The Empress

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 27 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 04 Oct 2022

Talking about this book? Use #TheEmpress #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


The year is 1853, and Princess Elisabeth “Sisi” of Bavaria has been very clear: She will wait for the head-over-heels love the poets speak of, or she will have no love at all. Just because her older sister, Helene, is eagerly heeding their mother’s advice and preparing to marry Emperor Franz of Austria does not mean Sisi must also subject herself to such a dutiful existence. Sisi knows there is more to life than luncheons and corsets—if only someone would let her experience it all firsthand.

Meanwhile, in Austria, the emperor is recovering from an assassination attempt that left him wounded and scared. In a bid to keep the peace, Franz has recommitted himself to his imperial duties—and promised to romance the pliant Helene of Bavaria at his upcoming birthday celebration. How better to unite the empire than with the announcement of a new empress? But when Sisi and Franz meet unexpectedly in the palace gardens, away from the prying eyes and relentless critique of the court, their connection cannot be denied. And as their illicit conversations turn into something more, they must soon choose between the expectations of their families and standing up for what they truly believe in . . .

The year is 1853, and Princess Elisabeth “Sisi” of Bavaria has been very clear: She will wait for the head-over-heels love the poets speak of, or she will have no love at all. Just because her older...

Advance Praise

Sumptuous… Griffis lends her leads admirable strengths and forgivable flaws and colors them in with plenty of lush period detail. She also brings dramatic flair to the political intrigue before satisfyingly tying up the plot’s burning questions. Nothing in this story disappoints.” - Publishers Weekly

"Quite simply delightful. In THE EMPRESS Gigi Griffis has given us two sisters so spunky and unconventional that we want to crawl into the pages to join them, and palace intrigue enough to keep us turning pages late into the night. ”


"A gem of a novel with a compelling feminist bent, THE EMPRESS blends political machinations and high-stakes family drama to craft a treat both for the head and the heart. ”


"A fresh, fast-paced take on a legendary woman and one of Europe's most notorious royal love stories—guaranteed to win Sisi new fans.”


Sumptuous… Griffis lends her leads admirable strengths and forgivable flaws and colors them in with plenty of lush period detail. She also brings dramatic flair to the political intrigue before...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781638930167
PRICE $17.00 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 120 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you NetGalley, Zando Projects, and Gigi Griffis for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I truly loved this book so much and it’s one of my favorite historical fiction novels that I’ve read.

This book follows Princess Elisabeth “Sisi” of Bavaria, her sister Helene, and Emperor Franz of Austria as Helene waits to marry Franz. However, things do not go as planned when Sisi and Franz start to become close…

I loved Sisi as a character and how the real person has been reflected in the book. It depicts her relationship with her family and Franz in a beautiful way and I thought the writing style was stunning. It truly described what falling in love is like, as well as what it’s like to feel jealous, sad, or left out.

Overall, I think historical fiction/romance fans will really enjoy this one. I’m so excited for it to be on Netflix and I hope to read more from this author in the future!

5 stars.

Was this review helpful?

This book got me so incredibly excited for the fact that this is going to be a Netflix special. I can wait to see how true to book it ends up being.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book! It was captivating and beautiful, and I just really enjoyed reading this one.

Was this review helpful?

I had a great time reading this, I love the historical fiction genre as a whole and love when I can learn about someone new. This had what I was hoping for when I read the description, Gigi Griffis has a great writing style and it works so well for the time period. The historical characters were fascinating and I had to learn about them after reading this. This was a great time and I could see why it was a opted for Netflix.

"Falling in love with Elisabeth had been easy. But Louise was used to getting what she wanted and avoiding her—with her heartsick looks and veiled threats about revealing their dalliance— that had been impossible."

Was this review helpful?

An absolute must read for historical fiction fans! When I saw this book I was immediately excited. The podcast Noble Blood had done an episode on Princess Sisi and I was excited to learn more about her, knowing of course that much of this is fictionalized.
I don't have any criticism for this book. It was well written and the execution of it plot is very strong. Additionally, the characters are written in a very compelling manner.
While it's not my favorite genre, this book is definitely a winner!

