Synopses & Reviews
The American debut of an award-winning novel about a ladys maids awakening as she journeys from the confines of Victorian England to the uncharted far reaches of Egypts Nile Valley
When Lady Duff Gordon, paragon of London society, departs for the hot, dry climate of Egypt to seek relief from her debilitating tuberculosis, her ladys maid, Sally, doesnt hesitate to leave the only world she has known in order to remain at her mistresss side. As Sally gets farther and farther from home, she experiences freedoms she has never known—forgoing corsets and wearing native dress, learning Arabic, and having her first taste of romance.
But freedom is a luxury that a ladys maid can ill afford, and when Sallys newfound passion for life causes her to forget what she is entitled to, she is brutally reminded she is mistress of nothing. Ultimately she must choose her master and a way back home—or a way to an unknown future.
Based on the real lives of Lady Duff Gordon and her maid, The Mistress of Nothing is a lush, erotic, and compelling story about the power of race, class, and love
“I couldn't stop reading this wonderful book and was sad when it was over. Kate Pullinger's skill is to make you feel like the confidante of her strong and unconventional heroine as she journeys down the Nile into the greatest adventure of her life. Highly recommended.”
--Julia Gregson, author of East of the Sun
“The Mistress of Nothing
sent me between torrents of emotion much like those conflicting forces the Nile has provoked since ancient times: tranquillity, excitement, even shock. Have fun!”
--Hanan Al-Shayhk, author of The Locust and the Bird
"A highly sensual evocation of place and time, Kate Pullinger’s The Mistress of Nothing
is a journey down the Nile that explores the subtle complexities of power, race, class and love during the Victorian era. The book, narrated by the character of the maid, Sally Naldrett, has one of the most distinctive and memorable voices in recent literature."
~Governor General’s Jury Citation
“Tantalizing…Pullinger has done her research.…Sally’s observations…bring this lost world to life.” -The New York Times Book Review
“The book’s commitment to a historical and pragmatic voice is its true gem....A tough story of the unavoidable tragedies and celebrations that three simple, yet extraordinary, lives may yield.” -Book Page
“Explores the relationships people form across boundaries….This is a book you can’t stop thinking about.” -San Francisco Book Review
“Endowing Sally with tremendous character, Pullinger successfully imagines an ordinary life in extraordinary circumstances.” -Publishers Weekly
“Romance and tragedy baked in the blistering oven of British morals and prejudice.” -Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A rich, compelling novel. The story is told...so engagingly that I felt a great loss when I reached the end of the book.” -Historical Novels Review
“An interesting story, exploring relationships between mother and child, master and servant, husband and multiple wives, as well as bringing out the political climate of Egypt during the 1800s.” -The Oklahoman
“Scorchingly powerful.” -Good Housekeeping
About the Author
Kate Pullinger was born in Vancouver, and now lives in London. She is the author of several novels and collections of short stories. She collaborated with Jane Campion on the novel of the film The Piano, and has written for film, television and radio. She teaches creative writing and new media at De Montfort University.