At the Castle of Dreams

A Country Girl Empress Novel

Fiction - Historical - Personage
315 Pages
Reviewed on 01/15/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A. Piper Burgi is the award-winning author of several non-fiction books, and recently added six historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings. Her novel, THE COUNTRY GIRL EMPRESS was a Firebird Book Award winner {Category: Historical Fiction}, and Readers' Favorite Book Reviews named her women's fiction novel IN THE SHADOW OF HER MAJESTY "...a rollicking good read, full of humor, intrigue, tension and darkness behind the velvet and lace elegance of early Elizabethan England. "

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

At the Castle of Dreams is the fifth book in A Country Girl Empress series by A. Piper Burgi. Crown Prince Rudolph is found dead at his hunting lodge along with his mistress. Devastated and grief-stricken, Sisi and Franz have no idea what really happened. While losing their son is torturous for the couple, the scandal that ensues is even worse for them. While Sisi attempts to figure out how and why her son died, she also has to think about the Heir Presumptive after Sisi and Franz are gone. But things are not that simple and they are never going to be. Sisi has to come to terms with her loss, her grief, and the end of her dreams before she can do anything about the future that awaits the Danube monarchy.

Sisi is such a strong character. She is a pillar of strength and character, exactly what you would expect from a monarch and a leader. She takes charge of the situation even when she was crumbling with grief. The narrative reveals a lot about Sisi as a woman and her own dreams rather than a monarch who leads her people with grace. The pace is perfect and so are the descriptions. They are detailed and rich, which is expected from a historical fiction novel of this caliber. A. Piper Burgi pays close attention to details, each sentence is art and has an almost lyrical flow. At the Castle of Dreams has a rhythm that you will enjoy and feel. I loved it!

Jessica Barbosa

The death of Crown Prince Rudolph shakes the nation to its core. The monarchy is filled with inner and outer strife; was the crown prince's death due to a double suicide? A murder? Empress Sisi is estranged from her only son because from the moment he was born he did not belong to her but to the monarchy. Despite their distant relationship, she was still eager to uncover the truth of his untimely demise! It is easier said than done. Silence follows her questions and she wonders if everyone was ordered to keep their mouth shut as though that would make her forget about her only son’s death. However, things may be more complicated than what she was led to believe. Read At the Castle of Dreams: A Country Girl Empress Novel by A. Piper Burgi, and immerse yourself in this historical fiction novel.

The first part of At the Castle of Dreams helpfully gives readers the timeline of the events, so I did not feel lost as I read. A. Piper Burgi has created this intriguing tale following the death of Empress Sisi’s estranged son, Rudi. Empress Sisi has been through a lot and I appreciate that she still tried to search for the truth behind her son’s death despite her distant relationship with him. The way she mourns for him by wearing black past the mourning period is her way of showing the people that despite their estrangement and rumors swirling about his death, she still loved her son. Burgi’s story takes us through the twists and turns of the most powerful empire’s monarchy.

If I closed my eyes, I could almost imagine myself in the 1880s, surrounded by ladies-in-waiting, countesses, and duchesses. Reading this tale has immersed me in a Victorian-like era and I was transfixed by the secrets and the image the monarchy consistently builds in front of its people. When the monarchy is involved, things aren’t always what they seem and there is almost always more to the story than people are led to believe. Overall, this was a fascinating, historical tale and I enjoyed reading about the intrigues in the monarchy and the unique love between Empress Sisi and Emperor Franz Joseph. Great job!