I’ll fully admit to picking Elisabeth out of personal bias. My family is from Austria on my mom’s side and my grandmother was named after Empress Elisabeth. (My middle name is Elizabeth, although I’m named after the saint that was the mother of John the Evangelist. But I still claim Elisabeth, too.) I’ve been to both Hapsburg palaces in Austria and my grandmother and I are convinced we either knew her in a previous life or are related to her somehow. But I digress.
Known as Sisi to friends and family, she helped bring about the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary in 1867, which was a political powerhouse in Europe. Her husband, Franz Joseph, was deeply in love with her, although it doesn’t appear she felt the same. Most biographers report her life being an unhappy one, despite her legacy and noble ranking. Elisabeth was the longest serving Empress-consort of Austria, at 44 years. She was stabbed to death in 1898.
Interestingly, there seems to be a surge in historical fiction about Sisi lately. Recent fictional portrayals include The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin, The Accidental Empress by Alison Pataki and the just published Sisi: Empress on Her Own, also by Alison Pataki.