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About Allison Pataki
Allison Pataki is the New York Times bestselling author of THE MAGNIFICENT LIVES OF MARJORIE POST, THE QUEEN'S FORTUNE, THE TRAITOR'S WIFE, THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS, SISI: EMPRESS ON HER OWN, WHERE THE LIGHT FALLS, as well as the nonfiction memoir BEAUTY IN THE BROKEN PLACES and two children's books, NELLY TAKES NEW YORK and POPPY TAKES PARIS. Allison’s novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. A former news writer and producer, Allison has written for The New York Times, ABC News, The Huffington Post, USA Today, Fox News and other outlets. She has appeared on The TODAY Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, Good Day New York, Good Day Chicago and MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Allison graduated Cum Laude from Yale University with a major in English and spent several years in journalism before switching to fiction writing. A member of The Historical Novel Society and a certified Yoga instructor, Allison lives in New York with her husband and family. To learn more and connect with Allison, please visit www.AllisonPataki.com or Twitter @AllisonPataki.
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Books By Allison Pataki
“New-money heiress Marjorie Post isn’t content to remain a society bride as she remakes herself into a savvy entrepreneur, a visionary philanthropist, a presidential hostess, and much more. Allison Pataki brings a towering legend to life.”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweather Post lived an epic life few could imagine.
Marjorie’s journey began gluing cereal boxes in her father’s barn as a young girl. No one could have predicted that C. W. Post’s Cereal Company would grow into the General Foods empire and reshape the American way of life, with Marjorie as its heiress and leading lady. Not content to stay in her prescribed roles of high-society wife, mother, and hostess, Marjorie dared to demand more, making history in the process. Before turning thirty she amassed millions, becoming the wealthiest woman in the United States. But it was her life-force, advocacy, passion, and adventurous spirit that led to her stunning legacy.
And yet Marjorie’s story, though full of beauty and grandeur, set in the palatial homes she built such as Mar-a-Lago, was equally marked by challenge and tumult. A wife four times over, Marjorie sought her happily-ever-after with the blue-blooded party boy who could not outrun his demons, the charismatic financier whose charm turned to betrayal, the international diplomat with a dark side, and the bon vivant whose shocking secrets would shake Marjorie and all of society. Marjorie did everything on a grand scale, especially when it came to love.
Bestselling and acclaimed author Allison Pataki has crafted an intimate portrait of a larger-than-life woman, a powerful story of one woman falling in love with her own voice and embracing her own power while shaping history in the process.
“I absolutely loved The Queen’s Fortune, the fascinating, little-known story of Desiree Clary—the woman Napoleon left for Josephine—who ultimately triumphed and became queen of Sweden.”—Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls
As the French revolution ravages the country, Desiree Clary is faced with the life-altering truth that the world she has known and loved is gone and it’s fallen on her to save her family from the guillotine.
A chance encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte, the ambitious and charismatic young military prodigy, provides her answer. When her beloved sister Julie marries his brother Joseph, Desiree and Napoleon’s futures become irrevocably linked. Quickly entering into their own passionate, dizzying courtship that leads to a secret engagement, they vow to meet in the capital once his career has been secured. But her newly laid plans with Napoleon turn to sudden heartbreak, thanks to the rising star of Parisian society, Josephine de Beauharnais. Once again, Desiree’s life is turned on its head.
Swept to the glittering halls of the French capital, Desiree is plunged into the inner circle of the new ruling class, becoming further entangled with Napoleon, his family, and the new Empress. But her fortunes shift once again when she meets Napoleon's confidant and star general, the indomitable Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. As the two men in Desiree’s life become political rivals and military foes, the question that arises is: must she choose between the love of her new husband and the love of her nation and its Emperor?
From the lavish estates of the French Riviera to the raucous streets of Paris and Stockholm, Desiree finds herself at the epicenter of the rise and fall of an empire, navigating a constellation of political giants and dangerous, shifting alliances. Emerging from an impressionable girl into a fierce young woman, she discovers that to survive in this world she must learn to rely upon her instincts and her heart.
