The Dragon Lady
Opening with the shooting of Lady Virginia 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, from the secluded Scottish Highlands to sultry, segregated Rhodesia in the fifties, the narrative spans enormous cultural and social change. Lady Virginia Courtauld was a boundary-breaking, extremely colourful and unconventional character 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.
Subtly blending fact and fiction, deeply evocative of time and place in an era of great social change and threaded throughout with intrigue, this novel keeps the reader guessing from the outset who shot the Dragon Lady and why.
Praise & Reviews
– The Sunday Times Culture Review
“Fascinating… a spirited account of a flamboyant life.”
– The Times
“The Dragon Lady powerfully captures the colonial era in Zimbabwe … Lovers of historical fiction won’t be disappointed.”
– New York Journal of Books
“Louisa Treger’s brilliant second novel is 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, author of Nervous Conditions
“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
“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
“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 prose is lyrical, vivid and compelling, whether describing the settings, the characters, or the suspenseful intrigue of the story’s plot. It comes as no surprise to learn of Treger’s deep love for Africa, which, in her own words, is flowing through her blood and marrow.”
– Essie Fox, 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