“Pataki’s latest follows where her earlier novel, The Accidental Empress, left off, as she chronicles the life of Empress Elisabeth “Sisi” of Austria-Hungary. The narrative picks up in the mid-19th century, with Sisi in her early 30s, no longer the naive girl who married Emperor Franz Joseph at 16. With Sisi’s diplomatic assistance, Franz is able to broker a union that forges the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy. Yet Sisi often frequents Godollo Palace in Hungary, disliking the constant scrutiny of the Viennese Court and enjoying companionship with County Andrassy. Pataki’s extensive historical research is evident as she deftly explores the complex life of a woman who was both loved and hated by those whom she ruled. Though her life as an empress seemed like one of ease, with opulent dwellings and magnificent wealth, she is portrayed as a lonely person, as well as a true survivor and a woman ahead of her time. She faces the infidelity of her husband, the emotional and physical distance of her older children, and the death of her middle daughter, Sophie, when she is just a toddler. Pataki brings richness and relevance to the story of the woman who worked tirelessly to protect the face of an empire. “
In her new book, author Allison Pataki tells the story of Desiree Clary, the 19th-century Queen who established the dynasty that still rules Sweden today.