsburg Dynasty and you will stare into the soleful eyes of a young woman ill prepared for the royal life unveiled to her Sisi is but sixteen years old when she becomes the bride of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria Hungary She has taken residence at Godollo, a palatial country estate outside of Budapest in 1868.Allison Pataki takes special care in her depiction of Sisi She has absolutely armed herself with indepth research for the time period and for the historical facts surrounding the Habsburg Dynasty Her writing is rich with details and her portrayal of Sisi is quite an undertaking Ms Pataki adheres to an abundance of background information and historical logistics that, at times, can bog down the storyline much to the chagrin of the reader.Sisi is hardly a linear character She is a complicated, multi faceted, reactionary to her previous upbringing and to her royal set of circumstances Sisi finds herself at the receiving end of those who outrank, out number, and out manuever her The young empress is at the mercy of an extremely judgmental, disapproving court Her own mother in law, Archduchess Sophie, has an iron will and has taken over the role of raising Sisi s own children My sympathy for Sisi was short lived Her son, Crown Prince Rudolf, was subjected to extremely harsh and abusive conditions in his early preparations for royal life We understand that this was the reality of the times However, we also understand that Sisi s intervention was weak at best She became all but a phantom of a mother in regard to her children Some circumstances were beyond her control and some circumstances were due to the lack of assertiveness on her part Royalty, at times, relinquished parental rights and all suffered greatly because of it.Sisi was obsessed with her beauty and with her hour upon hour of regiments to uphold a flawless facade Lacking control in her public life was a causal factor for Sisi to be engulfed in her own personal pleasures of horseback riding, the royal court, and pursuit of Count Andrassy, the Prime Minister Custom, order, and tradition were the ways of imperial protocol and Sisi was totally immersed.Sisi found a bit of refuge in her cousin, King Ludwig of Bavaria, who lived in a remote mountain castle of Neuschwanstein However, Luddie was not the most stable of characters Sisi became crushed under the weight of tragedies Her father died in 1888, her son Rudolf in 1889, her sister in 1890, and both her mother and her lover, Count Andrassy, died in 1892 Royalty does not prepare you, nor is it inclined to insulate you, for the devastations of life Sisi was weighed down in life bythan the carat weight of her crown No cluster of precious pearls nor richness of rubies could ever replace the jewel that Sisi sought to possesstrue motherhood in its finest array Find this and other reviews at NOTE This review contains spoilers Please take heed and proceed at your own risk I love the Hapsburgs Their history fascinates me and I was understandably intrigued when I learned that Allison Pataki had chosen to feature Empress Elisabeth as a fictional heroine I was overjoyed to get an ARC of The Accidental Empress, but the reality of the novel didn t live up to my expectations That said, my two year experience w Find this and other reviews at NOTE This review contains spoilers Please take heed and proceed at your own risk I love the Hapsburgs Their history fascinates me and I was understandably intrigued when I learned that Allison Pataki had chosen to feature Empress Elisabeth as a fictional heroine I was overjoyed to get an ARC of The Accidental Empress, but the reality of the novel didn t live up to my expectations That said, my two year experience with the first book proved I was too addicted to the subject matter to walk away from the series and challenged me to approach the sequel, Sisi Empress on Her Own, with aopen mind Resolved to give the author the benefit of the doubt, I jumped straight into the latter and did my best to remain objective Did the effort pay off Sort of The novel incorporated a number of references and I enjoyed the game I made of picking out historically relevant cameos, but I fell into old habits and quickly found myself wrestling to rectify the fiction against my own inner dialogue and understanding of the royal family Fair warning folks, what follows is a soapbox series of complaints by an exceedingly nitpicky reader I m bias and make no apologies for it, but please keep in mind my enthusiasm relates to my passion for the material and is not necessarily even keeled Spoilers abound in the following paragraphs Consider yourself warned.I feel the strongest moments of the narrative were the scenes relayed from Luigi s point of view, but I am frustrated to report that these passages couldn t have played out as presented in the book Pataki s illustration of Sisi s assassination includes an evening of premeditation that contradicts the timeline Luigi s intended target was Philippe, Duke of Orleans, but a change of plans meant the Duke was elsewhere Frustrated, Luigi looked for a new mark and settled on Sisi after finding her name in the local paper The paper was published on September 10th, the same day Sisi was assassinated which means Luigi