Was this review helpful?

Talk about steam! 🔥 This was a beautiful story about love and passion and I absolutely devoured it! The chemistry between the main characters, Franz and Sisi just jumps off the page and you can’t help rooting for their love. I also appreciated the fact that the story focuses on another relationship that I consider just as important, and that is the one between Sisi and her sister Helene. Having two sisters myself I really connected to their story and how the relationship between siblings can evolve and grow.

I feel like a lot of historical fiction books can be slow but this one was fast paced and very entertaining. I’m not too familiar with this part of history so it was a nice change from the usual WWII novels you see so often in this genre. If you’re a fan of historical fiction or romance (or both 😆) this is the book for you as it perfectly combines them into the story. Check out this book when it’s out in October!

Thank you to the publisher for this advanced copy and to the author for such an enjoyable read!

Was this review helpful?

It had been a long time since I had read any historical fiction, and The Empress did not disappoint ! Elizabeth and Franz have an effortless and beautiful love that overcomes so many obstacles. They both have duties to their country and family that cannot be ignored., but love always prevails The dynamic of both of their families is interesting and heartbreaking with addition of Helene's point of view. I wanted to read this initially because it was a series on Netflix, then to discover it is not in English, if it has subtitles I will give it a try. After finishing I looked up Franz and Elizabeth's actual history and it was an interesting that some real aspects were incorporated as fictions. I love historical fiction based on real people and this was a good one to read!

Was this review helpful?

An interesting take on Empress Sisi. This book appears to be part of a series as it ends right after her wedding. There is much more to her story. Fast paced and a very good harmony between narrative and dialogue. I look forward to more from this author. Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publishers for an e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley for the free ebook in exchange for my honest opinion.

Imagine a world where two sisters who are completely different one Helene the oldest who is ready to be married off to whomever her parents chose. While her younger sister Elisabeth is the wild child who wouldn’t mind marrying someone but only if its for love and not obligation. Luckily for Elisabeth its Helene who’s hand has been asked for from an emperor who is only marrying for obligation and duty more than for himself. Both sisters whom are best friends must now live their own lives apart but not as they originally thought. Also Emperor Franz must figure out how to go on marrrying Helene when he no longer wants to go with that obligation his mother has set upon him.

I completely fell in love with this story and each of the characters. The author had me hooked on Elisabeth and her story from the very beginning. This was a 1 day read for me which is how I know a book is worth it. I got lost in the story and needed to know how it played out. Also since this book will soon be coming to Netflix I can’t wait to relive this story and see it come to life like it did in my mind. The only reason I’m rating this a 4.5 star and not 5 star read is because I felt like I wanted to know more about Franz and what he calls his nightmare. I would have liked to hear more about that situation. Maybe this will be a series of books and not just the single read.

Was this review helpful?

Historical fiction is my new favorite genre and this book certainly did not disappoint. From the beginning I was hooked and intrigued by the storyline. Elisabeth was a well rounded individual and I love how she spoke her mind. I finished this book in less than a day and loved every page. I did not realize this would be a Netflix show as well and just saved this to my list. I can’t wait to read more books by this author. Thank you net galley and publishers for the advanced copy. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I feel as though there needs to be another book so we can learn more about their love story.

Was this review helpful?

Reading this because I heard it's going to be a netflix show and I love royalty shows! Actually getting into it, it's easily readable and reading from the perspective of the fiery Elisabeth got me on board SO QUICK! Excellent work~

Was this review helpful?

a beautiful telling of this story of Franz and Elisabeth. It wasn't love at first sight but lust that only grew more powerful. Beautiful story of finding yourself and taking the leap and not being afraid.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley for the eARC. I did request the book because of the cover and the Netflix sticker because I knew it was something I would watch. I am a firm believer that the book is always better than the movie. I was not expecting to be pulled in so soon. I completely loved this story! I am rooting for the Empress and her Emperor. I am even rooting for her sister! I hope there will be a second book and I cannot wait for the show!

