Skip to main content

The Lonely Empress: Elizabeth of Austria by Joan Haslip: A Book Review

The Lonely Empress: Elizabeth of Austria
Author: Joan Haslip
Genre: History, Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher: Phoenix
Release Date: 2000
Pages: 464
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Consort to Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, Elizabeth was a modern woman who fled the confines of Habsburg to roam free--she fancied dangerous riding, sailing and poetry--but her life ended with her assassination in 1896. 
    My Review: Elisabeth of Austria is considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful queens. At the age of 15, Elisabeth caught the eye of Emperor Franz Joseph, who was at the time courting her sister. The Emperor immediately fell in love with her and decided to marry her. At first Elisabeth’s marriage seemed to be a fairy-tale. However, her love for Franz Joseph quickly deteriorated. Suffering from an overbearing mother-in-law and a stiff court, Empress Elisabeth left her husband, her family, and her duties as an Empress. Over the course of 35 years, she traveled the countries of Europe, sightseeing and going to spas. This is the story of the Empress who was never happy with being queen.

    I came away from the book intensely disliking Elisabeth of Austria. While the author gives us the impression of the Empress having a mental illness that was inherited from her mother's side, she was still a very unsympathetic figure. Mrs. Haslip portrays Elisabeth as self-absorbed, vain, and narcissistic. She did not care about her husband and her two eldest surviving children. She did not care for her country, and politics bored her. The Empress only cared about her beauty and her personal pleasures. She spent millions traveling the world and even built a palace that she quickly tired of. She wanted everyone to fawn over and worship her like a goddess on Mount Olympus.

    Mrs. Haslip also paints a one-sided portrait of Franz Joseph. The author shows that he does not have any flaws. Even when he has affairs, Mrs. Haslip quickly dismisses it and blames the Empress’s sentimental behavior. Franz Joseph is described as a lonely man. He always misses and longs for his wife. He writes her many letters during her absence. He is overindulgent and never refuses the Empress anything. He spends millions trying to make her happy, much to the disapproval of his subjects.

    Overall, this was a very unsympathetic but fascinating look at Elisabeth of Austria. Elisabeth is a very complex figure and it is hard for anyone to try to understand her. However, The Lonely Empress was very well-written and meticulously researched. It shows the splendor, glitz, and glamour of the Austrian court. The Lonely Empress tells a tragic tale of a woman who longed to escape the harshness of reality into a world of a dreams and fairy tales.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


Popular posts from this blog

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Release Date: February 15, 2022 Pages: 381 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweath

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem by Dave Tamanini: A Book Review

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem Author: Dave Tamanini Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Publisher: David F Tamanini Release Date: 2020 Pages: 317 Source: Publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: If you love historical fiction... come revisit Salem's terror in this provocative new telling of enslaved Tituba, no longer a caricature, but a fully human woman with magical powers.      Come! Let Tituba cast its spell with a unique and tantalizing tale that explores the wild emotions driving accusations of witchcraft in 1692.      A Promise and a Hope      Enslaved Tituba has been faithful to a promise to her dying mama in Africa. She has appeased the masters from Barbados to Boston to Salem and waited for her magic.      A Mother’s Agony      When Tituba’s only son dies trying to escape slavery, her life changes forever. After enduring the crush only a mother can feel, she rages and turns to vengeance.      Witches Tear into Salem      The villagers see wi

Interview with Tessa Afshar

     It was my honor to do an interview with Tessa Afshar! Ms. Afshar is one of the top-selling Christian fiction authors in the genre. Her books have won numerous awards in the field and her books show the love she has for the roots of Christianity. I asked Ms. Afshar about her latest work, Daughter of Rome . The novel focuses on Priscilla and Aquila, who had once brought Paul into their home  for 18 months. I appreciate Ms. Afshar taking the time for my interview, and I hope you enjoy looking into the latest work by Tessa Afshar, Daughter of Rome ! What attracted you to the story of Aquila and Priscilla? Although we know little about this extraordinary couple, what we do know is spellbinding: they saved Paul’s life, set up house churches in different cities in the Roman Empire, shared the gospel with many Gentiles, and became influential spiritual leaders through some of the most harrowing years of the church’s history. Their marriage must have been remarkable! Ther