by Kate Pullinger
When tuberculosis drives Lady Duff Gordon to the warm and dry climate of Egypt, her lady’s maid, Sally, is thrilled. Sally, as we come to understand, has always been fascinated by Egyptian history. To escape Victorian England for a while is a pleasant diversion for the loyal lady’s maid.
The two women acclimate well to the exotic country, almost too well. They soon abandon their stuffy English fashions, learn to speak Arabic, and go native. In Sally’s case, going native means going a bit too far. While it is fine for a wealthy society woman to stretch the limits of society, a lady’s maid must always know her place. Sally’s place is as a mistress of nothing.
Based on true characters in history, this novel takes the reader to new places, while reminding him/her of the old places and old order. Readers will feel the heat and freedom of Egypt, as well as the restrictions of Victorian society.