About this title:
Winner of Canada's prestigious Governor General's Award, this richly rendered American debut captures the life of a lady's maid on her journey from the confines of Victorian England to the uncharted reaches of Egypt's Nile Valley, awakening first love, testing loyalties, and discovering freedom has a price.
When Lady Duff Gordon, toast of Victorian London society, departs for the hot, dry climate of Egypt to seek relief from the debilitating effects of her tuberculosis, Sally doesn't think twice about remaining by her mistress' side. Sally and Lady Duff Gordon throw themselves into their exotic surroundings, adopting native dress, learning Arabic, and visiting the tombs of ancient pharaohs. Along the way, Sally comes to experience freedoms she, as a servant, has never known before, as well as her first taste of romance.
But freedom is a luxury that a maid can ill afford, and when Sally grasps for more than status entitles her to, she is brutally reminded that she is mistress of nothing. Ultimately, she must choose her master and a way back -- or a way to the unknown.
Based on the real lives of Lady Duff Gordon and her maid, The Mistress of Nothing is a lush, sometimes dark portrait of forbidden love, tested loyalties, and finding an unexpected new definition of ''home'' -- a compelling story that will take listeners on a journey they will not soon forget.
Lady Duff Gordon is the toast of Victorian London. 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, which travels down the Nile to a new life in Luxor. As Lady Duff Gordon undoes her stays and takes to native dress, throwing herself into weekly salons; language lessons; excursions to the tombs; Sally too adapts to a new world, affording 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.
About the Author:
Kate Pullinger was born in Canada, and moved to London in 1982 where she still lives. She is the author of Tiny Lies, a collection of short stories, and the novels When the Monster Dies, Weird Sister and A Little Stranger (published by Serpent's Tail). 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.
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