“Not So Happily Ever After: The Tale of King Ludwig II” Facts

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Wilhelm of Hesse, Otto, Ludwig II

Wilhelm of Hesse (Ludwig’s cousin), Otto (Ludwig’s brother), Ludwig II — public domain photo

Not So Happily Ever After: The Life of King Ludwig II is now out. It’s a departure for me in that it’s the first book I’ve written that’s not overtly Christian. Its audience will probably be quite different from that of my other writing. That’s okay; I’m up for a challenge.

Here are some facts about its creation.

  • I’ve been interested in Ludwig for years – at least prior to 1993. That’s the year I took a two-week trip to Germany and visited all three of his castles.
  • I wrote an application for a National Endownment for the Humanities summer study teacher’s grant in 1996. I proposed studying about Ludwig. I didn’t win. My husband suggested that the NEH, a liberal group, probably had little interest in funding research into a white European king. I thought this was probably true, and the next summer I applied for the same grant, this time requesting to study the 6 wives of Henry VIII: “Striving to Find a Voice.” Readers, I received the grant :).
  • I read (in many cases, re-read) seven book about Ludwig while researching the book, also numerous online articles and a few castle guidebooks. It was fun — kind of like a vicarious trip abroad.
  • The big question on Ludwig is: was he really insane? My opinion: no. I agree with the assessment of his cousin Sisi — to paraphrase, he was not crazy enough to be insane, but he was different enough to have a hard time making it in a world of “normal” people.
  • I originally planned the book to be suitable for kids around grades 4 to 6. But the events of Ludwig’s life were a bit complex. Throw in opera composer Richard Wagner, a couple of obscure wars, and some Bavarian government intrigue, and the sophistication level kept inching up. I’m now seeing the audience as middle- or high school. Even adults who’d like to know more about a fascinating character, without investing the time to read a 300-page book on him (“Not So Happily…” is about 135 pages).

There you have it. The book is available in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Not so Happily Ever After Ludwig II Susan Barnett Braun

8 thoughts on ““Not So Happily Ever After: The Tale of King Ludwig II” Facts

  1. I’m getting excited already to learn more about King Ludwig II.

  2. It was interesting doing some of the proofreading of it. I knew nothing about him before reading it.

  3. Usually I am not all that interested in European kings of old, but I am eager to read this book. I admire you for your research into the past and the authorship of several books now. Go, girl, go!

  4. As a proud admirer of the Ludwig’s New Swan Castle, I thank you for your interest in the king’s life. As an expert about him, please help me find answers to one question: Why did Ludwig not marry Sisi before Francis met her?

    Thanks a bunch!

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