Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the heir to the Austria-Hungary empire. He married Sophie for love, defying the Emperor, which turned the aristocrats in his country against him. Even though their morganatic marriage meant Sophie could not be Empress, and their children could not inherit the throne, they were shunned and humiliated. Despite the opposition, Franz and Sophie continued to love each other and their children. Franz and Sophie were shot in Sarajevo leaving their children orphans in a situation. Much of their children's property was taken from them, and they suffered exile and imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps.
I was very interested to read this book because I wanted to learn about Franz Ferdinand's life. I knew who he was, and that he was assassinated, but I never knew the details of his life before. It was fascinating to learn more about him as a person, but also the events that led up to his assassination, and World War I. I like that King and Woolmans included a little bit about what happened to Franz and Sophie's children after they were killed. The assassination of their parents altered their lives in unbelievable ways.
I did feel as though I was being bludgeoned with the facts that Franz and Sophie had a morganatic marriage, and everyone was against them, but I suppose that is how they felt. It was also an important factor politically. The authors presented the Archduke in a favorable way, although they do not shy away from his flaws. It was also interesting to read about some of the theories of how the assassination came about. It definitely made me want to read more about this topic.
I thought this was a very interesting biography. The fairy tale nature of the romance between Franz and Sophie will probably make this book appeal to many that might not typically read biographies. I highly recommend reading this book.