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'With the voice of a poet and a keen eye for time, place, and character, Enid Shomer tells of the imagined intersection of two famous lives and the communion of two unlikely souls on the crossroads of the Nile. Beautifully written, touchingly rendered.'
Alan Brennert, author of Moloka'i
'With its beauty and wit, its bawdiness, its specificity of characterization, its historical rigor, and its cinematic evocation of time and place, The Twelve Rooms of the Nile is an astoundingly good first novel. In fact, forget first.'
Daniel Menaker, author of A Good Talk: The Story and Skill of Conversation
'Once in a blue moon I read a novel and want to weep with envy that it is not my name on the cover. The Twelve Rooms of the Nile is such a book. This clever, funny story of Florence Nightingale English, earnest to a fault, virginal and Gustave Flaubert hedonist, sexual gourmet, and cynic is brilliant. Every sentence, every paragraph shimmers with the color and heat of the Nile and the intelligence of the characters.'
Roberta Rich, author of The Midwife of Venice
'Enid Shomer s ingenious first novel, The Twelve Rooms of the Nile, is a richly imagined meeting of the minds of two brilliant, iconic figures . . . skillfully depicted here as unformed youth, a pair of lost souls on the cusp of greatness. This is a poignant story of two very different people who find that true illumination often comes in the form of the unlikeliest of human relationships.'
Amy Hill Hearth, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the George Foster Peabody Award
'The meeting in 1849 of Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert in Egypt, an unlikely but immensely satisfying confluence, is deftly imagined in this brilliant book. The louche Flaubert and the sober Miss Nightingale are fitting representations of ourselves as life s travelers alternately lazy and alert, sensuous and restrained, complacent and curious.'
Susanna Moore, author of The Big Girls
'I could not imagine it: Gustave Flaubert and Florence Nightingale as friends, almost as lovers! Step by step, detail by detail, Shomer constructs the story of how a man and a woman with nothing in common but genius, one French, one English, one steeped in cynicism, one drowning in despair, could meet on the Nile in 1850, talk, write, hold hands, and see into each other s souls. As brilliantly sensual as it is finely psychological, this novel is a tour de force of twenty-first century storytelling.'
Gillian Gill, author of Nightingales
';The Twelve Rooms of the Nile promises ... heat and mud aplenty in an atmospheric imagining of the friendship that grew between Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert on their 1849 Nile journey.'
'...ideal for anyone who wants something compatible with which to while away the hours on an Egyptian idyll' --The Lady
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.
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