Book Review

by Yannick Murphy

Genre: Historical Romance
Sensuality: MILD
Setting: 1900s Europe and Indonesia

2007 Historical Biography Nominee

RT Rating

Murphy merges the surreal and the real, using exquisite, lyrical prose, stream-of-consciousness narrative and shifting scenes and viewpoints to tell how Margaretha Zelle became the notorious Mata Hari. You'll be captivated by Murphy's vivid imagery in this novel, a book for those seeking a unique view of a woman whose name conjures up treachery and spies.

Murphy traces Margaretha from her childhood in the Netherlands, to Java -- where she is shown as a loving mother and the quiet wife of a cruel military man -- to her years as the infamous, sensual dancer, courtesan and accused World War I German spy and her final days in a Paris prison awaiting the firing squad. Murphy reminds us what desperation can do to a good soul. The story of Mata Hari forces us to evaluate ourselves, as we wonder whether she was saint or sinner, and reminds us that we are all spies of
one kind or another. (Little, Brown, Nov., 288 pp., $23.99)

Reviewed By: Kathe Robin

Publisher: Little, Brown

Published: November 2007

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