summary courtesy of Goodreads: When city girl Liz is banished to a rural goat farm on the outskirts of Portland, the 15-year-old feels her life spiraling out of control. She can’t connect to her father or his young girlfriend, and past trauma adds to her sense of upheaval. The only person who seems to keep her sane is a troubled boy who is fighting his own demons. But all of this changes in one historical instant.
One-hundred fifty years earlier, Elisabeth of Bavaria has troubles of her own. Her childhood is coming to a crashing end, and her destiny is written in the form of a soothsaying locket that has the ability to predict true love. But evil is afoot in the form of a wicked enchantress who connives to wield the power of the locket for her own destructive ends.
When Liz finds a time-worn diary, and within it a locket, she discovers the secrets and desires of the young Bavarian princess who will one day grow up to be the legendary Empress of Austria.
It is in the pages of the diary that these two heroines will meet, and it is through their interwoven story that Liz will discover she has the power to rewrite history—including her own...
The Empress Chronicles seems unusual because it ties together a contemporary protagonist with one who lived her life many, many years ago. This isn’t a Dear America or Royal Diaries installment—this is a very interesting blend of “now” and history. I picked it up (not just because I am a fan of German history) but because the story of Sisi is an engrossing and tragic tale in its own right, and I was curious to see what sort of role Sisi would have in Liz’s life.
As for Liz herself, I found her engrossing immediately. I felt for her. I felt for her during her episodes, and I felt for her as she did her best to adjust to her new way of life. She made for a convincing protagonist.
I enjoyed the history and the pacing from the start. Lately after reading so many stories of fictional princesses, it was nice to curl up with this book and read an imagining of a “real” historical princess.
My enjoyment of the history and the protagonist helped me to get through the bumpy spots—I wasn’t entirely convinced by the introduction of magic in the book, and the ending really did make me frown and swipe, frustrated across my iPad screen. Is there going to be a sequel?
As potentially shallow as it may be, I wish the cover somehow incorporated Sisi more so than just the castle of Neuschwanstein— this one might be a hard sell to teens just based on the cover alone. That being said, this book was a really interesting incorporation of historical fiction into a modern narrative, and I would definitely pick up a sequel!
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