The Empress

Gigi Griffis

The Empress is a dazzling reimagining of the courtship between one of history’s most iconic and beloved couples: Sisi and Franz of Austria.

The year is 1853, and sixteen-year-old Elisabeth “Sisi” of Bavaria has been very clear: she will wait for the sweeping, head-over-heels kind of love the poets speak of, or she will have no love at all. It is not her fault Mother refuses to listen. After all, just because her older sister Helene has chosen the line of duty, and is preparing to marry Emperor Franz of Austria, does not mean Sisi also needs to subject herself to such a passionless, regimented existence. Sisi knows there is more to life than corsets, luncheons, and woefully unfashionable dukes … if only someone would give her the chance to experience it 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 Bavarian princess, Helene, at his upcoming birthday celebration. How better to unite the country 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 their families, their connection cannot be denied. And as their illicit conversations turn into something more, they must soon choose between the expectations of the court, and the burning desires of their hearts…

Epic, captivating, and deliciously steamy, The Empress is a remarkably contemporary tale of falling in love and finding one’s voice.


ISBN: 9781800752528

Published: September 27, 2022


ISBN: 9781800752535

Published: September 15, 2022


Reviews for The Empress

‘A gem of a novel with a compelling feminist bent … a treat both for the head and the heart‘ – Vaishnavi Patel, New York Times bestselling author of KaiKeyi

‘Quite simply delightful … 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‘ – Meg Waite Clayton, international bestselling author of The Postmistress of Paris

‘A fresh, fast-paced take on a legendary womanguaranteed to win Sisi new fans‘ – Evie Dunmore, USA Today bestselling author of Bringing Down the Duke


Gigi Griffis

Gigi Griffis writes feminist historical fiction often featuring little-known histories and unruly female characters. She lives in Europe with an opinionated Yorkie mix named Luna, and spends her free time hiking the Alps, cycling around small villages, and eating as much French food as she can get her hands on. The Empress is Gigi’s adult novel debut.