The Spy by Paulo Coelho

“I am the nightingale who gave everything and died while doing so. Sincerely, Mata H”

I thought this book would tell me of Mata Hari’s life and adventures.

It is, in fact, a book about the ending of her life. It is written in the form of correspondence from the heroine to her lawyer and his response. Mata Hari writes from her prison cell, telling the tale of her life as she sees it, and as she wishes her daughter to know of it. Her lawyer writes the tale of his defence of her lifestyle and activities, ‘for the record’.

I kind of enjoyed this book, I expected more excitement and adventure I think. When really it was all so very ‘polite’ and !dull. I wasn’t borne along reading at speed for the next chapter. I even read some bits more than once (as I got distracted by external events and had to leave the book to one side) and found that I hadn’t quite remembered them or found them sufficiently engaging to remember them at all. It’s a bit sad really as I was looking forward to reading this book. I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone unless they had a strong interest in the subject matter.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless.
Soon she was feted as the most elegant woman in the city.
A dancer who shocked and delighted audiences; a confidant and courtesan who bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men.
But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. Until, in 1917 she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees and accused of espionage.
Told through Mata’s final letter, THE SPY tells the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to break the conventions of her time, and paid the price.

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