Author: Michelle Moran
Published by Touchstone on July 19, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
Book Rating: 8.5/10
From the international bestselling author of Rebel Queen and Nefertiti comes a captivating novel about the infamous Mata Hari, exotic dancer, adored courtesan, and, possibly, relentless spy.
Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom…or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she’s been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers.
As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. Beginning with her carefree childhood, Mata Hari recounts her father’s cruel abandonment of her family as well her calamitous marriage to a military officer. Taken to the island of Java, Mata Hari refuses to be ruled by her abusive husband and instead learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe’s most infamous dancer.
From exotic Indian temples and glamorous Parisian theatres to stark German barracks in war-torn Europe, international bestselling author Michelle Moran who “expertly balances fact and fiction” (Associated Press) brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy.
This is a fascinating and engaging story about the life of Mata Hari, the famous dancer, courtesan, who was tried and convicted by the French for being a double agent during WWI, and was subsequently executed for treason by firing squad in 1917.
It is told in first-person narration, and it takes us through a life filled with abandonment, abuse, poverty, riches, love, loss, and wartime.
Mata Hari lived in a time when respectable woman were meant to be demure and obedient and she was certainly nothing of the sort. She appeared to be extremely independent and passionate, but one wonders if this was simply a facade for loneliness and naiveté.
I have to admit that I knew very little about Mata Hari when I started this book, and I found her story to be extremely captivating and intriguing. It certainly leaves you questioning whether she was truly a spy or whether she merely got caught up in all the glitz and glamour and, ultimately, chose the wrong paramours.
The writing is poetic and the story flows effortlessly from page to page.
I really enjoyed this story and I highly recommend it.
This novel is available now.
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