“I wander lonely in this world,
Delight and life long time averted,
No confidant to share my inner self,
A matching soul never revealed.”
When I started reading this book, I knew nothing about Sisi, Empress of Austria-Hungary, but as I set it down to write this review, I feel as if I know her, deeply, intimately. Her hurt, frustration, sadness, and passion, followed by slanderous gossip, destined to live a life unfulfilled and alone. This novel begins in the late 1800’s, and takes you through important historical events, leading all the way up to the start of WWI and the collapse of the Hapsburg empire.
I love historical fiction because I feel like I am learning something while being immersed in a captivating story. This book took me through a whole realm of emotions. Sadness in the realization that she was in a loveless marriage, excitement in her joy of traveling and finding adventure, heartwarming in the way she loved her children, but couldn’t figure out how to be a mother to them, all the internal struggles and hardships of the young Empress.
Allison’s elegant writing style flows naturally making Sisi an immersive novel that is entertaining, and an easy read. However, in reading this the reader will come to view Sisi as a selfish, ignorant, immature, and irresponsible leader who disrespected her husband, the Emperor, and was clueless about how to be a mother. I found her character conflicting. At one point she returns to the court to rescue her son, the Prince, who was being mistreated, and she was firm and stood up to her husband and other advisors and did what she thought was best for her child, but then the next chapter she is off riding horses and neglecting her responsibilities. The ending felt rather anti-climactic, despite the traumatic events that were occurring. I enjoyed the book for entertainment purposes. It was quite lengthy, but I had no trouble reading the 420 pages in 2 days.
In response to the many reviews saying that Allisons’s research wasn’t done well and had many historical inaccuracies… I guess I would just say keep in mind it is fiction and enjoy the story.
You can order the book from Amazon here. Enjoy!