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.
Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration
5 Words: Fame, fortune, propaganda, war, family.
This book pretty much delves straight into the life of Mata Hari as she desperately tries to survive having come to Paris. Starting this book, I knew little about her life, only that she was executed for espionage in World War One. Throughout the story, her past is slowly revealed, information is drip fed, and my own feelings and attitude towards the character changed completely.
By the end of this book, I felt a little empty, I was a little numb with shock. Because even though I knew the historical truth, in my head I still hoped that maybe there would be a happy ending.
A lot of the story focused on the protagonist's material belongings - what she wore, what she bought, what she was gifted. It felt very sumptuous, the writing itself was rich and colourful and glittering. This was an integral part to the character, in building her up and showing who she was and why. It felt right. And as much as it threw me a little, and at first it meant that I didn't like her so much, by the end I understood completely.
I have never read this author before, but I absolutely will keep an eye out in future. And I've reserved her back-catalogue at the library.