Was this review helpful?

Wonderful well written historical novel about family, jealousy and love vs duty. I this is a story that hooks you in and keeps you there until the very last page.

Was this review helpful?

Gigi Griffis has created a sweeping narrative with a sumptuous setting and complex characters that totally sucked me in! You can't help but root for Sisi as she navigates love, loss, and the political intrigue of 1800s Austria -- and did I mention the steamy romance? Griffis is now an auto-buy for me!

Was this review helpful?

Gorgeous and evocative. I was particularly interested in the show and was excited to receive an arc from netgalley. My students will be able to read this as an aside to their courses on Bavaria and the region, finding the romance fun and enjoyable and heart wrenching while learning about Sisi, an important figure for the region. It's a great addition to what will likely be an interesting show.

Was this review helpful?

I requested this title because I love The Great on Hulu, and was intruiged by the new show coming to Netflix.

I know nothing about Elisabeth of Bavaria or her engagement to Franz, the emperor of Austria. I don't read a ton of historical fiction, and when I do, I don't have any requirements that it be accurate. I was hoping for a good story with interesting characters, and that is exactly what this book delivered! I saw some reviews that wanted a story that was more accurate to true events, but I really enjoyed this adapation! Can't wait to see the show!

I loved the authors writing style and her ability to bring this era to life!

Was this review helpful?

I couldn’t put it down! Aside from my love of all things historical fiction, it was such a great story! Beautiful and well written. Full of hope, and dreams, and love. Elisabeth is the second daughter. Allowed to be free and run wild in her Royal Bavarian household. Helene, her older sister has been chosen to marry the Emperor and is all things an Empress should be. But when Franz, the Emperor, and Elisabeth meet by chance, love is instant. Elisabeth risks losing her sister to marry for love. Can she be tamed in order to be an Empress? I loved this story!!

Was this review helpful?

The Empress by Gigi Griffs is a great take on royal love story. I have to say I had never heard of Princess Elisabeth “Sisi” of Bavaria and her life. So everything about the book was interesting. I enjoyed the setting. The time period. The wows of women in the time period. It is a page turner. The writer style is amazing and keep you on the edge of your seat until her wedding. It appears the book is a series from how the book ended but definitely worth a read. If you love historical love stories and lives of the past you will love this book.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this so much I absolutely can not wait to watch the TV show I'd it's anything like the book it will be amazing

Was this review helpful?

I loved this story! It was fast paced, well written and a sweet love story. I immediately looked up the history regarding them as soon as I finished this book. Elisabeth's sister, Helene is chosen to marry the Emperor Franz. Excited over their upcoming engagement they travel to meet the Emperor and his family. However, Franz and Elisabeth keep meeting unexpectedly and the sparks are flying. What will happen?!?

Was this review helpful?

Reading this book is like stepping back in time. The fashion, food, and locations in this story scream for it to be made into a movie. This spellbinding cinematic storytelling ignites the dreams of everyone that ever wanted to be a princess or Empress.

With chemistry that jumps off the page and has you fanning yourself the passion between Elizabeth and Franz ignites, they discover each other and themselves as only they could.

While Elizabeth feels she's found her true match in Emperor Franz she can't help but have certain feelings regarding her family and his.

Mesmerizing in its beauty and thought-provoking in its relationships with the perfect balance of light-hearted and soul-wrenching moments this book has everything you could hope for in a romantic drama and even more you didn't know you wanted.

Thank you to NetGalley and Zando Projects for providing a copy of this ebook. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read and review an early copy of this book!

I love historical fiction books so when I found out I got an ARC of this novel I was so excited. Honestly I still am, it was so good. The romance, plot, the writing style, and the characters. I really enjoyed reading about the sisters especially and reading the family’s dynamic. I have nothing bad to say about this novel, overall a 5/5! :)

Was this review helpful?

This book was absolutely everything. I loved this epic story about this fascinating tale of a remarkable woman.

Was this review helpful?

This book was everything I wanted it to be. It had me turned pages without even realizing. It was so good!

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: