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By Kate Pullinger

“Pullinger is equally unerring at conveying the subtle cruelties of power relationships and the incremental dawnings of love and affection. Coupled with this is an almost painterly ability to depict an Egypt alternately parched and sumptuous – both literally and metaphorically.”
-Metro, London


Pullinger_The Mistress of Nothing

The real-life Lady Duff Gordon was the toast of Victorian London. In this fictional account of a real story, she is advised by her doctor to seek warmer climes, and so 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 ménage marshalled by the resourceful Omar, which travels down the Nile to a new life in Luxor. When 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.

“A lush and compelling tale of two very different women discovering a whole new world.”
The Gloss

“In making the choice to go with real names and then play fast and loose with the facts, Pullinger has set herself a challenge that also pays rich dividends. The remarkable life of Lucie Duff Gordon deserves renewed attention, and Pullinger’s novel about this unconventional literary figure’s even more unconventional maid yields some moving narrative which, whether factual or not, rings utterly true.”
The Globe and Mail

“A subtle debunking of a literary mistress through the eyes of the maidservant… Deft and unfussily written.”
-Elizabeth Buchan, Sunday Times

“Intriguing… unusual and very absorbing.”

“Pullinger’s narrative flows as smoothly as the Nile whose density and odour she so seductively evokes.”
-Nicholas Murray, Independent

“A fascinating story… there is much to admire in this unusual love story.”
Independent on Sunday

“This is a fascinating, intelligent novel, exploring the snobbery upon which the sun never set.”
The Times

“Beautifully told and moving.”

“Pullinger’s involving novel seamlessly blends fact and fiction, combining the heady romance of Egypt with a cold splash of realism.”
Daily Mail

“…a great recipe for romance and tragedy baked in the blistering oven of British morals and prejudice… full of colorful descriptions and appeals to the emotions.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Serpent’s Tail, UK, July 2009

McArthur & Company, Canada, August 2009

Touchstone Fireside, US

de Geus, The Netherlands


Longlisted for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Winner of the 2009 Governor General’s Award for fiction

Longlisted for the 2011 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Other Books by Kate Pullinger