A captivating debut that imagines a passionate friendship between Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert when they were exploring the Nile in 1849.
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 reality, they never met. But in The Twelve Rooms of the Nile, they ignite a friendship marked by intelligence, humour, and a ravishing tenderness that will alter both their destinies.
On the surface, Nightingale and Flaubert have little in common. She is a woman with radical ideas about society and God, naive in the ways of men. He is a notorious womanizer, involved with innumerable prostitutes. But both are at painful crossroads in their lives and burn with unfulfilled ambition. In Shomer’s deft hands, the two unlikely soulmates come together to share their darkest torments and fervent hopes. Brimming with adventure and the sparkling sensibilities of the two travellers, this mesmerizing debut novel offers a luminous combination of gorgeous prose and wild imagination, all of it coloured by the opulent tapestry of mid-nineteenth century Egypt.
‘A tour de force of twenty-first century storytelling’ Gillian Gill, author of Nightingales