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The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger


The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger


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.

My Review:

Following on from her first book The Lodger published in 2014 I have patiently been waiting for Lousa Treger to release another novel. The wait is over today as The Dragon Lady (Bloomsbury Caravel) is published this very day.


A mix of fiction and non-fiction and a real blend of history, crime and a dash of romance thrown in. The Dragon Lady is the story of a rather intriguing woman Lady Virginia Courtauld. Ginnie as she was more widely known was something of a real intoxicating figure. She was known for the incredible snake tattoo that seemed to be working its way up her leg.

The book begins in 1950’s Rhodesia and Ginnie has been shot in the gardens of her and husband Stephen’s beautiful gardens. The story finds its way from Italy to the rugged Scottish Highlands to the British ruled Rhodesia the world was changing around them during these times but Ginnie was not one to be away from the headlines as she was a woman of immense character and no ordinary woman.


We never quite know who shot Ginnie or why as you read and you do begin to look for clues. It is true she had those who did not like or agree with her thoughts or attitude. While settling in hot climate of Rhodesia both Ginnie and Stephen became outspoken at what they saw as racist behaviour. So could this have been the motive for Ginnie’s shooting in the gardens of their home La Rochelle.

Many who met Ginnie Courtauld certainly would never forget they had met her. A woman of adventure and intrigue. A remarkable woman and an even more remarkable life and when it came to the suffering of native Rhodesia Ginnie steps up to the mark to stand up for them and it is through the pages that Louisa Treger talks of the oppression the natives of this land suffered.

This is beautifully written and told by Louisa Treger and the reader is carried along through the story of Ginnie. This is why I really became a fan of Louisa’s writing after her first novel and is absorbing and captivating and a book I became really attached to and could not put down.

In the 1958 New Year’s Honours Stephen was Knighted. In 1967 and Lady Virginia Courtauld then moved to Jersey were she died in 1972. Their home that was La Rochelle was bequeathed to the National Trust of Rhodesia (Now The National Trust of Zimbabwe) in 1970. If you enjoy books that involve both fiction and non-fiction, then I am delighted to highly recommend The Dragon Lady.

I am delighted to say that I will be interviewing Louisa Treger for a special podcast to talk about The Dragon Lady and Louisa’s writing process.

@louisatreger http/

#TheDragonLady @caravelbooks

320 Pages.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Caravel for the review copy of The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger

The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger is published by Bloomsbury Caravel and published on 13th June 2019. Available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

