Title: The Accidental Empress
Author: Alison Pataki
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication date: February 2015
Format: Kindle | Netgalley | 512 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.
Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.
Thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.
Well this certainly made a change from the usual books I'm accustomed to reading. I liked the look of this one a lot, so even though historical fiction isn't one of my favourite genres, I decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did.
What stood out to me was the writing. I knew from the first sentence i would like the book. There's just something about the writing that couldn't fail to draw you right into the story. It's so descriptive and paints a perfect picture in your mind of the lovely settings, the court's attire and more importantly, it gave such a clear image of the characters - which character's I would come to hate and which I would grow to love.
Speaking of characters, there's one who plays a huge part in this read and I don't think I've ever hated a character as much as I did Sophie, Franz's mother. I feel like I hated her a little too much though, to the point that every time her name came up in the book, I would want to stop reading for a bit. She's just nasty. Seriously, she does some disgusting things to Sisi. I felt so bad for her.
I did feel that the timings involved in the read were a little strange. It's made evident that a lot of time passes when it does, but I didn't believe the character's development at times. Sisi is a young girl at the beginning of the book and by the end she's a young woman - the transitions were a little confusing at times.
Another problem I had with the book was the length. Maybe not so much the length but the fact that I kept getting bored. Especially in the middle of the read, things seemed to be a little bit repetitive to me. I have to say, I'm used to books with a huge amount of action in them, so the fact that I finished this is definitely testament to the writing.
Overall I enjoyed this read. It's definitely a good way to get into historical fiction with the great writing and interesting plot, not the mention a character you'll love to hate.
My rating: 7/10