Allison Pataki’s meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined novel sweeps readers into the unbelievable life of a woman almost lost to history—a woman who, despite the swells of a stunning life and a tumultuous time, not only adapts and survives but, ultimately, reigns at the helm of a dynasty that outlasts an empire.
Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth—fondly known as Sisi—captures the hearts of her people as their “fairy queen,” but beneath that dazzling persona lives a far more complex figure. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Feeling stifled by strict protocols and a turbulent marriage, Sisi grows restless. A free-spirited wanderer, she finds solace at her estate outside Budapest. There she rides her beloved horses and enjoys visits from the Hungarian statesman Count Andrássy, the man with whom she’s unwittingly fallen in love. But tragic news brings Sisi out of her fragile seclusion, forcing her to return to her capital and a world of gossip, envy, and sorrow where a dangerous fate lurks in the shadows.
Through love affairs and loss, dedication and defiance, Sisi struggles against conflicting desires: to keep her family together, or to flee amid the collapse of her suffocating marriage and the gathering tumult of the First World War. In an age of crumbling monarchies, Sisi fights to assert her right to the throne beside her husband, to win the love of her people and the world, and to save an empire. But in the end, can she save herself?
Featuring larger-than-life historic figures such as Bavaria’s “Mad King Ludwig” and the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf, and set against many of Europe’s grandest sites—from Germany’s storied Neuschwanstein Castle to England’s lush shires—Sisi brings to life an extraordinary woman and the romantic, volatile era over which she presided.
Praise for Sisi
“Pataki successfully juggles numerous political and personal plot lines while maintaining her focus on a fascinating central character. . . . Readers of Pataki’s first book will want to know the rest of Sisi’s story, but this novel stands on its own for historical fiction fans.”—Library Journal
“A deeply moving book about a complex character.”—BookPage
“A satisfying saga of the late Habsburg period.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Pataki brings richness and relevance to the story of the woman who worked tirelessly to protect the face of an empire.”—Publishers Weekly
“Pataki simply stuns me with each new book. I savor each page. Sisi is her best yet!”—Kathie Lee Gifford
“Readers will enjoy the glorious dilemma of whether to turn the pages swiftly, breathlessly following Empress Sisi from one astonishing, heartbreaking adventure to the next, or to linger and luxuriate in Pataki’s vivid, sumptuous descriptions of the Habsburg court.”—Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker
“This entire novel is irresistible—completely impossible to put down! Pataki reimagines the reign of the nineteenth-century Princess Diana in thi
The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.
Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.
Thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.
With Pataki’s rich period detail and cast of complex, bewitching characters, The Accidental Empress offers “another absolutely compelling story” (Mary Higgins Clark) with this glimpse into one of history’s most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Hapsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved “Fairy Queen.”
Three years after the storming of the Bastille, the streets of Paris are roiling with revolution. The citizens of France are enlivened by the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The monarchy of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette has been dismantled—with the help of the guillotine—and a new nation is rising in its place. Jean-Luc, an idealistic young lawyer, moves his wife and their infant son from a comfortable life in Marseille to Paris, in the hopes of joining the cause. André, the son of a denounced nobleman, has evaded execution by joining the new French army. Sophie, a young aristocratic widow, embarks on her own fight for independence against her powerful, vindictive uncle.
As chaos threatens to undo the progress of the Revolution and the demand for justice breeds instability and paranoia, the lives of these compatriots become inextricably linked. Jean-Luc, André, and Sophie find themselves in a world where survival seems increasingly less likely—for themselves and, indeed, for the nation.
Featuring cameos from legendary figures such as Robespierre, Louis XVI, and Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, Where the Light Falls is an epic and engrossing novel, moving from the streets and courtrooms of Paris to Napoleon’s epic march across the burning sands of Egypt. With vivid detail and imagery, the Patakis capture the hearts and minds of the citizens of France fighting for truth above all, and for their belief in a cause greater than themselves.
