The Storyteller of Casablanca (by Fiona Valpy)

This book left a lasting impression on me, and Fiona Valpy will be an author I will look out for in the future – yes it was that good! Casablanca conjures up many images, and you are already in the right frame of mind as you digest and enjoy the first few pages of the book. The heat, the dust, bright light, wind all start to weave their magic from page one as you soak up the atmosphere.

The two main characters are Zoe set in the 2010 time frame and Josie in wartime 1941. Just how are these two characters involved with each other? The author gradually draws the “relationship” together as the story unfolds.

What’s The Storyteller of Casablanca about?

The Storyteller of Casablanca (by Fiona Valpy)

Fiona Valpy introduces the book on her site as follows:

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?

Good or Bad The Storyteller of Casablanca?

The characters are richly drawn, and the contrasts of Casablanca in 1941 and 2010 are expertly researched. The story is sad in places but by the end of the story, the mood is uplifting and life-affirming. Has history changed that much – for example, Hitler cf. Putin and also Jewish emigres and African refugee migration? There are plenty of historical facts that enhance the story. We learn about the plight of refugees in the 1940s as well as in the 21st century, the pain of loss, mental illness, the resilience of women and the healing that can come from sharing our common humanity across boundaries of culture and age. This book will leave a lasting impression on you and not easy to forget.

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