Author: Michelle Moran

Publisher: Touchstone

ISBN: 978-1476716381

Michelle Moran is the internationally bestselling author of many historical fiction novels that bring to light stories of various famed women throughout history. Moran’s latest novel, Mata Hari’s Last Dance does just that in a fast-paced read that leaves you wanting more.

It’s early 1900’s Paris and Margaretha Zelle MacLeod has escaped a sad and dangerous past overcoming great personal tragedies to become one of the most famed and recognized dancers and mistresses in all of Europe. As talks of war are filtering Europe, Mata Hari is enchanting some of Europe’s most handsome and powerful men, but she longs for much more.

Moran paints a picturesque scene of a prewar Europe along with performances by Mata Hari that are rivaled by none. She was a rich and powerful woman during her prime but we soon see that it all means nothing as she faces espionage charges against her home, France. Moran beautifully contrasts the decadence or prewar Europe with a war torn Europe, making the story picturesque and often wistful. The dialogue throughout the entire story was entertaining and drew the reader in as did the flashbacks of Mata Hari’s past. However, I felt that throughout the story I wanted to know more about Mata Hari as most of what you come to know about her through the novel was relatively surface. Yes, we get to know her true feelings for her family and Edouard, but she was a lover to many and though many of those relationships were strictly of convenience, they were also often long and it would have made the novel a great deal deeper if Moran would have taken the time to reach into those relationships and pull from them the emotions or thoughts of both Mata Hari and possibly her lovers. The relationships in the book seemed a bit too much of a whirlwind although we are led to see that they lasted very long and because of that deserved more development. I’m not sure if this is what Moran intended since it is noted in the Epilogue that it was tough to know too much about Mata Hari as she was quite the liar. Either way, I felt that the book had room to get deeper into who she and her lovers really were because it is in fact fiction.

Other than the brevity of the relationships in the story, Moran’ setting and ability to transport her reader through witty and fervent dialogue to the time of Mata Hari’s mastery of Europe is exceptional. I recommend this book for those who want a quick and exciting read that takes you not only into the throws of passion but also the throws of war.