The Dragon Lady

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Member Reviews

This is a fascinating historical fiction story about the life of Virginia Courtauld, particularly her time in Rhodesia in the 1950s with her second husband, Stephen.  Ginie, as Virginia was more often referred to, was also known as the Dragon Lady because of the tattoo on her ankle and leg, actually a snake and not a dragon at all. 

Life in London doesn't quite work out for Ginie.  After failing to be accepted in to society, being a divorcee and having an exotic heritage, she and Stephen cannot seem to find a place to settle. They eventually move to Rhodesia, Africa, to new house called 'La Rochelle'. Surrounded by comfort and beautiful gardens and wildlife, Ginie and Stephen think they have escaped the worries of war and political upheaval in Europe and found a home where they can be happy.  However, they soon find that things are really no better in Rhodesia with its segregation and oppression and unrest in the townships.

They try to settle in and do the right thing by the African people, using their wealth to improve the standard of living, education and even culture of the indigenous population. But the other ex-pats do not make things easy, most of them being a bunch of sweaty bigots.  Also rumours of a colourful past and her liberal ideas make Ginie particularly unpopular.  Someone obviously dislikes her an awful lot, as one day while out in the garden of La Rochelle Ginie is shot.

This is an expertly written story that balances the beauty of La Rochelle and the African country with the ugliness of oppression and hate, and jealousy.  A brilliant read.
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What a absolute delight of a read so full of atmosphere and the writing is just outstanding, I particularly loved the the description of Eltham palace which drew pictures in my mind of the beautiful rooms and setting. This is a story based on real life incidents, places and people it draws you in with its fascinating accounts of the Courtauld’s life both in London, Scotland and what was then Rhodesia and as I didn’t know anything about Virginia Courtauld and her extraordinary life, her battle to be accepted, forward thinking and horror at the segregation she encounters made for a read that I became completely absorbed in, geez what a woman she was !!! 
Louisa Treger has to be praised for the amount of research that has been put into this mesmerising book that is full of history at times shocking, depictions of the beauty of Rhodesia cleverly bringing it all to life with the quality of her words and writing but at its heart the mystery of who shot the dragon lady and why. 
The book has it all as far as I am concerned I can’t praise enough and I could wax lyrical about it for hours so enough from me just please don’t miss this one its amazing and I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars and more. 
Many thanks to Louise Treger for giving me so much pleasure in reading this book.
My thanks also to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Caravel for giving me the chance to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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This was a fantastic historical thriller! I loved that it was set in Zimbabwe, very original. I loved the atmospheric writing, the pace, the descriptions and characters. 
A very entertaining and thrilling read. I'd highly recommend. 

Thanks a lot Netgalley and the publisher for this copy in exchange for an honest review.
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