So I came across The Spy. I'm not gonna lie, I was pulled in by the cover. Yes, that's how I often judge books. Sue me. (Yes kids, the cover matters. Make it a good one.) The novel is a somewhat fictionalized version of Mata Hari, one of the most famous courtesans in history. She was allegedly a spy for the Germans during WWI, and was executed as such. That's what happened in real life.
The book is told as a series of letters from her to her lawyer while in prison, and recounts her adventures in life and what she felt about things happening around her. There's a lot of true stuff in here, but the rest is imagined. However, it definitely felt true, and painted a picture of a complex and strong-willed woman doing her best to get by in a time when independence wasn't something women had. It is a story that is at times tragic, and other times triumphant. The writing is clean and simple, and well written in a way that I found engaging. I read this book in an afternoon, mostly on a plane, and I couldn't stop thinking about it for days afterward. I would definitely put this novel in the category of feminist literature, so anyone who's into that should definitely check it out. It's also interesting to dive into Paris at the turn of the 20th Century, which was a rich cultural time in the City of Lights. Part of me would love to see this turned into a movie, but given that there's never been a good movie made about Mata Hari, perhaps it's best to leave well enough alone. Either way, read this book. You'll feel smarter, and get a good story out of it to boot.