Books 2016 to 2020

Books Reviewed 2016 to 2020

Through my Blog, magazine reviews or radio


Books Reviewed 2020

1                       A Silent Death by Peter May

2                      The Choice by Clare Wade

3.                      Beast by Matt Wesolowski

4.                      Volunteer by Jack Fairweather

5.                     The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides



Books Reviewed 2019

1 The Hunting Party – Lucy Foley
2 Red Snow – Will Dean
3 The Choice – Edith Eger
4 Virginia Woolf in Richmond – Peter Fullagar
5 Thesaurus – Katie Hall-May
6 No Place to Lay ones Head – Francois frenkel
7 The Last Act of Love – Cathy Rentzenbrink
8 The Long Night – Ernst Israel Bornstein
9 The Wild Remedy – Emma Mitchell
10 The Courier – Kjell ola Dahl
11 The Cut Out Girl – Bart van Es
12 The Flower Girls – Alice Clark-Platts
13 Where Reasons End – Yiyun Li
14 All My Mad Mothers – Jacqueline Saphra
15 Call Me Star Girl – Louise Beech
16 Agent Jack – Robert Hutton
17 Number One Chinese Restaurant – Lillian Li
18 The Dragon Lady – Louisa Treger
19 Wyld Dreamers – Pamela Holmes
20 The Pull of the River – Matt Gaw
21 Underland – Robert Macfarlane
22 Normal People – Sally Rooney
23 The Ghost Tree – Barbara Erskine
24 Arnhem – William F. Buckingham
25 The Red Address Book – Sofia Lundberg
26 Britains Jews in the First World War
27 The Pianiat of Yarmouk – Aeham Ahmad
28 Heart: A History – Sandeep Juhar
29 Under the Rock – Benjamin Myers
30 If I Had Two Lives – Abbigail N. Rosewood
31 One Hundred Miracles – Wendy Holden
32 Bird Therapy – Joe Harkness
33 Green Gold – Gabriel Hemery
34 Turbulent Wake – Paul E. Hardisty
35 Crossing Over – Ann Morgan  ( Audio Book )
36 The Good Bee – Alison Benjamin & Brian McCallum
37 The Doll Factory – Elizabeth MacNeal
38 Rosey: My Life with Somerset Cricket – Brian Rose
39 The Never Game
40 Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm – Isabella Tree
41 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
42 The Carer by Deborah Moggach
43 Normandy 44 – James Holland
44 Wild Woman Swimming: A Journal of West Country Waters. – Lynn Roper
45 The Last Widow – Karin Slaughter
46 A Modern Family – Helga Flatland
47 The Closer I Get – Paul Burston
48 Thinking on My Feet – Kate Humble
49 Breaking and Mending – Joanna Cannon
50 Ellie and the Harp Maker – Hazel Prior
51 Orchid Summer – Jon Dunn
52 Sweet Sorrow – Dvid Nicholls
53 A Hitch in Time – Andy Smart
54 Leonard and Hungry Paul
55 The Lost Words – Spell Songs
56 From Bean to Bar – Andrew Baker
57 Shadowplay – Tim Marshall
58 The Unauthorised Biography of Ezra Maas – Daniel James
59 My House is Falling Down – Mary Loudon
60 The Secrets We Kept – Lara Prescott
61 From the City, From the Plough – Alexander Baron
62 Patience by Toby Litt
63 Trial by Battle – David Piper
64 Plenty Under the Couner – Kathleen Hewitt
65 Guiding Me Home and Away: The Autobiography – Dave Thomas
66 The House Without Windows – Barbara Newell-Follett
67 Eight Hours from England – Anthony Quayle
68 Mudlarking – Lara Maiklem
69 The Little Library Year – Kate Young
70 Ring the Hill – Tom Cox
71 The Testaments – Margaret Atwood
72 Once Upon A River – Diane Setterfield
73 Cage – Lilja Sigurdadottir
74 Will by Jeroen Olyslaegers
75 The Postcard Murder: A Judges Tale by Paul Worsley QC
76 Face It by Debbie Harry
77 Ness by Robert Macfarlane & Stanley Donwood
78 100 Things I Meant to Tell You by Arthur Smith
79 Twas The Nightshift Before by Adam Kay
80 Violet by SJI Holliday
81 The Twelve Birds of Christmas by Stephen Moss
82 The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas by Syd Moore

