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Mata Hari's Last Dance

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  2,159 ratings  ·  370 reviews
From the international bestselling author of Rebel Queen and Nefertiti comes a captivating novel about the infamous Mata Hari, exotic dancer, adored courtesan, and, possibly, relentless spy.

Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom…or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 19th 2016 by Atria Books
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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 ·  2,159 ratings  ·  370 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 Knew little besides the basics about Mata Hari before reading this novel. Really felt this book could have used more depth, didn't ever get the feeling I knew anything about this women besides the surface facts of her life, never felt I knew what made her tick. Historical context would have perhaps added more depth as would more of her tragic back story which was only occasionally alluded to, in short blurbs. The epilogue was the best part but on the whole I finished disappointed.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3. 5 stars. I have always been fascinated with the mystery behind Mata Hari. I knew very little about her and she appeaes to have slipped into the cracks of some parts of history. Was she a loyal patriot that had been misunderstood by history? Certainly women often are. Or was she only out to make her life more comfortable with little feeling to others?

Michelle Moran sets out to answer these historical riddles focusing much of her story on the experiences of the adult life of this no
This was my sixth Michelle Moran book and unfortunately, it was my least favorite. All others were 4 or 5 star books. So what didn’t work this time? The selection of Mata Hari was definitely a great choice - famous and exotic, she was accused of being a spy for the Germans and was sentenced and executed by a firing squad. What didn’t work was the writing style. It was simplistic, basic and uninspiring - wow, is this the same author who wrote Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution, The Heretic Queen, Cl ...more
This is the third book I have read by Michelle Moran. While I enjoyed it, I did not love it like the other two.

I enjoyed reading about a woman I knew very little about . And the book once again is beautifully atmospheric. But I was not transported there like in her other two books that I have read. And I did not feel the need to keep o n reading until the end. It was well written and informative but I remained a bit more uninvolved then I have been in regards to her other books and t
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I read this book -- on the slim side at 272 pages -- on the flights to-and-from my work conference at the end of June.

A first person biographical novel of the infamous dancer-slash-spy, this splashy story has it all: winsome heroine, Paris, love affairs, rags-to-riches, a tearjerker of an end.

My only complaint is that I just wanted more; and given the many inaccuracies and mysteries about the woman known as Mata Hari, I'm surprised Moran didn't go deeper (or, hell, longer
Megan Elizabeth
Jun 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, war, historical
It makes me so sad that I didn't like this book. Michelle Moran is one of my favorite authors and I was really excited to read her newest book about a character I knew next to nothing about. I wanted to like this book; I really tried to like this book and care about the characters. I was extremely disappointed!

The book was on the slim side so the story never really ended up going anywhere. The book basically turn
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Fame, fortune, propaganda, war, family.

This book pretty much delves straight into the life of Mata Hari as she desperately tries to survive having come to Paris. Starting this book, I knew little about her life, only that she was executed for espionage in World War One. Throughout the story, her past is slowly revealed, information is drip fed, and my own feelings and attitude towards the character changed completely.

By the end of this book, I felt a little empty, I was a

Mata Hari was a really strange book from Michelle Moran. I do think that Mata Hari would make an interesting subject for a novel, but the execution is so odd.

The book is short, and I mean really short. I took me between 3 and 4 hours maximum to read, and feels much shorter than any other novel from Moran. And yet it’s not marketed as a novella – I checked, wondering if I’d missed something.

The attention to historical detail is, as others have pointed out, absent. That is to say, Moran d
J.S. Dunn
Nov 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
* 1.1 *
Posting this in lieu of remaining silent in hopes of warning others. By page 55, the last vestige of hope had gone for this work and the only remaining hope was that it might burst into flames and self-destruct.

