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The Mistress of Nothing

book jacketRecently I picked up "The Mistress of Nothing" by Kate Pullinger.  This novel, based on a true story was set mainly in Egypt during the mid-1800's. Lady Duff Gordon has contracted the dibilitating disease called tuberculosis and is forced to leave her family in England and move to the hot climate of Egypt in order to extend her life. With her comes her fiercely loyal lady's maid, Sally and together they make a new home in this foreign land. Told from Sally's perspective, the reader easily becomes intoxiated by the description of life in Luxor and the freedoms both she and Lady Duff Gordon grow used to. If you are fan of historical fiction, this is a novel you may quite enjoy. I always find it a 'bonus' when the story is based on a real people!  The Mistress of Nothing also won the GG award in 2009. Here is a short blurb: 

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.