From Publishers Weekly
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. (Jan.)
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"'Absorbing, intimate, a subtle observation of the play of power and love' - Lisa Appignanesi 'The Mistress of Nothing serves up spicy passion and romance and biting social comment in one delicious dish.' - Anthony Sattin, travel writer and journalist 'Scorchingly powerful' - Good Housekeeping 'This is a fascinating, intelligent novel, exploring the snobbery upon which the sun never sets.' - Kate Saunders, The Times"
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