Books Reviewed 2018

1 Three Things About Elsie     (2018)
2 Dark Pines – Will Dean  (2018)
3 The Coffin Path – Katherine Clements  (2018)
4 This is How it Ends – Eva Dolan   (2018)
5 Future Home of the Living God – Louise Erdrich
6 Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves – Rachel Malik      (PB BLOG TOUR)
7 The Last Mrs Parrish – Liv Constantine
8 Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
9 The Feed – Nick Clark Windo
10 Anotomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan
11 Hydra by Matt Wesolowski
12 Blue Night – Simone Buchholz
13 The Sealwoman’s Gift (Finnished Copy) – Sally Magnusson
14 Travellers in the Third Reich – Julia Boyd
15 Home – Amanda Berriman
16 I Love You Too Much – Alicia Drake
17 Killed – Thomas Enger
18 Your Life in My Hands – Rachel Clarke
19 Entanglement – Katy Mahood
20 The Perfect Girlfriend – Karen Hamilton
21 The Reading Cure – How Books Restored My Appatite – Laura Freeman
22 The London Cage – Helen  Fry
23 The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin
24 From a Low and Quiet Sea – Donal Ryan
25 Never Greener – Ruth Jones
26 We Were the Salt of the Sea – Roxanne Bouchard
27 Two Steps Forward – Graham Simsion & Anne Buist
28 Keeper – Johana Gustawsson
29 The Hoarder – Jess Kidd
30 The Wood – John Lewis-Stempel
31 Our House – Louise Candlish
32 All Along The Barley – Melissa Harrison
33 The Lido – Libby Page
34 All Rivers Run Free – Natasha Carthew
35 Salt Lane – William Shaw
36 The House on Half Moon Street – Alex Reeve
37 The Gradual Disappearance of Jane shand – Nicolai Houm
38 Rose Gold – David Barker
39 Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear – Lev Parikan
40 The Language of Kindness by Christie Watson
41 In Our Mad and Furious City – Guy Gunaratne
42 The Wisdon of Sally Red Shoes – Ruth Hogan
43 Shelter – Sarah Franklin
44 Falling Short – Lex Coulton
45 Ten Poems from Russia – Boris Dralyuk
46 Take Nothing with You – Patrick Gale
47 America Uber Alles – Jack Fernely
48 Owl Sense – Dr Miriam Darlington
49 The Seabirds Cry – Adam Nicholson
50 The Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks
51 The Salt Path – Raynor Winn
52 The Woolgrowers Companion – Joy Rhoades
53 The Lost Letters of William Woolf – Helen Cullen
54 The Last Wilderness – Neil Ansell
55 The Lost Words – Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
56 Do No Harm  – L V Hay
57 The Last Thing She Told Me – Linda Green
58 We That Are Young – Preti Taneja
59 Hitler’s British Isles – Duncan Barrett
60 The Rules of Seeing – Joe Heap
61 The Story Keeper – Anna Mazzola
62 From the Mill to Monte Carlo – Anne Fletcher
63 Bellevue Square – Michael Redhill
64 Spitfire – John Nichol
65 A Perfect Mother – Katri Skala
66 Francis Plug: Writer in Residence – Paul Ewen
67 Roald Dahl Short Collection x4
68 Bone Lines – Stephanie Bretherton
69 Transcription – Kate Atkinson
70 Palm Beach Finland – Antti Tuomainen
71 Three Things I’d Tell My Younger Self   –  Joanna Cannon  (E-STORY)
72 The Syndicate – Guy Bolton
73 Help the Witch – Tom Cox
74 Dear Mr Pop Star – Derek & Dave Philpott
75 Something of His Art – Horatio Clare
76 Lies Between Us – Ronnie Turner
77 Bus on Thursday – Sheila Barrett
78  Trap –  Lilja Sigurdardottir
79 The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal – Horatio Clare
80 The Glorious Dead – Tim Atkinson
81 Landfill – Tim Dee
82 The Lingering – SJI Holliday
83 Roar – Ceclia Ahern
84 The Almanac – Lia Leendertz
85 The Wren: A Biography
86 A Small Dark Quiet – Miranda Gold
87 The Christmas Chronicles – Nigel Slater
88 Good Samaritans – Will Carver
89 Erebus: The Story of a Ship – Michael Palin
90 The Hunting Party – Lucy Foley   –  2019

