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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A serious book but vivid and easy to read.
Haslip's writing is a joy to read. Her narrative skill, combined with the power of the tragic but romantic life she describes, makes the book hard to put down. I can't help agreeing with Edward Crankshaw, who said 'Haslip writes with vividness and immediacy...a serious book which is highly readable'.
Published on 3 July 2001

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I bought this book because of its good reviews and because there are so few serious biographies of the Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) available in English. However, despite its detailed chronology of her life, I found this book disappointing. Although the author clearly had access to a wide range of source material, Sisi does not "live" in this account. She is two...
Published 7 months ago by H. Brown


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A serious book but vivid and easy to read., 3 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Lonely Empress: Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (Paperback)
Haslip's writing is a joy to read. Her narrative skill, combined with the power of the tragic but romantic life she describes, makes the book hard to put down. I can't help agreeing with Edward Crankshaw, who said 'Haslip writes with vividness and immediacy...a serious book which is highly readable'.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not outstanding, 18 Jan 2008
By 
Amelrode (Vilvoorde) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lonely Empress: Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (Paperback)
Joan Haslip (1912-1994) was an author of historical books, often focussing on European royalty. Her books were generally regarded as accurate and fairly complete although at times falling prey to "outdated interpretations".

Her biography on the Empress Elizabeth reflects very much that reputation. I liked very much that she tries to get away from the romantic attitude and endless talk about the Elizabeth's beauty. She tries to get to the personality of this being. This is indeed difficult as she was very contradictory which tends to cofuse people. I liked the word "lonely" as it captures much about the Empress. All in all I feel it is a book worth reading, not an authorative beiography and not the great classic but one (of them many books on Sisi) worth reading. But it dit not match Brigitte Haman's "Elisabeth - Kaiserin wider Willen" which is simply superb.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down., 14 July 2009
This review is from: The Lonely Empress: Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (Paperback)
This is a wonderful, and not always flattering, portrait of a very complex woman. Haslip has an engaging style of writing and fills the book with detail and colour that really bring the characters and locations to life. At times, it is clear her sympathies lie with Elizabeth's beleaguered spouse (Franz Josef) but this, in itself, gives quite an interesting edge to the biography. It's accessible and easy to read and I couldn't put it down. I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough exploration into the life of Sissy., 31 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Lonely Empress: Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book which was purchased after my visit to Corfu. A very thorough exploration into this fascinating but seemingly selfish, complex woman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lonely Empress - Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria, 6 Jan 2012
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This review is from: The Lonely Empress: Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (Paperback)
Excellent book - full of interesting details that have not been included in books on the same subject. Would recommend it to anyone who only has a passing interest in history. Easy to read! A very unbiased view of the character.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 4 Jan 2014
By 
H. Brown (Taunton, Somerset England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lonely Empress: Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (Paperback)
I bought this book because of its good reviews and because there are so few serious biographies of the Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) available in English. However, despite its detailed chronology of her life, I found this book disappointing. Although the author clearly had access to a wide range of source material, Sisi does not "live" in this account. She is two dimensional, appearing to rely only on her beauty to charm those around her. But this is not sufficient to explain the love, admiration and devotion she attracted from her husband of 40 years and her many long-serving attendants, not to mention others who knew her and the public. Since she had access to personal accounts, including diaries and extensive correspondence,the author must have had a wealth of stories and anecdotes to draw on, but sadly she appears to have chosen not to do so. For example, only near the end of the book does the author refer to Sisi's teasing and sense of humour, but she provides only one example. Similarly, there are too many throw away statements which are neither explained nor substantiated. It is frustrating to read such a detailed biography and yet to feel by the end of it that one is no closer to understanding its subject. The author does not appear to like Sisi, portraying her as arrogant, self-centred and disinterested in the importance of her role. Yet, as she admits, Sisi was instrumental in resolving the Hungarian crisis and establishing its dual monarchy with Austria: hardly the achievement of a vain, ignorant woman. Other characters, particularly the Emperor Franz Joseph (irritatingly referred to throughout the book by the Anglicised form "Francis Joseph") are treated far more sympathetically.
The book is also incomplete as it ends abruptly with Sisi's assassination, ignoring the effect of her death on those close to her and internationally. There is no mention of her funeral, reaction to her death or Franz Joseph's later years, let alone the bigger picture leading to the outbreak of the First World War.
In conclusion, I found this book very negative and rather depressing. It provides a useful narrative of the period, but fails to provide an insight into the character of the Empress Elizabeth.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read, 24 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Lonely Empress: Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria (Paperback)
I only gave this 2 stars because I found the prose really clunky and difficult to read. More than that, I just found the book so depressing - this poor woman was just so unhappy.
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The Lonely Empress: Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria
The Lonely Empress: Life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria by Joan Haslip (Paperback - 20 July 2000)
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