Monday, February 13, 2012

The Mistress of Nothing

The Mistress of Nothing. Kate Pullinger. 2011. Simon & Schuster. 272 pages.

The truth is that, to her, I was not fully human.

I found The Mistress of Nothing to be a fascinating historical novel. The narrator, a 'spinster' named Sally, serves as lady's maid to Lady Duff Gordon. Lady Duff is dying, but the doctors feel a change in climate might postpone the end a few years at least. So Lady Duff separates herself from her family, her friends, her society--she LOVES to be the center of it all--and heads to Egypt with her maid, Sally Naldrett.

Set, for the most part, in Egypt during Victoria's reign (1860s), this novel is so very, very fascinating. It tells the story of how two English women adapted to Egypt--to a new culture, society, way of life. One of the first things they do is hire a dragoman, Omar. These three become very, very close. But even in their 'close' moments, there is a very real distinction between servant and mistress. Lady Duff may act friendly, but she is above them both. They are her paid servants. They owe their loyalty to her. They almost belong to her--as far as she sees it. Sally forgets this for a time. But she'll have months--if not years--to see the truth of the matter.

So, this novel is about what happens when these two 'servants' fall in love with each other. One a seemingly proper English woman, the other an Egyptian man...

This novel was such a good, quick read. I'm not sure I loved it. But I sure found it hard to put down!

Read The Mistress of Nothing
  • If you love historical fiction
  • If you love novels based on true people and events
  • If you have an interest in Egypt--past or present
  • If you enjoy novels set during the Victorian time period
  • If you enjoy bittersweet romance

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 comments:

Kailana 10:22 PM  

I really enjoyed Pullinger from what I have read so far. I didn't necessarily love this one, either, but I did enjoy it.

Susan (Reading World) 8:08 AM  

I enjoyed this one too. It was sad, but well worth the read!

Jules 9:16 AM  

I've had this sitting on my shelf for a while and keep putting it off, the summery on the back of the book doesn't seem to do the book much justice - hearing it has a nice focus on Egyptian culture/history makes me want to read it sooner. Thanks for the review.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP