Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite
In Excerpts from the Imperial Diary, the newest book in the Country Girl Empress series by A. Piper Burgi, we find an older Sisi that has remained on the go despite her natural aging. Sisi still goes about her life as she always had. Rudi is married to Princess Stéphanie of Belgium and the couple has only one child together. The couple gives Sisi constant worry as she watches them drift apart. Her youngest daughter is now growing up and has fallen head over heels for Archduke Franz Salvator of Austria-Tuscany, and the empress sees how happy she is with the man. Now all she must do is convince the emperor, her husband, that the match is perfect. Franz, meanwhile, has had his eye on a beautiful new actress named Kathi Schratt who began working for the Vienna theater recently. This concerns the aging empress, and she sets out to meet the woman. She finds Kathi to be a kind and soft-spoken lady, and Sisi immediately finds herself liking the actress. Wanting her husband to have a companion when she’s gone, Sisi asks Kathi to step into her place as a confidant while she is abroad. While life seems normal in the royal family, there is a lot of tension and scandal going on behind the scenes. Aside from her sons’ extra-marital affairs, her cousin Otto of Bavaria is declared insane and Prince Luitpold is now trying to get his other nephew, King Ludwig of Bavaria, declared the same so he can assume the power to the throne as Regent.
Once again A. Piper Burgi has written another amazing historical novel about one of Europe's most enigmatic consorts. Like the other books I have read in the Country Girl Empress series, this novel is beautifully written and immediately grabs your attention. I love how Burgi put herself in the shoes of this often misunderstood Empress, showing us how relatable she actually was to her subjects. With each novel, we see Sisi at different stages of her life as well as the moments are written down in history, but this time it’s through Sisi’s eyes and not history. As someone who is a huge royalty buff, the books follow the Austrian monarch's life so closely and include all the major events which I have read in biographies on Sisi’s life. I also love that aside from the empress, we have many parts from Rudolph’s perspective. It was very interesting reading his parts mainly because in history books we know how his life ended. For anyone who dies in that manner, there is always a question as to what happened leading up to the suicide. We will never truly know but Burgi has done a great job writing his final actions and thoughts. As always, I absolutely enjoyed reading Excerpts from the Imperial Diary and can’t wait to read about the next stage in Sisi’s life.