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The Storyteller of Casablanca Kindle Edition
In this evocative tale from the bestselling author of The Dressmaker’s Gift, a strange new city offers a young girl hope. Can it also offer a lost soul a second chance?
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?
“A novel that will whisk you to another time and place, The Storyteller of Casablanca is a tender tale of hope, resilience, and new beginnings.” —Imogen Clark, bestselling author of Postcards From a Stranger
“Fiona Valpy has an exquisite talent for creating characters so rounded and delightful that they almost feel like family, and this makes what happens to them feel very personal.” —Louise Douglas, bestselling author of The House by the Sea
About the Author
Fiona spent seven years living in France, having moved there from the UK in 2007, before returning to live in Scotland. Her love for both of these countries, their people and their histories, has found its way into the books she’s written.
She draws inspiration from the stories of strong women, especially during the years of the Second Word War, and her meticulous historical research enriches her writing with an evocative sense of time and place.
An acclaimed Number 1 bestselling author, Fiona Valpy’s books have been translated into more than a dozen languages worldwide.
- ASIN : B08V5K7W31
- Publisher : Lake Union Publishing (21 Sept. 2021)
- Language : English
- File size : 3882 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 315 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1542032105
- Best Sellers Rank: 19 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2021
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This is my second experience of Fiona Valpy's work, having previously read "The Dressmaker's Gift". Overall, I think "The Storyteller of Casablanca" is a slightly better novel, but many of the frustrations that I felt while reading "The Dressmaker's Gift" were again evident in this book.
The story takes place across two timelines: Initially 2010 and then interspersed with flashbacks to 1941/42 via the medium of a young girl's diary. The narrative for the 2010 sections is provided by Zoe, an expat who has relocated to Casablanca with her husband. Hidden away in one of the bedrooms of her new home Zoe finds a diary written by Josie, a 12-year-old (initially) girl who lived in the same property with her family some 70 years earlier. As she reads through the diary Zoe is transported back to world that young Josie inhabited and the challenges that she faced.
Fiona Valpy does a creditable job of evoking the atmosphere of life in Morocco, both in the modern setting, but more especially in the wartime period. Josie's story is one that I found engaging. I was not always convinced that the voice given to her by the author was entirely authentic for a girl of her age, but I was prepared to overlook this on the grounds of artistic licence. I was less enthralled by Zoe's chapters. For the most part - certainly until much later in the novel - these contributed little to the overall development and detracted from the more compelling story of Josie, in a way that disrupted the emotional investment that was being made in the characters from that earlier time. Consequently, there are some potentially heartrending moments that don't achieve the level of impact they should have done. I made a similar observation in my review of "The Dressmaker's Gift". In that book I was also frustrated by the handling of the modern sections of the dual timeframe story and the diminishing effect they had on the impact of the novel as a whole. It is disappointing that the same trait is again evident in the author's work here.
On the whole, this is far from being a bad book, and it is a pleasant enough way to while away a few hours, but I felt it had the potential to be something much better.
I have included this far down in my review that it will not be read unless the reader chooses too. Had I known about this trigger I would not have read the book but boy am I glad I did. Part of the book revolves around the death of a baby. I hope if you read this and are not sure you will give it a fair chance. It has helped in a small way and given me a measure of hope and comfort I would never have found otherwise. I hope it does the same for you.
The story starts with Zoe, unhappy with her marriage, her expat existence in Casablanca and with life in general. After she finds Josie's journal, the first half of the book is mainly given to the perceptive and detailed observations of this precocious and optimistic 12 year-old Jewish girl, stuck with her family in Casablanca in flight from the Nazis. Zoe makes a few brief appearances, but it's almost as if she is hiding behind Josie. The reader begins to realise that Zoe's unhappiness goes a lot deeper than she admits.
There is a gear change about half way through the book, when Zoe starts to engage with current day refugees, and Josie's journal begins to reflect the fact that the danger for her family is growing. I don't really want to give away any more - this is a well told story that needs to be read.