The Moroccan Daughter…
About the Book:
Morocco: a captivating country of honour and tradition. And, for these four women, a land of secrets and revelations.
From the twisted alleyways of the ancient medina of Fès to a marriage festival high in the Atlas Mountains, Deborah Rodriguez’s entrancing new bestseller is a modern story of forbidden love set in the sensual landscape of North Africa. Author of The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul and The Zanzibar Wife.
Amina Bennis has come back to her childhood home in Morocco to attend her sister’s wedding. The time has come for her to confront her strict, traditionalist father with the secret she has kept for more than a year – her American husband, Max.
Amina’s best friend, Charlie, and Charlie’s feisty grandmother, Bea, have come along for moral support, staying with Amina and her family in their palatial riad in Fès and enjoying all that the city has to offer. But Charlie is also hiding someone from her past – a mystery man from Casablanca.
And then there’s Samira, the Bennises’ devoted housekeeper for many decades. Hers is the biggest secret of all – one that strikes at the very heart of the family.
As things begin to unravel behind the ancient walls of the medina, the four women are soon caught in a web of lies, clandestine deals and shocking confessions.
The Moroccan Daughter follows on from Deborah Rodriguez’s previous release, Island on the Edge of the World. It’s not so much a sequel though, so you don’t have to worry about having to read it before you read this one, but more of a continuation of the adventures of two of the key characters, Charlie and Bea. For those who have read Island on the Edge of the World, this one offers some further insight into these characters, but for those who haven’t read it, enough backstory is woven into this one to ensure enjoyment and clarity.
I really like Deborah’s novels. She creates an intriguing blend of adventure, family drama, love and friendship, all set against the most exotic locations – all of which she has visited, providing an authentic replication of her locales onto the page. Her characters are all lively and realistic, with individual personalities sparking off each other just as they do in real life. Her settings are richly detailed, everything from smells to sounds with an infusion of culture woven into the narrative, giving the reader such a vivid sense of place. She hits the right notes all the time and The Moroccan Daughter is no exception to this trademark style of hers.
I found Amina very frustrating at times, as did the other characters, but I think this is an example of how cultural barriers can come into play, particularly within cross-cultural relationships. She frustrated me, yes, but I also understood why she was doing what she was doing and acting the way she was acting. She had indeed put herself into a situation of her own making and I couldn’t help but think that she had been a bit like an ostrich when marrying Max, sticking her head in the sand and thinking she’ll deal with the fall out with her family later. Except, when later arrived, she still wasn’t equipped to deal with it, external circumstances forcing her hand.
I enjoyed the family dynamic that played out within this novel between Amina and her siblings, their loyalty to their father’s happiness and honour, as well as Samira’s place within the household and how it varied between the sibling’s perspectives. She was an interesting character and learning her backstory was fascinating. I liked the friendship between Samira and Bea that blossomed and the scenes where Samira would take Bea out with her were written so well, giving the reader insight into Fès, the daily life and customs, from the perspective of a local and a tourist.
The Moroccan Daughter does offer a lot to the reader, with its four main characters all having their own things going on as well as linking in with each other and a host of secondary characters. To describe the plot would almost seem like too much was going on but I never felt that whilst reading. Instead, everything works well, the characters and their individual stories overlapping as the ending draws closer, resulting in a warm-hearted, entertaining, and insightful novel. This was an entirely enjoyable read and I recommend it highly.
Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House Australia for providing me with a copy of The Moroccan Daughter for review.
About the Author:
Deborah Rodriguez is the author of the international bestsellers The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, The Zanzibar Wife and Island on the Edge of the World. She has also written two memoirs: The Kabul Beauty School, about her life in Afghanistan, and The House on Carnaval Street, on her experiences following her return to America. She spent five years teaching and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. Deborah also owned the Oasis Salon and the Cabul Coffee House, and is the founder of the non-profit organization Oasis Rescue, which aims to teach women in post-conflict and disaster-stricken areas the art of hairdressing. She currently lives in Mazatlán, Mexico, where she owns Tippy Toes salon and spa.
The Moroccan Daughter
Published by Penguin Random House Australia (Bantam Australia)
Released 2nd February 2021