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Elisabeth: The Princess Bride, Austria - Hungary, 1853 (The Royal Diaries)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,734 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Author Barry Denenberg brings us into the whirlwind that is the life of Princess Elisabeth of Austria. A free and impetuous spirit, Elisabeth is chosen at the age of fifteen (over her older sister) to be the wife of Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria. From that moment on, she is thrown into an intimidating world of restrictions and tremendous responsibilities. Feeling lonely ...more
Hardcover, 151 pages
Published April 2003 by Scholastic (first published 2003)
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Lady Knight
I liked the diary part of this novel, but it really paled in comparison to the epilogue/afterword/historical note part that technically is not even part of the novel. The afterword is longer than the actual diary, and it really makes one wish that the novel had been based on her life after marriage, rather than on the few months between meeting the Emperor and marrying him. Elisabeth seems like such a tragic character and I think, basing my opinion on the afterword, that her life desearved much ...more
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I loved the Royal Diaries books when I was younger, and along with the Dear America series and American Girls, they started a lifelong love of history for me. As an adult, I have no qualms about occasionally reading one or two when nostalgia kicks in, because they're generally well-done and I still enjoy them. Anyway, I'm on a search for good historical fiction about Empress Elisabeth ("Sisi") and thought this would be worth picking up (never got around to reading this particular RD volume when ...more
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Fifteen-year-old Princess Elisabeth, called Sisi, is the daughter of Duke Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria and his wife, Princess Ludovica. She has had a carefree childhood in the Bavarian countryside. She spends as much of her days as possible horseback riding, her favorite pastime. But everything changes in the summer of 1857. Sisi's older sister, Helene, has been chosen to marry their cousin, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria. Their mother is taking Helene to meet Franz Joseph, and has decided to t ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For my next Royal Diaries book, I decided to read about Empress Elisabeth of Austria. I don’t really know anything about her, so I didn’t have any preconceived expectations or anything like that.

I’ve read a fair number of Royal Diaries books (including this one on Elisabeth, I have read 12 of the 20 books in this series), so from my experience so far, I think this book is the most put-together one. Some of the other diaries were just, well, diaries, where the princesses talked about their day to
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes when I read The Royal Diaries series I get most men wont pick it up because it says words like "princess", "royal", "diary" but look past that and realize these women had extraordinary lives and some, like the title character, die in an assassination. These are not the type of books for girls who think you life is easy if you're a princess (or similar titles). There are at least three other books in the series where the female monarch is assassinated or beheaded; something Disney would ...more
Feb 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: royal-diaries
I would have given this book 4 stars except I would have liked more backstory on Elisabeth's family and position and at 93 pages, the book definitely had space to do so. I mean, I didn't even know Poppy was her father until she mentions him having "other children". I also felt like there was a big disconnect between the diary portion and the historical note (and not just because the historical note doesn't really focus on Elisabeth). Elisabeth apparently became known as a fashion icon later in l ...more
Kelsey Hanson
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Wow. That was surprisingly short and depressing. This story is like the story of Cinderella if it had a sad ending. While it's not surprising and royal marriages in the past were rarely based on how the couple felt about each other. It is amazing that the emperor could be so impulsive and choose to marry a 16-year old girl more or less on a whim. Still, Elisabeth herself managed to live a fairly productive life as a style icon and stood up for herself and her children.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, a throwback.

I've adored this book for years, and it wasn't as good as I remembered it (really easy to read and a lot less...complex than I remember) but it was still so fun to reread.
Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Elisabeth, Princess Bride / 0-439-26644-0

Our beautiful subject, Elisabeth, is another rather obscure princess and something of a late edition to the Royal Diary series - her own death precedes World War I by just a couple of decades.

This is a very short book. The listing is for 151 pages, but after accounting for the epilogue and the "Author's Note" which sums up Elisabeth's later life and death, we are left with less than 100 pages of actual diary. The diary covers only the very short period of
I have had a fascination with Empress Elisabeth--or Sisi, or, indeed, Erszebet, as I first heard her called--since I traveled to Budapest and found the hotel, street, bridge, et cetera all named after her. And when I found her omnipresent in Vienna as well, I needed to know about the woman who had inspired such adoration. What a fascinating and incredible woman she was, and what a tragic story she had!

