New Book – Becoming Lola by Harriet Steel


Publishing year: 2010

This new novel is based on the life of Lola Montez, who apparently was a famous singer and dancer.

The prologue starts in 1851 in New York, where Lola presents herself to a theatre full of a male audience.

Then the story moves back to India in 1823. We are introduced to little Eliza, who is travelling with her parents Edward and Elizabeth Gilbert in India, to the new post of her father in the army. Eliza is very fond of her father, who entertains her with games and reading, but her mother is cold and distant with her. We know that Eliza’s parents aren’t too well-off. Her father admits to having nothing to his name, but the pay from the army, and Elizabeth is the bastard of a Protestant Irish man. During the trip Eliza’s father becomes ill, and I’m afraid he’ll die. Eliza doesn’t seem to miss her mother much, and the only person she seems to love is her father. What will happen to her if her father dies? Now that they’ve arrived in Dinapore, their destination, her father has been taken to a hospital while Eliza is staying with a woman, who calls himself the residency lady.


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