Justin C. Vovk
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In Destiny's Hands


The compelling and timeless story of a royal mother whose ambition led to the downfall of five of her own children.

Empress Maria Theresa has been praised as the greatest ruler in Austrian history. She defeated Europe’s kings and seized the imperial crown; she was a respected, admired ruler whose legacy can still be felt today. Her greatest legacy, though, was five of her children, two of whom were reigning emperors, and three of whom were reigning consorts. They have become the stuff of legends because of the tragic lives they lead, orchestrated by their imperialistic mother. In Destiny’s Hands is the first book to weave together the powerful, epic stories of these five reigning monarchs who also happened to be siblings.

Emperor Joseph II was hailed as Austria’s “philosopher king,” but instead forced his empire to the brink of civil war; Amalia, the brazen and scandalous duchess of Parma, married a boy-prince and spent her last years exiled and forgotten; Leopold, Tuscany’s wise and benevolent grand duke, struggled to keep the Habsburg Empire in tact until the final days of his life; Queen Maria Carolina, brave and courageous, fought Napoleon with her dying breath; and Marie Antoinette, the unprepared teenage bride, lost her head on the guillotine, a testimony to her mother’s vain ambition.