The "diary" part of this book is short and not at all deep--but this is a young adult, or poss
Carrie Slager
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-borrowed
My first thought upon finishing this book: No wonder the monarchies all around Europe fell. Such extravagance, ingrained traditions and lack of self-awareness! Such inbreeding! (Well, that was what the Hapsburgs were famous for, after all.)

If this wasn’t real historical fact, I’d be laughing at the cliché premise. I mean, really? A young princess goes with her older sister and mother to meet the Emperor of Austria with the hopes of arranging a marriage. The older sister is the one he’s supposed
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it
My friend and I were discussing about the Royal Diaries series one day, and we came to the topic of Elisabeth, or Sisi, as she was known.

I found this book a little too light hearted for my liking in comparison to her actual story. She comes off a little vain at the beginning, but after reading Marie Antoinette's story, I didn't see her as that vain. Merely confident.

I felt pity though for her sister, who was deemed 'too old' for marriage. But this is where the tradition and social aspects of t
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: girls middle school and up; history buffs
I remember reading this years ago and being very bored with it, but I decided to give it a second chance, and I'm quite glad that I did. It was interesting to read this rather sad story of a real, but overlooked, princess. Elisabeth had a distinct narrative voice and an interesting personality; rather dreamy and free-spirited, yet strong-willed.

I liked how the author showed Elisabeth's feelings about marrying the Emperor slowly changing and addressed her internal struggle. However, the actual
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Elisabeth, a young girl living in Austria-Hungary in 1853. She's a very independent girl, very intelligent and talented. She ends up engaged to be married to the man who is the emperor of Austria.

The book has the normal events in a Princess' life, normal family ups and downs, and a lot of excitement on her part in becoming the Empress. Unfortunately, this is also one of the books that does not have a happy ending. Although she does get married, the marriage is not a happy o
Young Adult Historical Vault
A missed opportunity in the Royal Diaries series. Sisi's story is tailor-made for a brilliant YA novel (or, for that matter, adult novel as well), but this is too short to develop any of the good threads here. Some of the other Royal Diaries novels do a brilliant job of introducing younger readers to little-known aspects of royal history, and I was looking forward to this one doing so as well, but disappointed to see that it clocked in at just 93 pages. There's so much potential here--about rest ...more
Caelegh Snow
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it

Positive: A teenage favourite.

Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I find Elizabeth (Queen Elizebert or Princess Sissi) a hugely fascinating historical personage, both for what she managed to do politically (especially for Hungary) but also what her position reduced her to, personality-wise. She is a complex, unhappy, driven woman. This book conveys very little on that, instead focussing on her meeting and marrying the Emperor of the Austrian Empire (what the book titles Austria-Hungary, but Elizabeth is the one who raises Hungary to equal status with Austra in ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Well-written and a good story introduction to the Empress of Hungary. However it's one of the shortest stories in the Royal Diaries collection at only 90 pages. The epilogue and following historical notes do make up some for the lack of a full story in telling the history of Elisabeth, her Emperor husband and family.

While the book was well-researched, the story was all too brief. There were numerous plot points started but never resolved or mentioned again. I think that despite this being a YA n
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Possenhofen, Bavaria Tuesday, July 12 1853, the story starts out with Elisabeth’s (Sisi's) older sister Néne getting a proposal from the Emperor of Austria. At this time he was believed to be the most eligible bachelor in all of Europe. As we follow the days in Sisi’s diary the days at Possi turn from relaxing to chaotic and soon Sisi, Néne, and Ludovica (their mother) depart to Bad Ischl. As the vist continues the original plans cross with love and things change. Elisabeth the Princess Bride is ...more
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Very nicely written.
Elisabeth is interesting, and approachable.
The big problem with this entry to the series is that it is much too short. It was I think a good deal shorter than any other volume I have read so far. Normally I appreciate the section of the book where historical reference is given, but in this case it seemed like it was given almost as many pages as the "story"

on a side note on page 101 three little words are used in perfect order to make me grin. Book about Austria... sound of m
Jul 16, 2013 added it
Shelves: historicalfic
I liked this book and she's a particularly interesting character. The book actually encouraged me to look more into her story and lead me to watch the Sissi Trilogy starring Romy Schneider. It was amazing but in truth I find somewhat lacking. Though a review for that movie isn't really what this is for.

