Cover art for The Accidental Empress

The Accidental Empress

5 ratings

Summary

New York Times best-selling 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."

©2015 Allison Pataki. All rights reserved (P)2015 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved

Narrator: Madeleine Maby
Length: 18 hrs and 4 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Sisi

Sisi

3 ratings

Summary

For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel by New York Times best-selling author Allison Pataki. Sisi tells the little-known story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, the Princess Diana of her time, in an enthralling work of historical fiction that is also a gripping pause resister. Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth - fondly known as Sisi - captures the hearts of her people as their "fairy queen", but beneath that dazzling persona lives a far more complex figure. In mid-19th-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Feeling stifled by strict protocols and a turbulent marriage, Sisi grows restless. A free-spirited wanderer, she finds solace at her estate outside Budapest. There she rides her beloved horses and enjoys visits from the Hungarian statesman Count Andrássy, the man with whom she's unwittingly fallen in love. But tragic news brings Sisi out of her fragile seclusion, forcing her to return to her capital and a world of gossip, envy, and sorrow where a dangerous fate lurks in the shadows. Through love affairs and loss, dedication and defiance, Sisi struggles against conflicting desires: to keep her family together or to flee amid the collapse of her suffocating marriage and the gathering tumult of the First World War. In an age of crumbling monarchies, Sisi fights to assert her right to the throne beside her husband, to win the love of her people and the world, and to save an empire. But in the end, can she save herself? Featuring larger-than-life historic figures such as Bavaria's "Mad King Ludwig" and the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf, and set against many of Europe's grandest sites - from Germany's storied Neuschwanstein Castle to England's lush shires - Sisi brings to life an extraordinary woman and the romantic, volatile era over which she presided.

©2016 Allison Pataki (P)2016 Random House Audio

Length: 17 hrs and 22 mins
Available on Audible
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Where the Light Falls

2 ratings

Summary

A rich and sweeping novel of courage, duty, sacrifice, and love set during the French Revolution from New York Times best-selling author Allison Pataki and her brother, Owen Pataki Three years after the storming of the Bastille, the streets of Paris are roiling with the spirit of revolution. The citizens of France are enlivened by the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The monarchy of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette has been dismantled - with the help of the guillotine - and a new nation is rising in its place. Jean-Luc, an idealistic young lawyer, moves his wife, Marie, and their infant son from their comfortable life in Marseille to Paris in the hopes of joining the cause. André, the son of a denounced duke, has evaded execution by joining the new French army. And Sophie, a beautiful aristocratic widow, embarks on her own fight for independence against her powerful, vindictive uncle. As chaos threatens to undo the progress of the Revolution and the demand for justice breeds instability and paranoia, the lives of these compatriots become inextricably linked. Jean-Luc, André, and Sophie find themselves in a world where survival seems increasingly less likely - for themselves and, indeed, for the nation. Featuring cameos from legendary figures such as Maximilien Robespierre, King Louis XVI, and Alexandre Dumas, Where the Light Falls is an epic and engrossing novel, moving from the streets and courtrooms of Paris to Napoleon's epic march across the burning sands of Egypt. With vivid detail and imagery, the Patakis capture the hearts and minds of the citizens of France fighting for truth above all and for their beliefs in a cause greater than themselves.

©2017 Allison Pataki and Owen Pataki (P)2017 Random House Audio

Narrator: Bruce Mann
Length: 14 hrs and 22 mins
Available on Audible
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The Queen's Fortune

2 ratings

Summary

A sweeping novel about the extraordinary woman who captured Napoleon’s heart, created a dynasty, and changed the course of history - from the New York Times best-selling author of The Traitor's Wife, The Accidental Empress, and Sisi. As the French revolution ravages the country, Desiree Clary is faced with the life-altering truth that the world she has known and loved is gone, and it’s fallen on her to save her family from the guillotine.  A chance encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte, the ambitious and charismatic young military prodigy, provides her answer. When her beloved sister, Julie, marries his brother, Joseph, Desiree and Napoleon’s futures become irrevocably linked. Quickly entering into their own passionate, dizzying courtship that leads to a secret engagement, they vow to meet in the capital once his career has been secured. But her newly laid plans with Napoleon turn to sudden heartbreak, thanks to the rising star of Parisian society, Josephine de Beauharnais. Once again, Desiree’s life is turned on its head.  Swept to the glittering halls of the French capital, Desiree is plunged into the inner circle of the new ruling class, becoming further entangled with Napoleon, his family, and the new Empress. But her fortunes shift once again when she meets Napoleon's confidant and star general, the indomitable Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. As the two men in Desiree’s life become political rivals and military foes, the question that arises is: Must she choose between the love of her new husband and the love of her nation and its Emperor? From the lavish estates of the French Riviera to the raucous streets of Paris and Stockholm, Desiree finds herself at the epicenter of the rise and fall of an empire, navigating a constellation of political giants and dangerous, shifting alliances. Emerging from an impressionable girl into a fierce young woman, she discovers that to survive in this world she must learn to rely upon her instincts and her heart. Allison Pataki’s meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined novel sweeps listeners into the unbelievable life of a woman almost lost to history - a woman who, despite the swells of a stunning life and a tumultuous time, not only adapts and survives but, ultimately, reigns at the helm of a dynasty that outlasts an empire.

©2020 Allison Pataki (P)2020 Random House Audio

Narrator: Justine Eyre
Length: 15 hrs and 49 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Traitor's Wife

The Traitor's Wife

Summary

A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America’s most infamous act of treason.… Everyone knows Benedict Arnold - the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British - as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: A charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it. Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: Loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold. Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.

©2014 Allison Pataki (P)2014 Simon & Schuster

Narrator: Madeleine Maby
Length: 16 hrs and 11 mins
Available on Audible
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Beauty in the Broken Places

Summary

The harrowing but ultimately life-affirming story of a young woman, pregnant with her first child, who is on a plane with her 30-year old physician husband when he has a near fatal stoke. On the flight to their "babymoon" in Hawaii before their first child arrived, Allison Pataki's husband turned to her to ask if his eye looked strange, and then suddenly lost consciousness. After making an emergency landing, they discovered that Dave, a lifelong, healthy athlete and orthopedic surgery resident at Rush Medical School in Chicago, had suffered a rare, and often fatal, stroke. Dave was one of the lucky ones though, and he survived, but the man who woke up from his coma was not the same man Allison had fallen in love with at Yale, the man she had given a four leaf clover to the night they got engaged with the caption: "May we always remember how lucky we are." In this stirring, deeply personal memoir, Pataki recounts the challenging year that followed: Dave's turbulent road to recovery; the joyous birth of their daughter; the struggle and isolation of being a caretaker; the support from family and loved ones; and her own reexamination of their future with the understanding of how fragile life is and how lucky we are to have the chance to live it.

©2018 Allison Pataki (P)2018 Random House Audio

Available on Audible