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 award-winning author Enid Shomer’s The Twelve Rooms of the Nile, they ignite a friendship marked by intelligence, humor, 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 Enid 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 travelers, this mesmerizing debut novel offers a luminous combination of gorgeous prose and wild imagination, all of it colored by the opulent tapestry of mid-nineteenth century Egypt.
This is not an easy book to review. There is a lot of talking, thinking within it. Just living life. A flow of words, excellent writing and just a look into the souls of two famous individuals.
Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert did travel the Nile at the same time, but no they did not meet. This is a what if book, what if they had met. Become friends and what else.
Two intelligent people who crave more meet, become friends and confidantes. Flaubert wants to write a novel, but is having problems with it. He does not want to marry and he loves his prostitutes.
Florence wants something more from life. Not the drudgery of marriage, being shackled and not being able to do more. What that more is she does not yet know. She wants to find her calling, the calling God has promised her. Their friendship is raw somehow, they share, they talk. But they also wish and that is not the path they should take.
What to say really. Shomer has a way with words, even if not much happen, and even when things to happen. Well things just are. There is something sobering over this novel.
They travel Egypt, together, apart. And maybe in the end they find their calling.
It’s not a book you race through, you take your time, and wonder. I did like her style.
Genre: Historical fiction
Published: August 21st 2012 from Simon & Schuster
Source: For review