What I really love about The Royal Diaries series is that they always accompany it with the epilogue. Which I find is most useful to know what happened after the diary entries. Also, they include
Katie H
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it
It's incredible just how short this book is. The actual content is only around 90 pages. The rest is historical context. The book describes her marriage, but not about her problems raising her children which I thought would have been dramatic and more interesting than the plot here.

Also the cover bothers me. Elisabeth, who is supposed to be an accomplished equestrienne, is holding the reins wrong!
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating addition to the royal diaries series. The diary portion itself starts shortly before her surprise engagement to the emperor and ends on her wedding night. Even though it covers such a short span of time the book gives great insight into her later life including the troubles of her marriage and her body image issues and suspected anorexia. This is a well thought out and researched story.
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I only scanned the last half, so perhaps it got better and I missed it. However, the fact that I only scanned it says quite a lot.
At first, I really related to Sisi because I'm a similar girl: I like my head in the clouds. But as the book went on, I got bored and annoyed with her because I felt like there was no story. No interesting one anyway. Just a sequence of events that I wasn't particularly interested in.
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Why do the diaries with some of the most potential always end way too soon? Elisabeth's narration ends at a mere 93 pages, and cuts short a very interesting story, much like Nzingha's diary. I think every section of this could have been expanded- pre-Emperor, meeting the Emperor/engagement, and post-Emperor/marriage. What we got was good, but it just wasn't enough.

Last line:

(view spoiler)
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Well, having first learned of Elisabeth through the animated series called "" Princess Sisi"" I fell in love with her. I looked for junior books of her story and found this to be one of the best.

Diaries of course,are something every little girl knows how to read,and fairly easy to read. Plus, it's also pretty fun. Nothing like reading another person's diary! hehe. But yes, it's a good little book to read for the average girl ages nine through fourteen.
Jan 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am so mad that this book is so terrible. Elisabeth is a very interesting monarch, very controversial. I was introtuced to the German musical based on her life a couple of years ago and ever since then I have been ver interested in Elisabeth and how she is portrayed in fiction, this however was just terrible.
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was just fine. It wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible either. I guess it wasn't as fun for me because it was really short. If you have a short book, I think you need to have a dominant emotion that relates to you as you read, or else you won't find it interesting. This book didn't have that.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Maria
Cover Story: The Horse and His Girl
BFF Charm: Maybe
Swoonworthy Scale: 0*
Talky Talk: Breezy
Relationship Status: Unsatisfying First Date

Read the full book report here.
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Barry Denenberg is the critically acclaimed author of non-fiction and historical fiction. His historical fiction includes titles in the Dear America, My Name is America, and Royal Diaries series, many of which have been named NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. His nonfiction books have covered a wide array of topics, from Anne Frank to Elvis Presley. After the publicatio ...more
More about Barry Denenberg...

Other Books in the Series

The Royal Diaries (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 (Royal Diaries #1)
  • Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile - 57 B.C. (Royal Diaries #2)
  • Isabel: Jewel of Castilla, Spain, 1466 (Royal Diaries #3)
  • Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Austria - France, 1769 (Royal Diaries #4)
  • Anastasia: The Last Grand Duchess, Russia, 1914 (Royal Diaries #5)
  • Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa, 1595 (Royal Diaries #6)
  • Kaiulani: The People's Princess, Hawaii, 1889 (Royal Diaries #7)
  • Lady of Ch'iao Kuo: Red Bird of the South, Southern China, A.D. 531 (Royal Diaries #8)
  • Victoria: May Blossom of Britannia, England, 1829
  • Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country