Read The Accidental Empress Online

Authors: Allison Pataki

The Accidental Empress

BOOK: The Accidental Empress
2.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Praise for

The Accidental Empress

“A love match alters the course of history. . . . Pataki deserves kudos for choosing her subject matter well—Sisi’s life is ideal fictional fodder.”


Kirkus Reviews


The Accidental Empress
is a stunning masterpiece of imagination, enriched with lavish historical detail. Utterly riveting, amazingly insightful. A splendid saga sure to capture the heart.”

—Jan Moran, bestselling author of
Scent of Triumph

“Pataki’s fully drawn
Accidental Empress
is an indelible portrayal—not only of one of the most complicated and misunderstood Habsburgs, but of a turbulent royal marriage during a tumultuous era.”

—Juliet Grey, author of the acclaimed
Marie Antoinette
trilogy

“Allison Pataki so vividly depicts the world of the Habsburg court, you’ll feel the silk of Sisi’s gowns under your very fingers as you eagerly turn the pages of
The Accidental Empress
. As a woman both ahead of her time and wholly situated within it, Sisi makes for a captivating central figure, and rarely has an author so heartbreakingly captured the exquisite tragedy of getting what you want. Sumptuous, surprising, and deeply felt.”

—Greer Macallister, author of
The Magician’s Lie

“A glorious novel about a misunderstood empress. . . . With a sumptuous sense of history and evocative attention to detail, Allison Pataki conjures the rebellious, glamorous spirit of Sisi of Austria.”

—C. W. Gortner, bestselling author of
The Queen’s Vow


The Accidental Empress
is a tale of royal love we don’t know but should, and who better to share it with us than the supremely gifted and entertaining historical novelist Allison Pataki. A delightful gift for readers. . . .
The Accidental Empress
is enthralling.”

—Allegra Jordan, author of
The End of Innocence

Praise for

The Traitor’s Wife

“A most impressive debut.”

—Philippa Gregory

“One of the best, best, best historical novels. I was riveted. . . . I couldn’t put it down.”

—Kathie Lee Gifford,
The TODAY Show

“Pataki smoothly weaves intrigue and personality with critical historical facts. . . . Historical fiction lovers will look forward to more from this promising new novelist.”


Publishers Weekly

“A well-balanced narrative . . . offers fresh perspective, plenty of intrigue and a host of interesting, multidimensional characters.”


Kirkus
(starred review)

“If you read one book this year, make it Allison Pataki’s
The Traitor’s Wife
. Few authors have taken on America’s Revolutionary War so convincingly, and this story of Benedict Arnold’s wife will appeal to lovers of historical fiction everywhere. Highly, highly recommended!”

—Michelle Moran, international bestselling author of
Madame Tussaud

“Allison Pataki’s captivating debut novel examines history’s most famous tale of treachery through a woman’s eyes. Meticulously written and well-researched, this story will transport you back to the American Revolution and keep you turning pages with both its intrigue and love story.
The Traitor’s Wife
is a well-told tale.”

—Lee Woodruff, author, blogger and television personality

“I consider this to be the debut of a major writer of historical fiction.”

—Mary Higgins Clark


The Traitor’s Wife
is a gripping novel steeped in compelling historical detail. Pataki writes lyrically and succeeds in bringing to life, and humanizing, notorious characters from our nation’s past. Ultimately a story about honor and heart, readers will have a hard time putting this book down.”

—Aidan Donnelley Rowley, author of
Life After Yes

“Allison Pataki has given us a great gift: a powerful story of love and betrayal, drawn straight from the swiftly beating heart of the American Revolution. Replete with compelling characters, richly realized settings, a sweeping plot, and a heroine who comes to feel like a dear, familiar friend,
The Traitor’s Wife
is sure to delight readers of romance and lovers of history alike.”

—Karen Halvorsen Schreck, author of
Sing For Me
Thank you for downloading this Howard Books eBook.
Join our mailing list and get updates on new releases, deals, bonus content and other great books from Howard Books and Simon & Schuster.
C
LICK
H
ERE
T
O
S
IGN
U
P
or visit us online to sign up at
eBookNews.SimonandSchuster.com

Contents

Epigraph

Introduction

PROLOGUE

Budapest, Hungary

June 8, 1867

Part One

CHAPTER ONE

Possenhofen Castle, Bavaria

July 1853

II.

