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Becoming Lola Paperback – 5 Dec 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: YouWriteOn (5 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908147946
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908147943
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,308,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in Wiltshire, England and was educated at several schools which mysteriously closed shortly after I left them. I then went on to Cambridge University from which I graduated with a BA in Law. Cambridge still withstands my poisoned touch. After university I qualified and practised as a solicitor.

In the past few years, I have concentrated on my writing, which is strongly influenced by my interests in history and art, publishing three novels and a collection of short stories.

I'm married to another lawyer and we have two grown-up daughters. I'm a keen traveller and an enthusiastic gardener.

I love to hear from readers so do visit my blog - http://harrietsteel.blogspot.co.uk/ - where you'll find interviews with other authors, articles on a variety of topics and more information about my writing.

Facebook Harriet Steel
Twitter harrietsteel1

Product Description

About the Author

I'm married with grown-up daughters and live in Surrey, England. Although it's close to London, Surrey's a beautiful, remarkably rural county with lots of quaint old villages and lovely walks. I try to do as many of those as possible to counteract the effects of sitting around writing for the rest of the time! I love to hear from readers and you can find me on Facebook or Twitter - @harrietsteel1. Please do visit my blog too - http://harrietsteel.blogspot.co.uk/ for articles, interviews and more.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Claude D. on 20 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Beautifully researched with detailed descriptions of that era, the author takes us on a tour de force into the life of Lola Montez (née Eliza Gilbert), who was very prominent and famous in her time, and who seems to have slipped out of history.

The reader immediately becomes mesmerized by the events, adventures and character of the main protagonist in her riveting story. Wonderfully written and very interesting, Ms. Steel's book is historical, informative and resurrects an amazing woman of history.

Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carol 'avid little bookworm' on 8 Sept. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a fascinating life this lady led. Love her or hate her, and there was so much to dislike about this fiery, fearless, selfish woman. However, with the depth of knowledge Harriet Steel brings to this novel, you realise it was little wonder that Eliza created the great Lola Montenz.

From a childhood in India cosseted by her father and servants, she was at best ignored by her mother and at worst openly despised by her. On the death of her father her mother quickly remarries and thankfully her stepfather seems to have affection for her. However, he submits to his wife when she insists on sending Eliza away to be educated and they agree on his family in Scotland.

Imagine how she must have felt being sent away by her mother to sail across the sea with Mrs Innes a lady she didn't even know, into London and then straight onto Scotland. What an adjustment Eliza would have had to make from the sweltering heat and spicy food of India to the cold solitude of Montrose. Then to be recalled years later by her mother who has arranged marriage for her, to an old man, albeit it a wealthy gentleman, she has never met. Young and naïve, Eliza runs away with Thomas James, a `charming' family friend who promises to look after her. Of course she's seduced, leading to their marriage, but all is not well and she eventually leaves him; leading Eliza on a path of one lover after another and her eventual emergence as Lola.

Her love affair with Dujarier is heart-breaking. Her love affair with King Ludwig I of Bavaria makes her many enemies but in her single minded view of the world if people are not her friends, then they must take the consequences of being her enemies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Louise Smith on 29 Jan. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I also hadn't heard of Lola Montez until I read this book but found it fascinating to learn about her in such a colourful, vibrant fashion. The book takes you all across Europe and the Indian sub-continent following Lola's path from childhood to Victorian celebrity. It was easy to read and absorbing at the same time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beth Webb on 13 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fascinating read. Lola was such a gutsy character, and Harriet Steele has captured her times and adventures very vividly. It's a must read if you like wild women and strange adventures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stacey Mitchell on 19 Sept. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I must admit that I had never heard of Lola Montez before reading this book. Well, what a woman! She lived a turbulent life, either being loved or hated wherever she went. A somewhat difficult and manipulative woman, she began life in India with an adoring father and a cold, disinterested mother whom she constantly clashed with.

Born Eliza Gilbert in 1821, Lola lived a fairly unsettled childhood. This promised to become an unhappy adult life when it was revealed that her mother planned to marry her off to a wealthy older man she had never met before.

Deciding this was not the life she wanted, the headstrong girl ran away, getting into the kind of trouble that could ruin a woman's reputation. She became notorious in London, and soon was forced to move elsewhere, deciding to reinvent herself as a Spanish dancer named Lola Montez. And this is where the most extraordinary part of the story begins.

In short, I really enjoyed this book. I found the story absorbing and very well-written. Lola lived in and visited so many different places throughout the novel - India, Spain, Scotland, Poland, Bavaria - but each location was described in fabulous vivid detail. For me, this demonstrates the incredible amount of research that has gone into the making of this book.

And that brings me on to the first of two criticisms. The quality of the cover design isn't brilliant, meaning that the image of Lola on the paperback is pixellated. I think it's a real shame that the cover doesn't really do the rest of the book justice, and could lead a prospective reader to prejudge the quality of the story within.

My other criticism relates to the pace of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By London Matron on 6 Sept. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a cracking subject: there's no other way to put it. Whether you like this novel or not, you'll be richer for Steel bringing Lola to your attention. The story of not quite rags to riches but put-upon officer's daughter to riches is captivating and takes your from India to London to Paris and Seville and Baveria - how great is that?

This is a Becky Sharp who climbs the ladder wrong by wrong to get what she wants: money and respectability. Get past chapter one ( see later) and the first few chapters of the story are gripping; I couldn't put it down which is rare in many books these days where authors have lost the knack of pace - because so few publishers' editors seem to be active critics and give us the same old authors with second-rate books.

Only...and you'll have to place this in context...the last half was a struggle and not a page turner in a good way. This is a book of two halves.

This is a self-published book and the standard of presentation and writing in terms of description is easily as good as a published novel, indeed, better, and that's without all the submissions committees and editors. But one can see why a publisher might not pick it up - it does need a bit of a look at in terms of character and pace. The second half loses interest and begins to meander because the character essentially stays the same. Lola isn't made into a Becky Sharp but comes over as either nice or not hard enough - and so we aren't as breathless for the next chapter as we really were in the first half.

And can somebody go to Spain for a month or two and come back as a Spaniard?

So, a reader wants a book to be value and enjoyable. This book was worth every penny and I'm richer for reading it - and we ought to support self-published authors in a market where published authors have books out that aren't nearly as enjoyable.
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