Praise for Where the Light Falls
“Compulsively readable . . . a compelling tale of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and bravery . . . a sweeping romantic novel that takes readers to the heart of Paris and to the center of all the action of the French Revolution.”—Bustle
“Succeeds in forcefully illustrating the lessons of the French Revolution for today’s democratic movements.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Devotees of Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo will devour this tale of heroism, treachery, and adventure.”—Library Journal
“This is a story of the French Revolution that begins with your head in the slot watching how fast the blade of the guillotine is heading for your neck—and that’s nothing compared to the pace and the drama of what follows.”—Tom Wolfe
Everyone knows Benedict Arnold—the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British—as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.
Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.
Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.
“In this emotional tale, a young couple see their lives changed in the blink of an eye—and learn to find love again.”—US Weekly
Five months pregnant, on a flight to their “babymoon,” Allison Pataki turned to her husband when he asked if his eye looked strange and watched him suddenly lose consciousness. After an emergency landing, she discovered that Dave—a healthy thirty-year-old athlete and surgical resident—had suffered a rare and life-threatening stroke. Next thing Allison knew, she was sitting alone in the ER in Fargo, North Dakota, waiting to hear if her husband would survive the night.
When Dave woke up, he could not carry memories from hour to hour, much less from one day to the next. Allison had lost the Dave she knew and loved when he lost consciousness on the plane. Within a few months, she found herself caring for both a newborn and a sick husband, struggling with the fear of what was to come.
As a way to make sense of the pain and chaos of their new reality, Allison started to write daily letters to Dave. Not only would she work to make sense of the unfathomable experiences unfolding around her, but her letters would provide Dave with the memories he could not make on his own. She was writing to preserve their past, protect their present, and fight for their future. Those letters became the foundation of this beautiful, intimate memoir. And in the process, she fell in love with her husband all over again.
This is a manifesto for living, an ultimately uplifting story about the transformative power of faith and resilience. It’s a tale of a man’s turbulent road to recovery, the shifting nature of marriage, and the struggle of loving through pain and finding joy in the broken places.
Praise for Beauty in the Broken Places
“Bold and commendable . . . A strength of this memoir is [Allison Pataki’s] scrupulous honesty.”—USA Today
“A memoir about . . . determination and gratitude, and the value of putting one foot in front of another during a crisis.”—The Washington Post
“Powerful and immersive . . . Pataki delivers an insightful look at how two people faced a life-altering test as a team ‘fighting to make the dreams of our future possible.’”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Paris is the City of Lights. Poppy should know—she lives there.
Each morning, she wakes up to the sound of church bells ringing Ding! Dang! Dong!
Each morning, she buys fresh flowers from Madame LesFleur, who has the most brilliant blooms in the city.
Each morning, she eats delicious pastries from Monsier LePain’s bakery.
But one morning, she wakes up with a burning question: what light shines the brightest in a city full of them? She and her dog Baguette are about to find out.
Nelly lives in New York, the greatest city in the world.
Every morning, she wakes up to the rumble of the subways and the honking of cars.
Every morning, she can smell the food cart downstairs and hear the rat-a-tat-tat of the street musicians outside.
Every morning, she goes outside to be in the city she knows like the back of her hand—or does she?
One morning, Nelly and her dog Bagel decide to find out what New York is really about—or more specifically, why a city that has nothing to do with apples is the Biggest Apple of them all. Could there really be a giant apple somewhere in New York? And where is it hiding?
La tumultuosa, romántica y trágica historia de una mujer que luchó por liberarse de la jaula dorada en que la habían encerrado.
Sissi, emperatriz rebelde es la segunda parte de Sissi, emperatriz accidental, las novelas sobre la emperatriz de Austria-Hungria que han enamorado a las lectoras de Estados Unidos, de la autorabest seller de The New York Times, Allison Pataki.
