The Mistress of Nothing
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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.
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.