The Twelve Rooms of the Nile

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile

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Before she became the nineteenth century’s greatest heroine, before he had written a word of Madame Bovary, Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert traveled down the Nile at the same time in 1850. But where history would have these two figures float right by each other, the award-winning writer Enid Shomer brings them together to ignite a passionate friendship that alters both their destinies.

Shomer, whose writing The New York Times has praised as “beautifully cadenced, and surprising in its imaginative reach,” brings to life the opu­lent tapestry of mid-nineteenth-century Egypt as the unlikely soul mates come together to share their darkest torments and most fervent hopes.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 480 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451642971 | 
  • August 2013
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Video

Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert On the Nile River

Enid Shomer explores the perhaps encounters of Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert on the Nile River in Egypt in the 1850s.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Twelve Rooms of the Nile includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Enid Shomer. 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

Before she became the nineteenth-century’s heroine, before he had written a word of Madame Bovary, Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert traveled up the Nile at the same time. In the imaginative leap taken by Enid Shomer’s The Twelve Rooms of the Nile, the two ignite a passionate friendship marked by intelligence, humor, and ravishing tenderness that will alter both their destinies.

In 1850, both are at crossroads in their lives and burn with unfulfilled ambition. To her family’s chagrin, and in spite of her wealth, charm, and beauty, Florence is, at twenty-nine and of her own volition, well on her way to spinsterhood. She yearns to be of use in the world. Traumatized by the deaths of his father and sister, and plagued by mysterious seizures, Flaubert has dropped out of law school and commenced on a first novel, an effort promptly deemed unpublishable by his closest friends. At twenty-eight, he is an unproven writer with a failing body. In Enid Shomer’s deft hands, see more

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