Release Day Review: ” The Empress Chronicles,” by Suzy Vitello

Published by Diversion Books

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In this dazzling first book in the EMPRESS CHRONICLES series by the author of THE MOMENT BEFORE, one courageous girl seeks keys to the past to unlock the future…

When city girl Liz is banished to a
rural goat farm on the outskirts of Portland, the 15-year-old feels her life spiraling out of control. She can’t connect to her father or his young girlfriend, and past trauma adds to her sense of upheaval. The only person who seems to keep her sane is a troubled boy who is fighting his own demons. But all of this changes in one historical instant.


One-hundred fifty years earlier, Elisabeth of Bavaria has troubles of her own. Her childhood is coming to a crashing end, and her destiny is written in the form of a soothsaying locket that has the ability to predict true love. But evil is afoot in the form of a wicked enchantress who connives to wield the power of the locket for her own destructive ends.


When Liz finds a timeworn diary, and within it a locket, she discovers the secrets and desires of the young Bavarian princess who will one day grow up to be the legendary Empress of Austria. It is in the pages of the diary that these two heroines will meet, and it is through their interwoven story that Liz will discover she has the power to rewrite history—including her own…

Readers of books like Rachel Harris’s MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY will love THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES

Review:  I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of “The Empress Chronicles,” and was really excited to start reading it. I’m a big fan of history in general, and while I didn’t know much about Elizabeth of Bavaria, I figured I’d really enjoy learning more about her story. I was wrong, well not about the enjoyment part, just the assumption that I would enjoy the Duchesses story more than present day Liz, I actually found myself draw to her far more than the Duchess. 

What I liked: The alternating POVs! Each chapter is told from a different girls perspective, alternating the book between Elizabeth of Bavaria and present day Liz. When this first happened I was kind of like “Huh,” by Vitello writes each girl with such a separate and distinctive voice that I found myself really engaged and impressed by the writing. I could have told you who was who without the chapter delineations–though that helps. Aside from the writing, which I thought was masterful, I was impressed by the way Vitello tackled the topic of OCD in Liz. Her inner-dialogues felt both real and self-aware. This could have been a nightmare to read, but it felt very natural. I actually think it gives some insight into what OCD suffers feel like, and how it effects every aspect of their lives. 

What made me go…meh..: Honestly, as much as I love History, I wasn’t that into Elizabeth of Bavaria. I didn’t hate her chapters, I just didn’t feel quite the same pull I did to her as I did to Liz.  Even though both girls were given the same amount of book space, Liz was really who I ultimately wanted to read about. Though the two stories do eventually become intertwined, by the time that happened I was already hooked on Liz. Personally, I would have been fine without the added fantasy that pops in over halfway through the novel, but it didn’t necessarily ruin it for me. 

Overall, I’m really excited to see this book out for release and I definitely would say to pick up your copy. It’s a great read for the Fall and a great way to learn about some History.  8/10

AboutThe Author

Suzy Vitello is a proud founding member of a critique group recently dubbed The Hottest Writing Group in Portland, and her short stories have won fellowships and prizes (including the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Award, and an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship).




Twitter: @suzy_vitello

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