Friday, February 20, 2015

Kismet Book Tours, Interview, & Giveaway: The Accidental Empress (Allison Pataki)

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. Intrigued by Sisi’s guileless charm and energetic spirit, not to mention her unrivaled beauty, Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.

Plucked from obscurity and thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi has no idea what struggles and dangers—and temptations—await her. 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, compelling characters, The Accidental Empress offers a captivating glimpse into the bedrooms and staterooms of one of history’s most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Habsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved “Fairy Queen.”

About The Accidental Empress:


Also from Allison Pataki:

About The Traitor’s Wife:

Allison Pataki is the author of the New York Times bestselling historical novel, The Traitor's Wife. She graduated Cum Laude from Yale University with a major in English and spent several years writing for TV and online news outlets. The daughter of former New York State Governor George E. Pataki, Allison was inspired to write her second novel, The Accidental Empress, by her family’s deep roots in the former Habsburg empire of Austria-Hungary. Allison is the co-founder of the nonprofit organization, ReConnect Hungary. Allison is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and, as well as a member of The Historical Novel Society. Allison lives in Chicago with her husband. To learn more and connect with Allison or on Twitter.

What a captivating story! I will admit it had a bit of a slow start but when Sisi met Franz...I was hooked! I love historical romance! This book was full of vivid detail of the life and love of Sisi, Empress Elizabeth of the Austrian Empire. The author did an amazing job depicting every detail of life in the 1800's. I always thought I would like to have their gowns but probably not after reading about how heavy they were! I would definitely recommend this book! Outstanding! 

Who is your favorite character in the book?

I have to pick my protagonist and heroine, Sisi! She was and continues to be a fascinating, complex, modern, beautiful, and tragic leading lady. She was Europe’s last great Empress, as it was her family that declared war and began World War I. She was known as the “most beautiful woman in the world,” but it was her wit and individuality and charisma that made her a legend in her own time. I fell completely under her spell as the writer, and I can’t wait for readers to get to know her and share this incredibly rich journey with her. 

Sisi is the character, too, who grows the most throughout this novel. We begin with a naïve girl of fifteen and we end the story with a confident and strong woman who has come into her own. I want readers to empathize with the great things she did and tried to do. I want readers to be transported to her world of imperial Vienna. I want readers to be drawn into the love triangle in which Sisi finds herself. I want readers to empathize with the incredibly moving and relevant difficulties Sisi weathers, not only as a Habsburg empress, but as a wife, a mother, and an individual seeking her own purpose in a treacherous court and a shifting world. 

 What do you like most about the time that this book is set in?

Great question. It is so hard to pick just one aspect! I guess I would say the aesthetics of it all. Just how lush the whole ambiance was. Picture men in tuxedos and women in lavish ball gowns, dancing to imperial violins before the backdrop of gilded and glittering palaces. It’s all very sumptuous and romantic, and yet, there is always so much drama and intrigue lurking beneath the beautiful facades. Things are never quite how they seem. 

But it’s more than just these evocative details. This was an incredibly significant time period in world history. Sisi presided over the golden era of the Habsburg Court, in an age that gave us advances in culture and the arts and architecture, as well as advances in science and politics. Her family gave us the castle that we all know of as “The Walt Disney Castle.” Her family gave us the waltz and Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Klimt’s paintings. Sisi ruled at the time when a young Doctor named Sigmund Freud was just down the street in Vienna inventing the practice of psychoanalysis. And this reign of Sisi and Franz Joseph takes us right up to the doorstep of World War I. Her heir was the man who was assassinated (Archduke Franz Ferdinand), prompting her husband to declare war and setting off World War I, the greatest armed conflict the world had known to that point.

So, it’s an incredibly rich and exciting and shifty time, and I hope readers will enjoy being immersed into this world. It was certainly a blast for me, as the writer, to try to build it with words.

Which scene is your most favorite?

The scene of the Hungarian coronation in Budapest, which is interwoven throughout the novel and then caps off the novel as a grand finale. Readers will see that that moment was Sisi’s moment of triumph. It was at that time that Sisi reached the height of her power, her influence, and her physical strength and beauty. It’s also the moment in which many loose threads of the novel’s plot come together—for Sisi and for the other characters. Plus, it’s just plain fun to write about a party as lavish and grand as a coronation atop the city of Budapest.

The years leading up to this moment had been grueling and depleting and difficult—not only for Sisi, but for the whole Habsburg Court. This moment signifies that Sisi, as an empress and a woman, has a new plan—both for herself and for the court and empire. Watch out, Sisi has entered the palace!

 Is there anything you would like to add?

I think Sisi’s story would look great on the big screen! It lends itself so well to the film medium. I’m already brainstorming actors and actresses! Any ideas?

Tour Schedule:

Monday, February 9th - Reader Girls - Guest Post
Tuesday, February 10th - Sassy Book Lovers - Excerpt
Wednesday, February 11th - Fine Lines - Author Interview
Thursday, February 12th - Reading Reality - Guest Post
Friday, February 13th - Fiktshun - Author Interview

Monday, February 16th - The Maiden's Court - Guest Post
Tuesday, February 17th - Bewitched Bookworms - Author Interview
Wednesday, February 18th - Fire and Ice - Guest Post
Thursday, February 19th - Bookish - Author Interview
Friday, February 20th - Curling Up With A Good Book - Author Interview

Monday, February 23rd - Books and Things - Guest Post
Tuesday, February 24th - Books Glorious Books - Excerpt
Wednesday, February 25th - Sara In Bookland - Author Interview
Thursday, February 26th - Historical Fiction Obsession - Guest Post
Friday, February 27th - Library of a Book Witch - Author Interview


  1. I enjoyed the interview. The book sounds great.

  2. The whole book is just so interesting. love the cover.

  3. Love the cover book looks great will want to read.

  4. Central Europan history is so complex and interesting. Sisi looks like a good character through which to view it.