I picked up Mata Hari’s Last Dance because I feel like Mata Hari is a woman I have always heard about but never known anything about. Mata Hari was a famous French dancer who gained notoriety when she was convicted of being a German spy during World War II. Growing up, she was known as Margareth, and had a childhood filled with death and abandonment that left her forced into a loveless marriage that gave her two children. Several years later she landed in France where she reinvented herself as a mysterious dancer.
Mata Hari’s dancing talent provided her with a respectable status that prompted the men who were taken with her to give her lavish gifts such as large apartments, furs, and jewels. This novel was very factual and driven more by the chronology of the events of her life rather than her emotional journey. The author didn’t give not enough information about Mata Hari as a person or character her to make me feel anything about her at all. She certainly didn’t come across as an overly motivated or driven woman. Instead she seemed to be a passive woman to whom life just happened. Others came to her rescue with money and others formulated the idea for her to attempt to get her daughter back from her estranged husband.
I was most disappointed by the way her espionage was described. According to this author, Mata Hari had no idea she had been hired to act as a spy and her arrest was simply a misunderstanding that went too far. The way it was presented was so unbelievable and unexciting that I was really disappointed with this. Not to mention that this story didn’t even enter the novel until the very last part of the book. Overall I was not impressed with this.