My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this novel in one day. The book is about Mata Hari a woman who was executed for being accused as a spy during World War I. And that is pretty much what I knew about Mata Hari till I read this book. As it turns out, she was not really a spy but a feminist trying to live on her terms. She was a dancer/stripper and a "companion" to many men of influence and power. She aroused interest and contempt in various elements of French society. She struggled in her early life and came to an epiphany from a tragic event that she witnessed. She quickly left an unhappy marriage to a physically and mentally abusive husband and a very boring life. It turned out that she wound up using her body through dance and prostitution to move on with her life.
She marveled right before her death, "How was it that a woman who for so many years got everything she wanted can be condemned to death for so little? That is the essence of this book…
This reader sympathized with Mata Hari's struggles to be independent and was dismayed at the injustice forced on her at the end of her life.
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