Mata Hari's Last Dance: A Novel

Mata Hari's Last Dance: A Novel

by Michelle Moran


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Mata Hari's Last Dance: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Authors writing keeps the reader turning pages quickly. Very good story about a mysterious woman.
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
It’s fitting that this book is titled Mata Hari’s Last Dance as I believe it is the last book I’ll read by Michelle Moran. You see, I fell in love with Moran’s writing after reading Nefertiti back in 2008. I’ve read nearly every book of her since, but have slowly become less and less enamoured with the stories and the points in history that Moran has selected to set her books in. I was excited when I found that Mata Hari’s Last Dance had been released and I immediately put it on hold at the library. And then it sat on my dining room table until about a week before it was due. Perhaps that was the first sign that I wasn’t that interested in this latest release. I know very little about Mata Hari and most of it comes from movies and television shows and those veiled references were never used in a positive light. I will say this, Mata Hari’s Last Dance was a fairly quick read. But there’s a reason for that. You see, it turns out that not much is known about Mata Hari and even the accusations made against her were suspect. Since her story takes place at the outbreak of World War I there isn’t a lot of going on as the war is just gearing up and the sides are still being chosen. As result, the story moves quickly and just skims the surface of getting to know Mata Hari. I felt like a rock being skipped across a lake and then suddenly sinking to the bottom. That right, this story does not have a happy ending. Why will Mata Hari’s Last Dance be my last dance with Michelle Moran? The time periods she has chosen to write in, as of late, are of little interest to me or completely unknown. I love ancient Egypt where her first 3 books were set. French is history is an unknown to me and I find it confusing. And her last two books, while I did finish them, were quick reads and set in time periods that I am not familiar with and the characters were not as strong. As a result, I race through the book and am left feeling empty with no connection to story. Does this mean I’ll never read another Michelle Moran novel? No, but I might be more selective about which ones I pick up in the future. Would I recommend Mata Hari’s Last Dance? That depends on the reader. If you are looking for a deep dive into Mata Hari’s discover her motivations and the source of the accusations about her spying, this book will not satisfy you. If you are looking for something quick to read to give you a “taste” of what Mata Hari’s life might have been like, this might be a book that will satisfy that curiousity.
Mirella More than 1 year ago
Mata Hari is a fascinating person who many people, especially women, will not like. Not every protaganist has to be liked, and Mata Hari is not a usual type of heroine we find in books. Promiscuous and a notorious flirt, she was a woman who fell on hard circumstances who had no choice but to use her beauty and body to earn a living. She pushed the limits in dance and in chasing and using men for her own benefit. One constancy in the novel was her love and regrets pertaining to her daughter. And this helped humanize her, redeem her a bit in the reader's eyes. The book is perfect length and an easy read. Michelle Moran balances Mata Hari's passions and motivations in a realistic way. I did begin to like her and feel sorry for her and the mess she had made of her life. Of course, the novel did not dwell too heavily on the trial and convinction, but the execution scene was heart-wrenching and poignant. The book left me feeling more like Mata Hari was used as a scapegoat and I did not fully believe she was calculating enough to be such a dangerous spy. I had a sense that politics and cover-ups may have been at play as other readily blamed her to save their own skin. This is an excellent historical biography about a notorious woman of history and left me feeling unconvinced about the hand that fate dealt her. Highly recommended.
Zot79 More than 1 year ago
I found this to be a very enjoyable, light summer read. It is definitely more of a fictionalized account of a historical life than a revealing study of a historical figure. Situations are invented. Complications are glossed over. But the author does an admirable job of finding a winsome voice for Mata Hari and setting the scene in pre-World War I Paris. Readers seeking a complete biography of Mata Hari and an deep introspection into her life will not find that here. This novelized memoir catches up with the exotic dancer just as she bursts onto the Paris social scene around 1904. It follows her life, as if she were telling it to a trusted friend, through her execution for espionage in 1917. In between, her dance career waxes and wanes, her assignations with various sponsors and lovers are vaguely documented and dispatched dispassionately, and her desire to rejoin her daughter and take her to America becomes her mantra. Despite the light tone and lack of historical rigor, I found Margaretha's story to be fascinating. The tiny insights into the European social scene and pre-war history were intriguing. Before reading this book, I only knew the stereotypical popular myths about Mata Hari and her exotic reputation as a spy. I now feel like I have a greater empathy for this well-known, yet little understood, historical figure. Her life remains as veiled in mystery as the characters she portrayed in her dance. This would be an easy book for a reading group to consume and discuss over a short period of time. There are even discussion questions provided. Four stars for being a good, entertaining read. [Disclaimer: Thanks to Courtney Brach and Touchstone / Simon & Schuster for providing me a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.]
LibbyMcKinmer More than 1 year ago
As she awaits her execution as a spy in Paris in 1917, Mata Hari tells a reporter the story of her life. She endured a tough existence, but the dancer known as Mata Hari is not the kind of person to give up. She finds her niche and makes her way in pre-WWI Europe. From humble beginnings to a challenging marriage to the pinnacle of notoriety in Paris, Berlin and Madrid, Mata Hari is never one to shrink from a challenge. While she is scandalous and the subject of much talk, while she sleeps with men across the Continent, she is also a vulnerable woman with many secrets. Once again, talented author Michelle Moran takes a woman whose name is well known from history and brings her readers that woman’s story, mixing fiction and real life seamlessly. You will feel Mata Hari’s desperation and longing, her need to succeed and why, the pain of her final betrayal. Don’t miss reading Mata Hari’s Last Dance, but don’t pick it up if you have to go to work tomorrow. You won’t want to stop reading. 5 Stars