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Publisher's Summary

As Marie Antoinette took her last breath as queen of France in Paris, another formidable monarch - Antoinette’s dearly beloved sister, Charlotte - was hundreds of miles away, in Naples, fighting desperately to secure her release from the revolutionaries who would take her life. Little did Charlotte know, however, that her sister’s execution would change the course of history - and bring about the end of her own empire.

“You are the queen. You are the queen that Antoinette wanted to be.”

Austria 1767: Maria Carolina Charlotte - 10th daughter and one of 16 children of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria - knows her position as a Habsburg archduchess will inevitably force her to leave her home, her family, and her cherished sister, Antoinette, whose companionship she values over all else. But not yet. The Habsburg family is celebrating a great triumph: Charlotte’s older sister, Josepha, has been promised to King Ferdinand IV of Naples and will soon take her place as queen. Before she can journey to her new home, however, tragedy strikes. After visiting the family crypt, Josepha contracts smallpox and dies. Shocked, Charlotte is forced to face an unthinkable new reality: She must now marry Ferdinand in her sister’s stead.

Bereft and alone, Charlotte finds that her life in Naples is more complicated than she could ever have imagined. Ferdinand is weak and feckless, and a disastrous wedding night plunges her into despair. Her husband’s regent, Tanucci, a controlling and power-hungry man, has pushed the country to the brink of ruin. Overwhelmed, she asks her brother Leopold, now the Holy Roman Emperor, to send help - which he does in the form of John Acton, a handsome military man 20 years Charlotte’s senior who is tasked with overseeing the Navy. Now, Charlotte must gather the strength to do what her mother did before her: take control of a country.

In a time of political uprisings and royal executions and with the increasingly desperate crisis her favorite sister, Queen Marie Antoinette, is facing in France, how is a young monarch to keep hold of everything - and everyone - she loves? Find out in this sweeping, luxurious tale of family, court intrigue, and power.

©2022 Diana Giovinazzo (P)2022 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

"The political landscape of Southern Italy during the period of the so-called Kingdom of the Two Sicilies is one of the most complex and daunting in the history of the Italian peninsula. But Diana Giovinazzo weaves a clear path for us through the historical minefield in her latest historical novel, Antoinette's Sister. Though the eyes of Maria Carolina Charlotte, queen and de facto ruler of Ferdinand I’s kingdom, we experience the personal struggles, tragedies, and triumphs of one of the most remarkable women of the eighteenth century. A fascinating biographical portrait as well as an engrossing, bittersweet tale." (Laura Morelli, art historian and USA Today best-selling author of The Stolen Lady)

"A sweeping tale of power, love, and the bonds of family, Antoinette's Sister is a compelling coming-of-age story set to the backdrop of one of the most volatile periods in Europe. Giovinazzo has deftly weaved fascinating and rich details through the narrative, and in Maria Carolina Charlotte, created an endearing yet strong protagonist who must learn the demands of a monarch to save her country from ruin. I couldn't put it down!" (Heather Webb, USA Today best-selling author of The Next Ship Home)

"Diana Giovinazzo's Antoinette's Sister is a fast-paced, dramatic retelling of the life of Maria Carolina Charlotte, Queen of the Two Sicilies. Giovinazzo deftly brings to life this fierce and brilliant Queen, who uses her prowess to become a savvy leader of Naples while trying desperately to save her beloved sister, Marie Antoinette, from disaster in Revolutionary France. With uprisings, love affairs, and plenty of court intrigue, this juicy historical story is like a rousing Philippa Gregory novel, only set under a warm Italian sun." (Stephanie Storey, best-selling author of Oil and Marble and Raphael, Painter in Rome)

What listeners say about Antoinette's Sister

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As smart and sexy as the cover

I admit it, this cover absolutely drew me in, but the voice captured me immediately. And thank goodness, for I really didn’t know how spicy and capable Antoinette’s sister was. Love learning something new while being entertained—and this story well qualifies. It’s just such a damned shame that women’s stories like this have lain so hidden. Not anymore—well done Diana Giovinqzzo! Also, the audio really adds to the story, excellent narration.

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This was awesome!

I usually am hesitant when a book is new and doesn’t have many reviews yet and I am unfamiliar with the author’s work but I took a chance on this because it was suggested to me based on my historical fiction interest, especially in Marie Antoinette, and I’m glad I did! It was really interesting learning about her sister, who also had a very intriguing life, and to have parts of the story woven in from Antoinette’s timeline that I was already familiar with. I recommend!

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Better than expected

I was hoping it would be good as I have not read about this subject and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I love the narrator I’ve listened many books she has done and I’m a fan. Very interesting storyline and I’ll definitely order more books by this author.

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Bravo!!

Excellent! I enjoyed this book immensely. A well written, engaging, and incredibly interesting story with terrific historical detail. As a history buff I loved learning so much about the histories of Austria and the Kingdom of the two Sicilys while reading. I have nothing but praise for this book. The narration was Exceptional. I will look for this narrators other works. Highly recommended!!

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Started off good, but I lost interest as time went

I'm a huge historical fiction fan and I was so interested in this book because I didn't know anything about Maria Charlotta of Naples. The author did a great job of explaining the history. I guess, however, as it went on, I just started to lose interest I hate to say this, but once Marie Antoinette was executed, it just went on too long. That may be unfair of me. Interesting... but pretty good- not great.

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  • The Curator
  • 01-18-22

Interesting take on a lesser known figure

Well, the Hapsburgs are surely everyone’s favourite bunch of big-chinned inbreeders and here they are at their most sneaky, slightly mad, pathetic and doing their best. I knew nothing of This particular princess and the book does well to deliver history without endless detail on the endless wars of the 18th century. It’s a genuinely interesting read. I didn’t entirely love the narrator. Her pitch is quite high and when she spoke quickly, there was a slightly silly sound like she’d been speeded up!