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Austria

The Reluctant Empress, by Brigitte Hamann, translated from the German by Ruth Hein (1986). History's 19th-century counterpart to Princess Di was Elisabeth of Austria, who at age 15, during a visit to the Austrian town of Bad Ischl, became engaged to Austrian emperor Franz Joseph. After marriage, "Sisi," as she was popularly known, embarked on a life of fame and luxury, living variously in Vienna's Hofburg Palace and the sprawling Schönbrunn Palace. She obsessed over fitness and appearance, was probably anorexic, and was never happy in her marriage. Hamann's biography tells the story of Sisi in detail, giving historical context to anyone visiting her palace homes today.

Vienna Blood, by Frank Tallis (2006). This thriller follows the search for a serial killer in 1902 Vienna, a city buzzing with the works of Freud, Klimt, and Mahler but also dealing with the rise of Nazism in Austria.

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