Today I am really pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Mata Hari by Michelle Moran. Carry on reading to find out more about the book and my thoughts on it.
From the International bestselling author of Nerfatiti comes a captivating novel about the infamous Mata Hari: exotic dancer, adored courtesan…infamous spy.
Paris, 1917. The notorious Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom…or death. She has been charged with a terrible crime. Alone and despondent, she relays the story of her life to a reporter – her only visitor. Beginning with her carefree childhood, she recounts her father’s cruel abandonment followed by a calamitous marriage to a military officer. Refusing to be ruled by her abusive husband, Mata Hari learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe’s most infamous exotic dancer.
From lush Indian temples to glamorous Parisian theatres, Moran brings to vibrant life the famed world of this real-life woman of mystery.
I have to admit that I did not know a lot about Mata Hari prior to reading this book, however I was intrigued by the tagline ‘Dancer. Lover. Spy’ and knew I had to read it. I am so glad I did!
Mata Hari led an extremely interesting life! Michelle admits at the end of the book that the truth about her is questionable as she told so many tales, Mata Hari appeared to be an accomplished liar and a fantastic story teller. This makes the tale more fascinating. Written in first person narrative I love the way that Michelle, at the beginning of the book, gives us snippets as to the realities of her life. While we hear her telling people the things she wants them to hear, as an aside we get glimpses of the truth. How she hoodwinked people is truly amazing.
I started out not knowing if I would feel sympathetic towards Mata Hari – was she grasping and merely out for what she could get or a woman simply doing what she could to survive? Michelle evoked understanding and a degree of empathy from me and I would like to think it was the latter. Her naiveté comes through at the outbreak of World War One and I felt that she was not the calculating woman I initially believed her to be.
I was pulled further into the book by Michelle’s descriptions of the various different European cities Mata Hari visited. Her prose evokes a strong sense of time and place, and I enjoyed being transported away while reading this book.
I finished this book with a lump in my throat and a huge sense of sadness, this ends up being a truly tragic tale. Without giving anything away for those who are not familiar with Mata Hari, I was gob smacked by how she was used and treated.
A great book about an incredibly interesting woman, this book makes for an absorbing read and is really brought to life by Michelle’s writing. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Michelle Moran and Quercus for the copy in exchange for my honest opinion and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.
Published on 28 July 2016 by Quercus.