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Extended Audio Sample The Accidental Empress, by Allison Pataki Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Allison Pataki Narrator: Madeleine Mab Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This novel is captivating, absorbing, and beautifully told.”

    Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author

  • The Accidental Empress is lush, romantic, and enlightening—a truly lovely novel.”

    Therese Fowler, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Diving deep into the pages of history and bringing up a heroine who is not only a jewel but a red-blooded, complicated woman, allowing us to see history through a refreshingly new perspective. Smart, interesting, and chock-full of betrayal, intrigue, and love—The Accidental Empress had me glued to the page.”

    Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Intricately plotted…engrossing and incredibly real. Readers will find themselves immersed in Sisi’s tumultuous, troubled life and will be awed at how much of this is directly from history books…Prepare to feel as if you have actually been transported back in time.”

    RT Book Reviews (4 stars)

  • “Sisi’s story is still popular in Austria but is less well known outside of it, and this novel offers an engrossing introduction to this colorful nineteenth-century personality. Even historical fiction readers who have grown weary of ‘royal marriage’ plots will find much to savor here in the striking depictions of the Viennese court and intriguing descriptions of the political maneuvers between Austria and Hungary. Highly recommended for fans of both Michelle Moran and Philippa Gregory.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “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 

  • “Narrator Madeleine Maby’s careful pacing aids listeners in keeping track of the many characters and time shifts in this detailed novel loosely based on historical events.”


  • “I felt as if I’d been transported to Austria in this powerful and sweeping novel. A heart wrenching, beautiful story—rich with historical detail and political intrigue. Skillful and utterly captivating.”

    M. J. Rose, author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows

  • “Allison Pataki brings to life one of the most enigmatic, intelligent, and stunningly beautiful women ever to have graced a court in Europe. A remarkable novel about a truly remarkable empress!”

    Michelle Moran, author of Rebel Queen

  • “With her meticulous attention to historical detail and powerfully entertaining storytelling skills, Allison Pataki is a force in historical fiction…The Accidental Empress is an epic tale of honor, power, and love. Breathtaking!”

    Erika Robuck, author of Hemingway’s Girl

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