Epitomizes the worst trends in HF beginning with a nearly-headless female on the cover, the image out of focus but if it were Mata Hari one wouldn't know it. A shame, because she was an interesting-looking creature especially decked out in her dancing costumes. Ba
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it

An unfortunate tale of a woman who was playing games in war she knew nothing about. A famous exotic dancer turned spy (for a rather brief period of time) just sounds like it'll end badly. As usual, Moran painted the picture of a woman's life I was quite unacquainted with. I had thought Mata Hari was Indian but, surprise, she was Dutch and had claimed to be born in India in order to add to her mystique. She brought dances she had been taught in Java over to Europe and gained fame for its sensuous

Regina Lindsey
"Now I understand the truth: I confused the order of things. I created pain; I danced to my own destruction."

Mata Hari, the archetype of seductive female spies, is a controversial figure in history. Supporters consistently attempt to get the French government to re-open her case to determine if the military tribunal sentencing her to death had any evidence to support their claims or if the entire trial was a sham, a propaganda stunt by the French to deflect failings in the war effort. The ment
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
Since I read Moran's Nefertiti many years ago she has remained one of my go-to historical fiction authors. She has a knack for bringing strong female leaders from history to the forefront telling their stories with vivid detail and heart. Historical women such as Nefertiti, Cleopatra, Madame Tussaud, Josaphine Boneparte and India's Queen Lakshmi have had their stories shared by Moran and I've enjoyed them all.

Going into this book all I knew about Mata Hari was that she was a beautifu
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Heartbreaking. Beautifully written. And again, I learned about a historical figure I knew very little about.
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Find my review on my blog too! The Back Porch Review

Everyone has those authors that are "auto-buy" authors. For me, Michelle Moran is one of those authors. She always manages to seamlessly blend history and fiction. When I saw her latest endeavor at the bookstore -- Mata Hari's Last Dance -- I had to pick it up. No questions asked.

In Mata Hari's Last Dance we follow the famous exotic dancer/courtesan/spy through the start of her career up through her tragic end. The story is told
Toni Osborne
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
In this latest tale inspired by Mata Hari, Michelle Moran brings to life the infamous and enigmatic dancer, courtesan and suspected spy. In the narrative we follow Margaretha Zelle MacLeod “M’greet” better known as Mata Hari rise to fame as a dancer and courtesan to the decline of her career and finally her fall from grace as she is accused of espionage.

Michelle Moran is one of my favourite historical fiction writers, this time she brings to the forefront the lives of strong, independent women
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
All my reviews can be found on my blog at

This is a fascinating and engaging story about the life of Mata Hari, the famous dancer, courtesan, who was tried and convicted by the French for being a double agent during WWI, and was subsequently executed for treason by firing squad in 1917.

It is told in first-person narration, and it takes us through a life filled with abandonment, abuse, poverty, riches, love, loss, and wartime.

Mata Hari lived in a time when respect
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I admit I knew next to nothing about Mata Hari. The beauty of historical fiction is you learn about history in such an interesting way. I really enjoyed learning about her life and her struggles. I was sobbing at the end of the book. Life is so unfair especially to women throughout history. A novel like this really brings home how lucky I am to be a woman in the 21st century.
This one didn't immerse me into the time as her other books have, but i still enjoyed it and was fascinated by Mata Hari's story.
Diane Zwang
Oh, my beloved Michelle Moran I have missed you. It has been two years since I have read one of her books and I had forgotten how much I enjoy them.

Beyond name recognition I knew nothing of Mata Hari. I thought, like most people, that she was Indian and I expected the book to take place in India. When the story started in Europe I was confused but things were quickly explained.

Mata Hari led a colorful life. She invented herself out of what appears to be a horrible childhood and marr
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
It is 1904 when Margaretha Zelle MacLeod leaves her abusive husband in Java and becomes the famous Mata Hari in France. She had to leave her daughter, Non behind due to threats from her husband and has always regretted that.
As Mata Hari becomes more and more famous she takes up many different lovers and enlists a couple of them to help her get her daughter back. After careful planning an attempt was made.
During World War I Mata Hari travel over a good part of Europe seeking informati
Whitney (First Impressions Reviews)
First Impressions

My knowledge of Mara Hari extended to her profession as an exotic dancer. It seemed a bit one-dimensional at first. Although, Michelle Moran always excels at expanding the lives of historical figures. Thus plowed right in, preparing myself for Fantine's "I dreamed a dream".

