Mata Hari arrived to Pairs penniless but with a plan; to move up in status. As a dancer, she excited the world with her moves and body but as a courtesan she seduced some of the most powerful and richest men of her time.
But when war breaks out, Mata comes under fire for her ways and the people she knows. In 1917, Mata was arrested and accused of espionage. In her final letter to her lawyer and daughter, Mata tells her side of the story.
I have never heard of Mata Hari until I read this book. Yes, she is a real person. Yes, she really was a dancer, who also was a courtesan, who was also arrested for being a spy, a traitor. But keep in mind that this isn’t a non-fiction book. Coelho created a story based on research i.e. some facts. Just wanted to clear that up.
I loved this story. I loved everything about it from beginning to end. Instantly, you are captivated and curious about this woman and that is mainly because the book started at the end. I was shocked not by that method but by the clear picture I saw in my head and the honesty. That is what I loved most about this book; Mata was unapologetically honest even at her death. It was refreshing to read.
The book was constantly moving even when Mata was making silent moves, the book didn’t stale and I really appreciated that. There is one thing that may prove to be a issue for some readers. When the war began and people were being paranoid, Mata was no longer a real likable woman. Looking from the outside in, you can see why people were upset at her. I was upset at her to the point that I believe she set herself up.
But I did enjoy the fact that while reading this book you can’t tell what is fact and what is fiction. It feels completely true; personal thoughts and all.
Overall, I highly recommend this book not only as a good read but as a gateway to finding more about Mata Hari.