This reading group guide for The Mistress of Nothing includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Kate PUllinger. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.INTRODUCTION
When Lady Duff Gordon, a member of the English social elite, comes down with a debilitating illness that requires exile to a dryer climate, she and her maid, Sally Naldrett, set sail for Egypt. Through Sally’s keen and floral narration, Egypt is painted as a place of wonder—of luxuries and freedoms not afforded to native English women in their home country. But luxury, especially for a maid of a lower station, comes with a price. From a love affair with her faithful dragoman
to the biting rejection from the woman she devoted her life to, Sally travels a road of little reward, and finds that even in motherhood and unerring service, she is the mistress of nothing at all.TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
- Why do you feel Lady Duff Gordon cast out Sally so harshly? Was she betrayed? Did she truly have an issue with propriety?
- Following those lines of thought, why does she not treat Omar similarly? Why is she so certain that Sally “tricked” Omar in