Thursday, September 12, 2019

Historical Book Review: In A Gilded Cage by Susan Appleyard

In A Gilded Cage by Susan Appleyard
Self-Published 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
pages: 320
Available in paperback and ebook

Reviewers note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you are interested in seeing more about this book, click on the cover above and it will take you to its Amazon page.

PLOT: In A Gilded Cage is the story of Elizabeth, known affectionately as Sisi, born in 1837 into the royal Bavaria house of Wittelsbach. Raised in a family with a forward thinking father and a reluctantly indulgent mother, Sisi has a delightfully unconventional childhood. At the age of 16 she travels with her older sister who their mother hopes will catch the eye of their cousin, Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria. To her surprise, it is Sisi who wins the heart and hand of the most powerful monarch in Europe. But, Sisi, is unprepared for the strict environment of the Hapsburg court, where every move and word is analyzed and one misstep can bring unhappy consequences. 

CHARACTERS: Elizabeth is a complicated character and Appleyard does a good job of bringing her to life. From petulant child-bride to a woman fighting for her place in the world we follow the evolution of Elizabeth as she comes into her own as Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. Her battles with her controlling mother-in-law and her dedicated but emotionally detached husband pull the reader into her world. Despite being one of the most admired and talked about women of her age, her life is miserable and those of us along for the ride feel pity for the woman she becomes.  

HISTORY: Meticulously researched, the waning days of the Hapsburgs and the Austro-Hungarian empire spring from the pages of this book. From the stiff court manners. the exhausting schedule of balls and social events to the daily routine of dressing, we become intimately acquainted with her world. I enjoyed the political/military history of the region as well, especially the description of the Hungarian fight for autonomy. 

WRITING: The writing is good, the pace is steady. I was never bored and found myself surprised that I had reached the end of the novel. Some of the themes are a bit repetitive but did not distract me from enjoying the book. 

CONCLUSION: Although a work of fiction, this is a serious look at the life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, biographies, and royalty.

I rate this book 4 Stars!


My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend

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