Verano de 1868. Tras su apoyo a la causa húngara, que culminó con su coronación como reina de Hungría, la emperatriz Isabel de Austria -conocida por todos como Sissi- ha encontrado su propia voz, como mujer y como soberana del Imperio más antiguo y vasto de Europa.
Instalada en el palacio de Gödöllo, a las afueras de Budapest, por primera vez puede disfrutar de uno de sus hijos, la pequeña Valeria, y recibir al conde Andrassy, el hombre del que está secretamente enamorada.
Hasta que unas cartas que llegan de Viena la obligan a enfrentarse de nuevo a su eterno dilema: mantener a su familia unida y salvar el Imperio, o huir de un matrimonio y unas obligaciones sofocantes. Ignora que las sombras de un futuro turbulento la acechan.
Un alma inquieta y viajera, que huía permanentemente de la rígida corte vienesa, donde acechaban los rumores, las envidias y las intrigas. Un espíritu libre, adelantado a su tiempo, que encontró su propia voz y defendió su derecho a vivir sin tener que ser un objeto decorativo. Una mujer a la que golpeó la tragedia mientras luchó sin descanso por salvar un Imperio. Una lectura maravillosa, que nos transporta a un mundo y una época deslumbrantes y ya desaparecidos.
«Una novela conmovedora sobre un gran personaje.»
Inocente, fascinante, hermosa, compleja...
La novela sobre la emperatriz Isabel de Austria-Hungría que ha enamorado a las lectoras de Estados Unidos, de la autora best seller de The New York Times.
Agosto de 1853. Tres mujeres descienden del carruaje que las ha traído desde su palacio a las orillas del lago Starnberg, en Baviera, hasta la Alta Austria. Elena, de dieciocho años, ha venido con su madre y su hermana menor, su principal apoyo. Todas ellas esperan que, en los próximos días, se formalice su compromiso con su primo, el emperador de Austria.
Y sin embargo, no es la seria y formal Elena sino Isabel, Sissi como la llaman familiarmente, esa otra prima de quince años, bellísima, independiente, de espíritu libre y que ha sido educada en el ambiente liberal de la residencia de los duques de Baviera la que hechiza a Francisco José I.
Nunca estuvo planeado que fuera emperatriz. Pero por una vez en la rígida y estricta corte austríaca el amor triunfó.
«Sissi fue una mujer con una personalidad muy compleja que vivió en un período histórico fascinante. Esposa, madre, nuera. Activista por los derechos humanos, viajera incansable, entusiasta de Shakespeare, de la poesía, de la filosofía y de las lenguas extranjeras. Con una vida tumultuosa, teñida de momentos felices y otros trágicos y perturbadores. Su historia es tan buena e intrigante que posee todos los ingredientes necesarios para convertirla en una novela apasionante.»
«Una novela absolutamente cautivadora. Me encantó.»
Mary Higgins Clark
«Un matrimonio por amor que cambió el curso de la historia. [...] Pataki merece unaplauso por haber escogido tan bien a su protagonista, la vida de Sissi es la materia prima ideal para una novela.»
«Un retrato memorable de una de las figuras más complejas e incomprendidas entre los Habsburgo, y también de un matrimonio turbulento en una era convulsa.»
«Allison Pataki describe de modo tan vívido la corte de los Habsburgo, que casi sentirás el roce de la seda de los vestidos de Sissi en tus dedos cuando pases con avidez las páginas de esta novela. Una mujer adelantada a su tiempo e inmersa en él a la vez, Sissi resulta un personaje cautivador, y rara vez un escritor ha capturado con tanta sensibilidad la tragedia exquisita de conseguir aquello que pedías.»
«Tenía la sensación de haber sido transportada a Austria. Una historia hermosa y desgarradora, con un gran cuidado por los detalles históricos y las intrigas políticas. Totalmente fascinante.»