Kate Pullinger's The Mistress of Nothing MONTHS AGO and I finally got it from the library last week. I loved Pullinger's story set in 1860s England and Egypt, yet another novel I find myself reading that is based on a true story, that of Lady Duff Gordon. Sally, a lady's maid accompanies her mistress to Egypt in order to help relieve Lady Duff Gordon's tuberculosis. Along the way Lady Duff Gordon hires Omar, an Egyptian man who becomes guide, translator, servant, cook, and general go-to man. While Lady Duff Gordon throws herself into society, she desperately misses her family. Sally on the other hand absolutely loves Egypt and the sens of freedom she feels in this new life.
The Mistress of Nothing's first chapter is a rather cryptic beginning to this novel: "When I did wrong, I was dismissed, no I was no longer of use to her....She hated me for finding love when love love had deserted her. She hated me for creating a family when she had lost hers. She hated me for living when she herself faced death." I was eager to find out who is this person and what did/does she to do become the source of so much anger. I was particularly interested in the Arabic lessons because at work I currently have a patient who only speaks Arabic and it is VERY challenging trying to help someone recover their language and speaking abilities when you do not speak the same language! I have been learning the numbers 1-10, some of the alphabet, yes, no, and thank you-so I was interested to see what Sally and Lady Duff Gordon would learn as well. I also love historical fiction-especially books set in Victorian England and the addition of Egyptian life at that time was incredibly interesting! Another book I highly recommend-and a very quick read too!!