The Storyteller of Casablanca – Fiona Valpy

Published By: Amazon Publishing
Pages: 315
Released On: 21/09/2021

Morocco, 1941. With France having fallen to Nazi occupation, twelve year old Josie has fled with her family to Casablanca, where they await safe passage to America. Life here is as intense as the sun, every sight, smell and sound overwhelming to the senses in a city filled with extraordinary characters. It’s a world away from the trouble back home – and Josie loves it.

Seventy years later, another new arrival in the intoxicating port city, Zoe, is struggling – with her marriage, her baby daughter, and her new life as an expat in an unfamiliar place. But when she discovers a small wooden box and a diary from the 1940s beneath the floorboards of her daughter’s bedroom, Zoe enters the inner world of young Josie, who once looked out on the same view of the Atlantic Ocean, but who knew a very different Casablanca.

It’s not long before Zoe begins to see her adopted city through Josie’s eyes. But can a new perspective help her turn tragedy into Hope, and find the comfort she needs to heal her broken heart?

*****

Thanks to Amazon Publishing for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

Definite book cover judging going on here – it is just so beautiful and evocative or what I think most about Casablanca; the warmth, the smells and the sights. I have always wanted to visit Casablanca and the way Fiona describes it, especially in the chapters set in the 1940’s, it seems more magical than I could ever have thought. It doesn’t specify in the biography of the book as to whether Fiona has ever visited Casablanca herself, but her details are so exquisite, I find it hard to believe she hasn’t.

It can be confusing when a book flits from different time periods snd characters, but Fiona keeps it simple by sticking to just two main ones. This makes it an interesting read, but you’re not forever flicking back to wrap your head round whose story you’re reading at that point.

It seems very timely, particularly the chapters that focus on refugees and the war torn areas in Asia and Africa; it’s upsetting to be able to see modern parallels in reality.

It is fast paced but gentle, explosive yet calming, heartbreaking but optimistic. Every word has been thought through perfectly that it’s impossible to imagine any other author writing this story. The two stories are interconnected so beautifully, and it pulls at your heartstrings at every chapter.

This may well have been my first Fiona Valpy novel, but it sure won’t be my last.

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