Books Reviewed 2017

1 A Dangerous Crossing – Rachel Rhys
2 Rattle – Fiona Cummins
3 The River At Night – Erica Ferencik
4 Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborogh
5 Bella Mia – Donatella Di Pietrantonio
6 Rupture by Ragnar Jonasson
7 The Burning Ground – Adam O’Riordan
8 Nine Love Letters – Gerald Jacobs
9 Deep Down Dead – Steph Broadribb
10 Under the Almond Tree – Laura McVeigh
11 A Harvest of Thorns – Corban Addison
12 Hold Back the Stars – Katie Kahn
13 First Love – Gwendoline Riley
14 Sealskin – Su Bristow
15 Blackout – Marc Elsberg
16 The Life Assistance Agency – Thomas Hocknell
17 Fragile Lives – Prof Stephen Westaby
18 Birds Art Life Death – Kyo Maclear
19 The Draughtsman – Robert Lautner
20 See What I Have Done – Sarah Schmidt
21 The Good People – Hannah Kent
22 The Gift Maker – Mark Mayes
23 Cursed – Thomas Enger
24 Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders
25 Larchfield – Polly Clark
26 Gone Without A Trace – Mary Torjussen
27 Six Stories – Matt Wesolowski
28 Wild Chamber – Christopher Fowler
29 Gone: A Girl A Violin A Life Unstrung
30 The Single Soldier – George Costigan
31 Centaur – Declan Murphy & Ami Rao
32 The Stolen Child – Sanjida Kay
33 Faithless – Kjell Ola Dahl
34 The May Queen – Helen Irene Young
35 Into the Water – Paula Hawkins
36 The President’s Garden – Mushin-Al-Ramli
37 Spanish Crossings – John Simmons
38 Ealeanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
39 Block 46 – Johana – Gustawsson
40 In Every Moment We Are Still Alive – Tom Malmquist
41 A Beautiful Game – Mark Nicholas
42 The Vinyl Detective – The Run-Out Groove – Andrew Cartmel
43 Fierce Kingdon – Gin Phillips
44 By Blood Divided – James Heneage
45 Greatest Hits – Laura Barnett
46 The Photographer – Meike Ziervogel
47 Exquisite – Sarah Stovell
48 A Thousand Paper Birds – Tor Udall
49 The Lighterman – Simon Michael
50 The Lie of the Land – Amanda Craig
51 The Things We Thought We Knew – Mahsuda Snaith
52 As Kingfishers Catch Fire – Books and Birds – Alex Preston & Neil Gower
53 Mother of Darkness – Venetia Welby
54 I know My Name – C.J. Cooke
55 Being Simon Haines – Tom Vaughan MacAulay
56 If We We Villains – M.L. Rio
57 Conflicts of Interest – Terry Stiastny
58 The Music Shop – Rachel Joyce
59 Fingers in the Sparkle Jar – Chris Packham
60 To Kill the President – Sam Bourne
61 Malice – Hugh Fraser
62 Maria in the Moon – Louise Beech
63 The Other Twin – L V Hay
64 The January Man – Christopher Somerville
65 Yesterday  – Felicia Yap
66 The Otters Tale – Simon Cooper
67 Love of Country – A Hebridean Journey
68 This Beautiful Life – Katie Marsh
69 Johannesburg –  Fiona Melrose
70 Where Poppies Blow – John Lewis-Stempel
71 Refugee Tales Vol I
72 Refugee Tales Vol II
73 Behind Her Back – Jane Lythell
74 The Wild Other – Clover Stroud
75 Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk – Kathleen Rooney
76 The Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell
77 Tin Man – Sarah Winman
78 Three Things About Elsie    (JAN 2018)
79 The Travelling Cat Chronicles – Hiro Arikawa
80 Resurraction Bay – Emma Viskic
81 Dead Writers in Rehab – Paul Bassett Davies
82 American War – Omar El Akkad
83 Black Dahlia, Red Rose – Piu Eatwell
84 The Hitory of Bees – Maja Lunde
85 Viking Fire – Justin Hill
86 Elmet – Fiona Mozley
87 The Book of Forgotten Authors – Christopher Fowler
88 I AM I AM I AM – Maggie O’Farrell
89 Snare  – Lilja Sigurdrdardardottir
90 Year of the Drought – Roland Buti
91 Islander – A Journey Around Our Archiplago Patrick Barkham
92 The Man Who Died – Antti Tuomainen
93 Dead Lands – Lloyd Otis
94 Such Small Hands – Andres Barba
95 Devils Day – Andrew Michael Hurley
96 The Secret Life of the Owl – John Lewis Stempel
97 This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
98 At the End of the Century – Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
99 The Evenings – Gerard Reve
100 The Future Can’t Wait – Angelena Boden
101 CWA Anthology of Short Stories – Mystery Tour – Various
102 Portrain of a Murderer – A Christmas Crime Story – Anne Meridith
103 Whiteout – Ragnar Jonasson
104 House of Spines – Michael J. Malone
105 Manhattan Beach – Jennier Egan
106 Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
107 The Deaths of December – Suzi Holliday
108 Dark Pines – Will Dean  (2018)
109 The Coffin Path – Katherine Clements  (2018)
110 This is How it Ends – Eva Dolan   (2018)

Books Reviewed 2016

  1.             Night Blind by Ragnar Jonasson
  2.            The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
  3.             Another Love by Amanda Prowse
  4.            The North Water by Ian McGuire
  5.            A Woman in a Million by Monica Wood (Short Story)
  6.            The Chimes by Anna Smaill
  7.            For the Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser
  8.            Beside Myself by Ann Morgan
  9.            From Yellow Sr to Pop Star by Dorit Oliver-Wolff
  10.            Exposure by Helen Dunmore
  11.           What A Way To Go by Julia Forster
  12.           The One-In-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
  13.            Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos
  14.           Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan
  15.           In A Land of Paper Gods by Rebecca Mackenzie
  16.           Anatomy of a Soldier
  17.           Bone by Bone by Sanjida Kay
  18.           Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama
  19.           When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  20.           At The Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
  21.           But you Di Not Come Back  by Marceline Loridan-Ivens
  22.           Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
  23.          The Other Side of the Mountain by Fiona Cane
  24.           Jakobs Colours by Lindsay Hawdon
  25.          In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings
  26.          Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse
  27.          Hold Still by Tim Adler
  28.          The Midnight Watch by David Dyer
  29.          Blood and Roses by Catherine Hokin
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