Friday, October 28, 2016
In a Gilded Cage by Susan Appleyard
Elisabeth (Sisi) enjoyed a carefree lifestyle in the hills of Bavaria until she was chosen by Emperor Franz Josef of Austria to be his wife. At the age of sixteen she moved into the imperial palaces of Vienna, where a hostile court despised her for her low birth and strict protocol ruled her every act. She had no other purpose than to adorn the emperor's arm on ceremonial occasions and to make babies who were taken from her at birth to be raised by her domineering mother-in-law. Of too sensitive a spirit, she was often ill and anorexic, and twice had to flee the court to distant places in order to heal. She struggled to find a place for herself in this alien environment until she found a cause into which she could pour her heart and soul: Hungary. Like Sisi herself, Hungary struggled to find a place for itself where it would not be subsumed by a soulless empire. Having found her salvation, she also found a man she could love in the great patriot, Count Andrassy.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I have come to love historical fictions and was so excited to read this one. I don't think I have read anything about the Austrian Royal family before so this was extremely interesting to me. Reading this has made me want to learn more about them!
I loved Sisi and my heart acjed for her lost childhood and innocence. I can't imagine being thrust into such a position after living a wonderful, carefree life. And, being a mother myself, my heart was broken when reading about the different situations with her children (trying not to give spoilers here).
I do have to say, I would love to here more about Sisi's sister, Helene (Nené). To learn her thoughts and feelings about not being chosen and how her life was after going back home. Maybe I'm alone in thinking this, but I think it would make a great story.
Another thing that I would love is for there to be a sequel! I want more! More about the next years of Sisi's life. More about her relationship with Franz, her mother-in-law, and her children. I just really want more!
In a Gilded Cage was a great book and I am thankful to have been given the chance to read and review it!
*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.