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Monday, January 14, 2019

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About the Book

Not So Happily cover
Title: Not So Happily Ever After
Author: Susan Barnett Braun
Genre: Young Adult
Release date: July 12, 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Think history is boring? Then you’ve never met Mad King Ludwig, who inspired Walt Disney with his magnificent castle in the clouds. He ruled the German kingdom of Bavaria for twenty-two years, inspiring his people by his support for the arts. And yet, “Mad King Ludwig” rarely appeared in the capital or attended any government functions. He slept most of the day and stayed awake all night. He dined with his horse and waved pistols at servants. He created a fantasy world inside his castles, complete with caves and trap-door tables. To this day, no one is sure exactly what caused his untimely death in a lake. Who was this man: fairy tale king? Insane eccentric? Mad King Ludwig’s life followed many twists and turns on its way to Not So Happily Ever After. The book’s intended audience is young adults, but it is perfect for adults wanting to learn more about Ludwig also.

About the Author

Susan BraunSusan Barnett Braun earned a BS in retail management from Indiana University and an MA in education from the University of Alabama. She taught for eight years in northeast Indiana, earning a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Study Scholarship. Susan has had work published in Parents, Children’s Ministry, and The Secret Place. She also writes online for Fort Wayne Visitor’s Bureau and blogs at Girls in White Dresses. She is married with three wonderful young adult daughters. Susan enjoys reading, playing piano and organ, and spending her time with her family and pets (currently three rabbits and a chinchilla).

Guest Post from Susan

I first learned about King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Germany, while I was a high school German student. He fascinated me then, and he has continued to through several decades now.
Ludwig is a hero to the Bavarian people. In America, we too have our heroes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln. But Ludwig was different. He was so eccentric and unusual that I found him impossible to ignore. As a teacher, I taught my students about this fascinating king each year. They, too, loved him. I decided to write Not So Happily Ever After so that teens could be introduced to Ludwig as I had been. However, since the book has come out, a majority of its readers have been adults.
What makes Ludwig so compelling? Oh, where to begin? There are many quirky anecdotes about him: he once invited his favorite horse to dinner in the palace, complete with china and crystal. Ludwig insisted on hiding behind large floral arrangements when he was forced to attend state dinners. He preferred to work at night and sleep during the day.
The king built wonderful castles. His most famous, Neuschwanstein, inspired even the talented Walt Disney. If you’ve visited Disneyland or Disney World, the castles at those parks are the Disney version of Ludwig’s real-life home.
Ludwig has an air of mystery too, continuing to his still-unexplained death. “I want to remain an eternal mystery to myself and others,” he once famously said.
You’ll have to read the book to learn more. I can pretty much guarantee that this king, who has been dead now for over 130 years, will pique your interest. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if you decided to start planning a trip to Bavaria to see Ludwig’s castles in person once you finish reading …


The book captured my attention right away as a baby was born who was one day destined to be king. He was named Otto but within days his name had been changed to Ludwig.  I knew right away this was going to be an intriguing journey into a man 's life who would exceed all expectations. Ludwig has a few very strange relatives that I had to snicker at. Forgive me for laughing but I found it fascinating that someone with a royal title   thought she had swallowed a glass piano. The family had so many strange characters and they believed in marrying within their own family; like someone married their own nephew. Oh my the book just kept getting better and I must say I immersed myself in its historic facts with happiness. 

I know one thing from reading this book that money doesn't buy you happiness. We never know what goes on behind those big mansions or castle doors. Ludwig will soon learn how out of sync his life would become with a grandfather who gives up the throne for someone named Lola. I had to stop for a second when I read the famous saying, " Whatever Lola wants,  Lola gets." How strange that the saying came from a king.  Ludwig's story is not filled with much love and he always desired   his parents love and approval. I guess because he wasn't what they considered " king" material they tended to ignore him. What a sad and lonely person he was, but in his world he was happy and very creative.

His childhood was almost borderline abusive with little attention and hardly any food to eat. I can't imagine how his parents thought this treatment would be fitting for a future king. Ludwig is a very complicated person who felt more comfortable in a fantasy world where he was happy . To become king at the young age of eighteen was overwhelming for Ludwig. Was he going to be able to fulfill his duties as King? His story is surrounded with abuse, loneliness , fantasy and lacking love. I enjoyed the book and especially reading about the magnificent castles he had built and designed. His life was not a happy one as some would think, but he did leave many questions unanswered upon his death. Was he mentally ill like many thought he was? Did he ever find happiness in his isolated life? The most intriguing question I have is what really happened to him? We may never know who the true Ludwig was, but he left behind beautiful castles, a love for opera and a life filled with mystery and unhappiness. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

A Reader’s BrainJanuary 3
Genesis 5020, January 7
Rebekah’s Quill, January 7
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 8
Bigreadersite, January 9
Carpe Diem, January 9
Mary Hake, January 11
Bibliophile ReviewsJanuary 12
Texas Book-aholic, January 14
Janices book reviewsJanuary 16


To celebrate her tour, Susan is giving away a grand prize of a world/globe necklace and a paperback copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. Wow! Deana, you have really captured the essence of Ludwig with your review. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing my book!

  2. Deana thank you for sharing your thoughts. This book sounds fascinating.