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The Mistress of Nothing

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Description

The winner of the prestigious Governor General's Award for Fiction, The Mistress of Nothing is "a subtle observation of the play of power and love" (Lisa Appignanesi). Lady Duff Gordon is the toast of Victorian London society. But when her debilitating tuberculosis means exile, she and her devoted lady's maid, Sally, set sail for Egypt. It is Sally who describes, with a mixture of wonder and trepidation, the odd menage (marshalled by the resourceful Omar) that travels down the Nile to a new life in Luxor. When Lady Duff Gordon undoes her stays and takes to native dress, throwing herself into weekly salons, language lessons and excursions to the tombs, Sally too adapts to a new world, which affords her heady and heartfelt freedoms never known before. But freedom is a luxury that a maid can ill-afford, and when Sally grasps more than her status entitles her to, she is brutally reminded that she is mistress of nothing.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 01, 2010 – Based on the real Lady Duff Gordon's journey to Egypt with her maid in the mid-19th century, Pullinger's novel brings a broiling desert landscape to life through the eyes of the working classes. Maid Sally Naldrett jumps at the opportunity to travel to the Middle East with her lady, but her fairy tale grows even more exquisite when she falls in love with the lady's interpreter and guide, Omar. The blithe domestic scene takes a turn for the worse when Sally becomes pregnant, much to Lady Duff Gordon's disappointment. As Egypt's lower classes rise up against the tyrannical khedive, Sally's position grows tenuous, forcing her to fend for herself and her half-English, half-Egyptian child in Cairo, a budding tourist town quickly shedding its history. Incorporating actual quotes from the real Lady Duff Gordon's letters, and endowing Sally with tremendous character, Pullinger successfully imagines an ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances.

Customer Reviews

Read Better

The story lacks in building & description of location. The Egyptian customs are not well woven into the story & can be very unbelievable. I found the plot to slow & unrealistic. As if the author had a bill to pay & quickly wrote this using a few Arabic words for backbone.

The Mistress of Nothing
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Sep 01, 2009
  • Publisher: McArthur & Company
  • Seller: McArthur & Company Publishing Limited
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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