CHAPTER TWO

Imperial Resort at Bad Ischl, Upper Austria

August 1853

III.

CHAPTER THREE

Imperial Resort at Bad Ischl, Upper Austria

August 1853

IV.

CHAPTER FOUR

Imperial Resort at Bad Ischl, Upper Austria

August 1853

V.

CHAPTER FIVE

Imperial Resort at Bad Ischl, Upper Austria

August 1853

Part Two

VI.

CHAPTER SIX

Possenhofen Castle, Bavaria

September 1853

VII.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Hofburg Palace, Vienna

April 1854

VIII.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Salzburg, Austria

December 1854

IX.

CHAPTER NINE

Hofburg Palace, Vienna

March 1855

X.

CHAPTER TEN

Schönbrunn Summer Palace, Vienna

Spring 1855

XI.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Castle Hill, Budapest, Hungary

Spring 1857

XII.

CHAPTER TWELVE

Schönbrunn Summer Palace, Vienna

Summer 1857

Part Three

XIII.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Schönbrunn Summer Palace, Vienna

August 1862

XIV.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Hofburg Palace, Vienna

October 1862

XV.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Bad Kissingen Spa, Bavaria

June 1866

XVI.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Hofburg Palace, Vienna

February 1867

XVII.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Schönbrunn Summer Palace, Vienna

Spring 1867

XVIII.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Budapest, Hungary

June 1867

XIX.

CHAPTER NINETEEN

Budapest, Hungary

June 8, 1867

A Conversation with the Author Allison Pataki

Acknowledgments

Reading Group Guide

About Allison Pataki

To my parents, Libby & George

Like thine own sea birds,

I’ll circle without rest.

For me earth holds no corner

To build a lasting nest.

—Empress Elisabeth “Sisi” of Austria

“So quick bright things come to confusion.”

—William Shakespeare’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
, Sisi’s favorite play

Introduction

The year is
1853 and the Habsburg Empire covers much of Europe, stretching from the Russian border in the east to Italy in the west, from northern Germany south to the Balkans.

Emperor Franz Joseph, one of the most powerful crowned heads in the world, rules over more than 35 million souls, including Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims. His people are of Austrian, Hungarian, German, Czech, Croatian, Italian, Gypsy, and other descents.

Austria is the quintessential multiethnic empire, a polyglot patchwork held together not by a unifiying nationality, religion, language, or even a feeling of mutual affection. One thing alone unites these divergent lands, people, and interests: Franz Joseph. A handsome young man in his early twenties, with auburn waves of hair and serious blue eyes, Franz Joseph rules by divine right, a blessed figure, an institution more than just a mere man.

Franz Joseph ascends to power in the year 1848, the year that revolutions roil across Europe, toppling crowns on a wave of liberal idealism and nationalistic fervor. Nowhere is that revolutionary zeal more fiercely espoused, and then crushed, than in the Austrian Empire. Quashing revolts in both Hungary and Italy, Franz Joseph takes the throne from a weak uncle and solidifies his grip over the government in Vienna and the entire kingdom.

But a few years into his reign, a Hungarian nationalist attacks the emperor while he strolls through Vienna, lodging a knife blade in the young Franz Joseph’s neck. The empire trembles and prays as the emperor lies in a hospital bed, recovering from the wound. The need for a Habsburg heir has never been more apparent.

With his good looks, his charming personality, and, not least of all, his glittering kingdom, Franz Joseph faces no shortage of young ladies eager to be his bride.

But Franz Joseph’s most powerful advisor is not some stiff-necked general or mustached bureaucrat; the person from whom Franz Joseph most often takes his counsel is his mother. Archduchess Sophie is, after all, the very person who has groomed him all his life for this role and has found the way to thrust him onto a throne that hadn’t belonged to him. And she already has a bride in mind.

BOOK: The Accidental Empress
2.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt
Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse by Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, George R. R. Martin
Solar Storm by Carter, Mina
BrokenHearted by Brooklyn Taylor
Cole: A Bad Boy Romance by Hart, Michelle
season avatars 03 - chaos season by almazan, sandra ulbrich