The Dragon Lady
by Louisa Treger
Pub Date 13 Aug 2019
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'A daring blend of romance, crime and history, and an intelligent exposé of the inherent injustice and consequences of all forms of oppression' Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions
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?
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.
If you like your books to immerse you in a different time and place, you'll love this.
Beth Miller, author of The Good Neighbour
Treger has captured the last days of colonial Rhodesia perfectly. It is not just Lady Courtauld’s story, but also the people fighting for the country’s future. And while the book may only focus on a small piece of Zimbabwe’s long complicated history, it does so with emotion and fire.
Sally Patridge, author of Mine
A remarkable story about the bravery and compassion of a little-known couple at a pivotal time in the history of Zimbabwe. Treger switches elegantly between narrators, time and place, and wears her meticulous research lightly in this fascinating novel.
Annabel Abbs, author of Frieda: A Novel of the Real Lady Chatterley
An evocative, beautifully written story with a mystery at its heart. Clever and compelling I couldn't wait to find out who shot the Dragon Lady, but at the same time I was so immersed that I didn't want it to end. Highly recommended.
Claire Douglas, author of Do Not Disturb
The perfect blend of fact and fiction and a brilliant evocation of a fascinating time and place, told with haunting clarity. A remarkable achievement.
Rebecca Mascull, author of The Wild Air
A haunting, evocative novel that explores what it is to be an outsider with its portrayal of a truly remarkable woman. Louisa Treger vividly brings to life both the historical characters of Virginia and Stephen Courtauld, and life in 1950s Rhodesia, in a deeply moving blend of fact and fiction that is intimately personal while painting a broader picture of a divided society.
Alison Layland, author of Riverflow