Impressions While Reading

I need not have worried. Margaretha Zelle was so much more than a scantily clad girl and the author showcased that in vivid colors. I felt as if I were in the audience during her/>Impressions
Blodeuedd Finland
Moran is a great writer, and for that reason I did wish that the book had been longer. As it stood now it did not even reach 300 pages. Which is sad cos she does brings life into her rl characters. I always wonder who she will write about next.

I can't say I knew a lot about Mata Hari except how she died and that she created this persona . In this book we follows her from her start in Paris and to her end. The book is heavy on her beginning and honestly how did people buy all those li
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
After marking it as to-read back in 2016 I finally got around to reading this. It was quite enjoyable to read on a flight and was quite interesting especially at the beginning as I didn't know much about Mata Hari beyond the bare basics. But as the story progressed, that quickly wore off and a lot of what could have been interesting gaps in her story were brushed over or left ambiguous.

All in all, was it a bad book? No, but it wasn't great either especially with the dull second half of the book
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Michelle Moran is one of my favorite authors and I have read all her books. She has a flair of unraveling the stories of strong women personalities lost in history. I was waiting to grab this book since it came out. Again, a fabulous subject- "Mata Hari", an exotic dancer turned spy during the WWI.
Though the story is engrossing and runs fast, I felt that Mata Hari's account was a little shallow. I would have liked to know more about her time before she became the world
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've never read Michelle Moran before, but I certainly won't shy away from her books ever again. She is a great historical fiction author.

Everyone's heard of Mata Hari, they must have! However, history only knows her as a seductress, a courtesan and a spy who has been caught and executed . Michelle Moran paints a far more complicated reality.

She starts with Mata Hari's arrival to Paris and her reinvention of herself as an exotic Indian temple dancer. She
Sam Sattler
Jul 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Even though she was executed by firing squad by the French military almost exactly one hundred years ago, the name Mata Hari still carries a certain mystique among amateur historians and others interest in the period. The big question, one that lends itself to all kinds of conspiracy theories, is whether or not Mata Hari was actually spying or only pretending to spy when she was arrested by French authorities. And if she was really spying, was she spying on France or on Germany? Or was she simpl ...more
Jul 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: purge, for-review
This review originally appeared on my blog,


I’ve read Michelle Moran’s novels set in Ancient Egypt several times, so I was interested to try something of hers set in a different time period. Mata Hari is one of those names I’ve always known without knowing much about the actual person.

The book starts with a news article detailing Hari’s conviction as a spy and death by firing squad in 1917. I think that’s what everyone knows about her, so it makes sense to start there. Then MATA HARI’S LAST DANCE goes back to
Tonstant Weader
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Mata Hari’s Last Dance is a historical fiction by Michelle Moran and presents itself as a first person account of her life. It takes the revisionist, though now widely accepted, approach that Mata Hari was framed, both by Germany and France. By Germany, to shut down a security risk and perhaps protect other sources, by France to present one victory in the face of devastating losses.

Mata Hari was born in The Netherlands, but went to Java with her husband, a violent and abusive man in
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: july-2016
I have to admit that I did not know a lot about Mata Hari prior to reading this book, however I was intrigued by the tagline ‘Dancer. Lover. Spy’ and knew I had to read it. I am so glad I did!

Mata Hari led an extremely interesting life! Michelle admits at the end of the book that the truth about her is questionable as she told so many tales, Mata Hari appeared to be an accomplished liar and a fantastic story teller. This makes the tale more fascinating. Written in first person narrat
Stephanie (Bookfever)
Mata Hari's Last Dance by Michelle Moran was such a surprising read for me. I enjoyed it more than I was expecting. It was a pretty quick read but didn't take away how much I liked this book.

Before reading this book I wasn't really well known with the life of Mata Hari. But this book? It just makes me want to know more about her life. It's also clear this book was well-researched. That's a big deal to me with historical fictions.

The book is set in the 1900's and a part of the book t
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Michelle Moran is the international bestselling author of six historical novels, including Madame Tussaud, which was optioned for a mini-series in 2011. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

A native of southern California, Michelle attended Pomona