could not have meditated on her death the night before and while that observation means little in the grand scheme of things, I couldn t help feeling the dramatic shift in context minimized the tragedy of the Empress death She was selected as a target only hours before the attack which made it a crime of opportunity and I am not comfortable with the liberty taken in white washing that fact as it gave Sisi s assassin farcredit than he is due.I also struggled with the lack of complexity between Elisabeth and Franz Pataki s interpretation is very black and white, but I have reason to believe the marriage was in fact muchcomplicated In a letter to his mistress, Franz Joseph wrote the following We are quite well physically The Empress has taken up her lessons again and she devotes herself to the study of modern Greek with her usual zeal, in her room and in her walks in the garden It is a necessary distraction for her, and Valerie reads to her in the evenings before we retire, while I fall off to sleep in a very comfortable reclining chair Otherwise, the Empress is composed, and occupied only with her concern for my welfare and for cheering me, but still I notice how utterly the deep, secret grief fills her She is a great, rare woman Their history is convoluted and while their union did not have the hallmarks of a passionate romance, the Emperor s correspondence appears to indicate that despite their difficulties, the two were companionable, warm, and mutually supportive of one another Those familiar with my comments on Daisy Goodwin s The Fortune Hunter understand that I was a not a fan of the novel The idea of Sisi doning her famed star jewels for an informal evening tryst in the stables of an English country estate still makes me laugh, but the fact remains that Goodwin spent a lot of time researching Sisi s beauty regime and the details she worked into her novel earned her a degree of admiration from yours truly Details on Goodwin s firsthand research can be found here Pataki, by contrast, makes no mention of Sisi s extreme dedication to her physical appearance and I couldn t help asking myself why Sisi s features and fashion choices made her a legend in her own lifetime and I found it difficult to understand how such an intense routine could be so completely omitted from a story centered on the most beautiful woman in the world, especially when said rituals are referenced in the historic notes at the end of the novel in question.Mayerling makes its first appearance as the setting for a meeting between Elisabeth and Andrassy just after the World Fair in 1873 Pataki paints it as a royal property, but here again I found myself nitpicking The notorious locale was acquired by Rudolf in 1887 from the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz which had owned it since 1550 This understanding being firmly rooted in my mind, I couldn t see the fictional scene as plausible and consequently assume it was invented to draw a tragic parallel between mother and son I ll grant it s a creative idea, but I personally found it distasteful After the incident, Franz Joseph ordered the property be converted to a convent and the Empress commissioned a striking and oddly prophetic Madonna for the chapel In my eyes, the existence of this memorial is evidence of the deep and unrelenting pain Sisi associated with Mayerling and I don t think the fiction recognizes those emotions.Politically speaking, Sisi character shows significant inconsistencies There are discussions with Franz, Andrassy, Ludwig that show her as possessing a great deal of political acumen I personally agreed with this interpretation, but my opinion on that point is entirely irrelevant I d have been just as happy if Sisi had been painted as an independent, self indulgent, social butterfly, but the fact that she flits back and forth between the two was difficult to swallow Sisi couldn t have been fiercely passionate about her role as Empress and repelled by execution of her imperial duties at the same time and as a reader, I found the inherent contradiction disorienting.I understand Sisi to have been a complicated and deeply troubled soul with a host of personal demons, but Pataki s Sisi was largely preoccupied with and defined by her love life I struggled with that, but at the end of the day I don t hold it against the author Pataki s understanding differs from my own, but I d vowed to let go of my own preconceptions and at least try appreciate the character as Pataki envisioned her I made a point of examining the contrasts Pataki created in Sisi s relationships with Franz, Andrassy, and Bay and ultimately appreciated those themes a great deal On a similar note, I was also deeply impressed with Pataki s illustration of the Emperor s relationship with Katharina Schratt.Chapter Fifteen was not my favorite as it omits much and peddles a number of anachronisms, but this review is long enough and I think I ve illustrated my feelings well enough When all is said and done, Sisi Empress on Her Own is stronger than its predecessor and I m glad to have read it, but that said, I found the completed work both unconvincing and inconsistent and would have difficulty recommending it forward

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