‘Shadows of an Empress’ by Carole Waterhouse
In this work of literary fiction, the author introduces us to a woman who becomes fascinated with a 19th century Austrian empress and imagines she journeys into her life.
When a recurring dream about a city she can’t identify leaves Sylvia feeling unsettled and restless, she suddenly awakens one night to find the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, dressed in black, sitting in her living room. Suspecting their lives are somehow linked, but unable to find the answers in Sylvia’s daily life, they embark on a whirlwind tour of places related to the empress’s past, this time led by Sissi, Elisabeth’s younger version.
Along the way, the Archduchess Sophie arranges a courtship between Sylvia and Franz Joseph, a heart-broken Heinrich Heine laments the empress’s tendency to credit him for her awful poetry, and Sigmund Freud offers commentary on their journey.
Published by Anaphora Literary Press, “Shadows of an Empress” is available in paperback ($20), hardcover ($35) and eBook ($2.99) at anaphoraliterary.com/catalogue/novels/literary/carole-waterhouse/
This is the author’s third novel following, “The Tapestry Baby” and “Without Wings,” as well as a short story collection, “The Paradise Ranch.” While writing “Shadows of an Empress,” Waterhouse, a creative writing professor at California University of Pennsylvania, spent several years traveling through Austria, Germany, Hungary, Greece and Switzerland researching the empress. The author’s short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including “The Massachusetts Review,” “Crack the Spine,” “Crossconnect,” and “Turnrow.”