The Dragon Lady, Louisa Treger

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The Dragon Lady was an excellent read! A blend of fact and fiction, it was a wonderful and complex character study of Virginia (Ginie) Courtauld, as seen through the eyes of a young girl named Catherine, Ginie and her husband.

There is an element of mystery to it since at the outset Ginie has been shot in her garden while Catherine and her father were visiting. The who and why are unveiled in a slow reveal, which made this whole read quite captivating. There is also the mystery of the tattoo running up Ginie’s leg, and it’s one that’s never truthfully answered as to why and when it got there, which did leave a twinge of disappointment. Perhaps this only added to the air of mystery that surrounded Ginie her entire life.

We’re taken on a journey through Ginie’s life and history to some of the secrets she holds close. It’s a journey of sadness for the most part, all about her quest to be included, to feel loved, to be a part of society and the crushing pain when she’s consistently turned away.

I highlighted parts of the book where Ginie and Wallis Simpson meet. I loved this part of the book.

Her [Wallis] laugh rang out, discordant, yet infectious. She was completely natural. Ginie suspected that was what David loved about her. She was probably the only woman in the world who didn’t feel obliged to behave slightly differently in his presence.

“Don’t mention me,” Wallis whispered in her ear….She put a finger on her lips and winked. Ginie gave her a surreptitious smile back. A rocket exploded, sending showers of sparks tumbling like a scarlet waterfall, and happiness bubbled up inside Ginie, but it felt fragmented, fleeting. She wanted to grasp the moment and keep hold of it. “At this exact point in time, I am glad to be me.”

(These parts reminded me that I have another book from Netgalley, Wallis in Love by Andrew Morton. So I pulled that one up as soon as I finished The Dragon Lady. As an audiobook however, it’s not working for me, so I’ll have to switch to the paper version.)

The Dragon Lady is an absorbing tale of romance and intrigue, obsession and power. She was well liked by men, ostracized by women, some pined for her attention, obsessed about it, but who the one obsessed enough to want to kill her? Was it for her progressive thinking in a segregated Rhodesia? Was it jealousy? Overall, it was a captivating character study about this very fascinating and unconventional woman.

I originally requested this one from Netgalley, but I bought the hardcover – I’m quite glad to have done that.