I quite enjoyed the read. It is very fast-paced and interesting, and kept me wanting more every time I put it down. Basically it is the story of 2 women - Lucie Duff Gordon and her "Lady's Maid" Sally Naldrett - as they travel to Egypt from England in the 1860's in an attempt to cure the mistress's tuberculosis.
Sally is the first-person narrator, and I found myself drawn in by her voice. Lucie Duff Gordon (who is a real historical person) comes across as quite a character and rebel for the time period in which she lived - dressing in the clothing of an Egyptian male, learning Arabic, becoming involved in politics, and generally doing things that a well-bred English lady didn't do. She also seems to have a touch of the "little girl, who had a little curl" in her (i.e. when she was good, she was very, very, good, but when she was bad she was horrid). As long as you were on her side, you were fine, but if you dare to cross her, watch out!
After finishing the book, I am surprised that it won the GG award, as it is a very female book. It focuses on the relationships between Sally and Lucie; Sally and Omar (their dragoman and father of Sally's child); then Sally and Mabrouka (Omar's first wife). It is strange that the award committee would choose a book that only appeals to half of the reading public. Mind you, that is me writing from a female perspective. If there are any fellows out there who have read this book, I would be interested in your take on it!