• Valerie Nijssen

What I Read - June 2018

Updated: Apr 28, 2019


Hi everyone!

I hope you have all been well and that the month of June has been filled with happy memories for you. This months book recommendation is still a bit in tune with my trip to Vienna, and the things I learned there about Austria's famous beautiful empress.


Much has been made of empress Elisabeth, who is probably better known today as Sissi. In the romantisised films starring Romy Schneider we see a lovable emperor and empress who lead a tricky but romantic love story. Although this is still the much believed and prefered version of her story today,as I like many others grew up with these movies (it gets aired here every year during the christmas season). I soon learned also due to my visit to Shönbrunn palace and the Hofburg that the real Elisabeth of Austria lead a very different life indeed.


I love novels, and the different angles and interpretations the writers may have to a story that is based on real people. But what I was really interested in was a book that told the story based on the not so glamorous and real events that occured in Elisabeth's life. That's where these two books enter.


Allison Pataki has taken on the task to tell a different version then the much loved movie directed and written by Ernst Marischka told. She humanizes Elisabeth by sticking to true facts and writing how she believed Elisabeth might have felt as these events took place. She enhances how Elisabeth took on the role of Empress at the tender age of sixteen by marrying what she thought was for love. As soon turns out, the life of royalty was not suited for Elisabeth who was a free spirit forced to live life under court protocol. It is in truth quite a sad story, but these books tell such a compelling tale and gives so much understanding to the complex and melancholic woman Elisabeth became.


It is really one of the best books I have ever read. You really feel for Elisabeth and understand that the dramatisized views of her really just don't do her any justice. She becomes human rather then the immortalized complex empress. Alison really created a masterpiece, and if you are interested in Elisabeth of Austria or if you even are a fan of the movies I highly recommend you to read these two books. It may not be the more fun and uplifting story out of the two, but honestly it is much more realistic and a better legacy to a immortalized empress who is essentially just human.


It also shows how much progress there has been made since then surrounding mental health. Where it was not understood at all in that era, we have a much better view and understanding now as we fight to break the stigmas in order to help each other when we struggle. 


It is seriously a good read, so if you like these sort of books then I'd say go and get it. I don't think you will regret it.


Did you read anything good this month?




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