The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger

The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger
Publisher: Bloomsbury Caravel
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full length (306 pages)
Heat rating: sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

Opening with the shooting of Lady Virginia ‘Ginie’ Courtauld in her tranquil garden in 1950s Rhodesia, The Dragon Lady tells Ginie’s extraordinary story, so called for the exotic tattoo snaking up her leg. From the glamorous Italian Riviera before the Great War to the Art Deco glory of Eltham Palace in the thirties, and from the secluded Scottish Highlands to segregated Rhodesia in the fifties, the narrative spans enormous cultural and social change. Lady Virginia Courtauld was a boundary-breaking, colourful and unconventional person who rejected the submissive role women were expected to play.

Ostracised by society for being a foreign divorcée at the time of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, Ginie and her second husband ,Stephen Courtauld, leave the confines of post-war Britain to forge a new life in Rhodesia, only to find that being progressive liberals during segregation proves mortally dangerous. Many people had reason to dislike Ginie, but who had reason enough to pull the trigger?
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Deeply evocative of time and place, The Dragon Lady subtly blends fact and fiction to paint the portrait of an extraordinary woman in an era of great social and cultural change.

What could be better than admirable characters doing things that require courage in an exotic setting? Throw in a little bit of history and a sprinkle of the paranormal, and you have the makings of an exciting story such as this one.

The author has created a story rich with vivid details and based loosely on real people doing extraordinary, selfless things for others and at their own peril. Also, one is treated to meeting a famous person or two who happen to be acquainted with the protagonists, Ginie and Stephen. The fun will continue later if a reader decides to do research on the real people in the story.

As for the setting, Ginie and Stephen are world travelers and live in incredible times. They have the money and freedom to get involved with the world falling apart around them and provide financial and other support.

Readers get a peek inside an English castle, meet royalty, and get to watch as Stephen and Ginie deal with German bombs during World War II. One also gets to go back further and become immersed in the world decades before that, as Ginie marries into the Italian nobility. Most of the book is set in the 1950s, in Africa. Ginie and Stephen buy property there and befriend local people. They take up their cause against the horrible racist treatment they are facing and pay the price. There are some truly scary moments for them.

Relationships are explored during this realistic adventure. There are triumphs and tragedies, enough to keep the pages turning. Readers will love Ginie and Stephen and are not likely to ever forget their story.

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