Book review – The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger

The Mistress of Nothing coverThere’s nothing quite as satisfying as a book that transports you. The Mistress Of Nothing manages to do that in location, time and (for most of us, I should think) circumstance, offering a rich mix of escapism and realism.

The book offers an intriguing blend of historical romance coupled with a clear-eyed examination of human nature that’s as relevant to us today as to Kate Pullinger’s 19th century characters.

The creamy pages draw you in and deposit you in the vibrant landscape of colonial Egypt. Sitti Duff Gordon is an adventurous English Lady whose poor health drives her to leave her home in Esher, Surrey, to seek the dry climate of Upper Egypt, accompanied by her maid Sally and dragoman Omar.

The book tracks Sally’s gradual, potentially perilous transformation from English to almost-Egyptian and servant to almost-equal: “I felt as far from Esher as it was possible to be; it was as though not only did I inhabit a different land, but I inhabited a different body.” Continue reading