The Moroccan Daughter by Deborah Rodriguez, bestselling author of The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul and Island on the Edge of the World, tells the enthralling story of forbidden love, secrets and family issues. It is set in Morocco, a country steeped in honour and tradition and takes the reader from the ancient, twisting alleyways of the medina of Fez to the Imilchil marriage festival high up in the Atlas mountains.
Amina Bennis has returned to Morocco, where she grew up, to attend her sister’s wedding. To give her moral support, she is accompanied by her best friend and hairdresser, Charlie, and Charlie’s feisty Grandmother, Bea.
Amina intends to face up to her strictly traditionalist father and tell him of her secret marriage to American husband, Max.
The three women are staying with Amina’s family in their impressively beautiful riad in Fes. Charlie and Bea soon become friends with the Bennises’ housekeeper, Samira, whose joy it is to introduce Bea to all the delights that the city has to offer. But, Samira also has a secret that she has hidden for decades.
Leaving her Grandmother in Samira’s care, Charlie has set up a surreptitious meeting with a man she hasn’t seen for over three years. Will he bring her more trouble than she expects?
As the story unfolds, the four women are gradually trapped in a web of lies, clandestine dealings and heartbreaking confessions.
Deborah certainly does her research well in preparation for a new novel. Before writing The Moroccan Daughter she travelled to Morocco with a girlfriend. They first stayed in a beautiful riad in the middle of the medina in Tangiers, visiting a traditional hammam.
After paddling in the Mediterranean at the Straits of Gibraltar, they headed to Marrakech with its snake charmers, and (black?) magic shops selling all manner of strange objects. Then, on to Fez and its ancient medina with nine thousand streets to explore.
From her female guide, Hajar, Deborah heard tales of communities in the mountains and their young women wanting more from life. Then, finally to the Atlas Mountains themselves and the Imilchil Wedding Festival, which she describes so beautifully in her novel.
This research is the key to Deborah’s great success, as are her wonderfully authentic stories, which are artfully written to give the reader glimpses of parts of the world that they may never visit themselves. She also notes that local traditions and a very different and limited outlook on life are gradually changing for the women that live there, as they become more knowledgeable and increasingly empowered.
Do try some of the amazing local recipes that Deborah has added at the end of the book!
An uplifting must read for 2021.
The Moroccan Daughter is available in paperback, e-book and audiobook
About Deborah Rodriguez
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 nonprofit organisation 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.