The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki (Book Review)

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki (Book Review)The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
Series: Sisi #1
Published by: Howard Books
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 512
My Rating:
Buy It Now (Affiliate Link): Buy on Amazon

New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki follows up on her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Traitor’s Wife, with the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi” the Austro-Hungarian Empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph.

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.

With Pataki’s rich period detail and cast of complex, bewitching characters, The Accidental Empress offers a captivating glimpse into one of history’s most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Hapsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved “Fairy Queen.”


NYT bestselling author Allison Pataki has done it again! When I read her debut novel The Traitor’s Wife I raved endlessly about it. I loved it. I tweeted Allison constantly telling her how amazing she is and I wrote about it multiple times even including it in the top 5 books I read in 2014.

I read a different book earlier this year that was also about Empress Sisi and her love affair with Captain Bay Middleton and it didn’t live up to my expectations at all. In fact, I was bitterly disappointed so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that Allison Pataki was writing her own novel about the Empress only this time it wasn’t about her love affair with Captain Middleton. It was about Franz Joseph, the man she would ultimately marry. The only problem is that this man was her own sister’s fiance.

The Accidental Empress, as expected, was fantastic!

When I finished it I was left wishing I could meet Allison in person, hug her, and just thank her for writing the story of Empress Sisi that I wanted to read.

In 1853 the Habsburgs were Europe’s most powerful ruling family with an empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy. The Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry. When 15-year old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor, she finds herself in an unexpected dilemma. Sisi 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.

I love this real-life historical drama.

I mean…stealing your sister’s fiance so that you can become an Empress?! Can you imagine? History tells us that it happened but it’s historical fiction like Allison Pataki’s The Accidental Empress that makes it come alive. Allison gives depth to Sisi, her sister Helene and Emperor Franz. She offers insight into the love affair and the struggles that Sisi faced becoming Empress and winning the hearts of a new family and a new country. She gives soul to cold factual history and that’s what I love about Allison Pataki and her novels. She makes me care.

When I first saw Allison tweet about this novel I immediately made a note of it and watched her Twitter feed obsessively regularly waiting for updates. When I saw her tweet (and another friend of mine mentioned) that she was looking for people to be on the launch team for her book I immediately applied and was thrilled when I was accepted! What does that mean? Well, it means that she sent me a copy of her book a few weeks ago so I could read it and tell you all about it. Since I loved The Traitor’s Wife so much I knew I would love this one too and of course, Allison didn’t disappoint.

The Accidental Empress was amazing and absolutely lives up to the hype.

Ashley LaMar
Ashley bounces between Atlanta, GA + Charleston, WV with her husband and two small dogs for life and work. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. Follow her on Twitter @ashleyfromfbl
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