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 Note From the Publisher
“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
Available on NetGalley
Zoe is finding it almost impossible to settle into her new life in Morocco, with her husband and a new baby and being so far from home. While investigating her new home, she finds a wooden box under the floorboards in her daughter’s bedroom. In the box are the diary and letters of Josie, a young girl waiting with her family in Casablanca in 1940 for transport to the United States, as they try to stay one step ahead of the Nazis. In Josie’s diary, Zoe is able to explore a city and a time long vanished, both the beauty and the terror. This is an unforgettable read, you can almost smell the cinnamon and allspice of the bazaar
This is a vivid and unique story with a setting that's just what I needed right now! The author does a good job of drawing us in while letting the story evolve at its own pace. A new to me author that I will be recommending.
My thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing/Lake Union Publishing for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review. Initially I found the narrative immature, but then had to revise my opinion as the story unfolded. It was apt for the tale and surprisingly, Josie’s narrative did mature over time. With a love for Morocco I could not resist requesting this book. Despite containing descriptions of the landscape, cities and people of Morocco, bringing back fond memories of my recent visits, it’s not a page-turner. The history of Morocco during WW2, as retold in Josie’s diary, were informative and well researched. A diary written by an 13 year old and the current day events of a troubled young married woman, switches frequently between each one’s story. The characters were well portrayed and for the most part likeable.
Zoe is having a hard time adjusting to her new life in Casablanca. After finding a box containing a journal of a 13 year old girl, Josie, that was written in the 1940s. The story switches back and forth as Zoe reads Josie’s story and begins to fall in love with the city that Josie describes so well. I loved that Josie’s writing in her journal matured as she did. The detail and research done for this book was phenomenal.
A wonderful tale that toggles back and forth from current period to 1940s period. The writing develops throughout the story as the child, Josie, in the 1940s matures through the actions that surround her. In addition, Zoe finds the strength within the writing of the child to provide a new direction in her life. The descriptions of the landscape, cities and people of Morocco, are wonderfully descriptive and provides a view into a place I have not visited to date. The history of Morocco during WWII, told in Josie’s diary, were informative and well researched. A diary written by an 13 year old and the current day events of a troubled young married woman, switches frequently between each one’s story. The characters were well portrayed and were mostly enjoyable characters. I enjoyed the different perspective of the war and how it did have far reaches that might not have always been the mainstream.
So beautifully written I stayed up half the night to finish it. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star.
Having read and enjoyed The Skylark’s Secret by Fiona Valpy, I had to request this book. I was not disappointed. It is a story written in dual timelines. Zoe, young , married with a baby, goes to live in Casablanca when her husband accepts a posting there. He works for a shipping company and spends a lot of time at work. Zoe is befriended by some of the other expats, and is encouraged to take part in some of their activities. One day, she finds a loose floorboard in her daughter’s bedroom. When she tries to fix it, she discovers a wooden box containing a journal, hidden underneath. The journal was written in 1941, by a 13 year old Jewish girl, who had fled, with her family, from their home in Paris to escape the Nazis. It describes life in Casablanca during the war years and the difficulties refugees were facing there. I loved the little fables interspersed in the story and also liked the descriptions of the Medina, the people, the landscape and life in general. I was not expecting the final turn in the story. My thanks to NetGalley, Fiona Valpy and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC copy of this lovely story.
I was totally immersed in this book and absolutely loved it. I have enjoyed all Fiona Valpy's novels and her interweaving of present day stories wit historical fiction is mesmerising. The underlying narrative of coping with grief resonated with me very strongly personally. Superb!
This book will be included in my Most Favorite Books Read in 2021 list. I was moved by so many things in this incredibly beautiful book. Ms. Valpy's story telling of these two women in two different times is beautiful, the setting is magical. It's a book I'll be sharing with family and friends for a long time to come.
This was a wonderfully descriptive novel that takes place in Morocco, mostly Casablanca. You can almost see, hear, touch and smell the surroundings in the novel. I’ve been to Casablanca just once, many years ago but this book has peaked my interest into perhaps thinking about visiting again at some point when the world has opened up again. The book is written in a dual time line. Our main character is Zoe, who is fairly new to Casablanca and trying hard to fit in to the expat community with the help of a few welcoming and helpful women. Her husband Tom has been transferred with his job to the city. There is also their baby Grace filling up Zoe’s days. However, Zoe is lonely and spends many hours on her own while Tom works late. While in her daughter’s bedroom, she finds a loose floorboard and underneath is a little box with a few trinkets and a diary. The diary is of a young girl of 13 called Josie written during the second world war. Josie and her family had left Paris to go to America to escape the Nazis in France. Their time in Casablanca was to be a stop-over, just for a short while until their papers for the United States came through. Zoe begins reading the diary and soon finds herself intrigued by the young author of the diary and wondering what became of them. She starts doing a little bit of research of her own. It took me a little while to get into this novel but once I did, I was very interested. There was the hint throughout the book that something wasn’t right in Zoe and Tom’s marriage and you need to keep reading to understand what happened to this couple in order for them to seem so broken. I enjoyed the two timelines in the novel. I equally liked the two main characters but I was particularly interested in Josie’s story. We hear about WWII in various places throughout the world but this was the first time I’ve read a story about Morocco during the second world war. Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What a joy! Treat yourself to The storyteller of Casablanca and let Fiona Valpy wit, poignancy, and insight take you away' A real treat! Let this book take you away to another land for a few hours of pure delight.
Another first for me in a book by Fiona Valpy. I've read a great deal about the diaspora of Jews and refugees in WW2 but nothing about Morocco. The setting is a perfect place for the story to take place. The dual narrative switches between 1941-1943 and 2010. In 2010, Zoe and her family have come to Casablanca with her husband's work, in hopes of a fresh start after some unrevealed trauma in the past. This is contrasted with 13 year old French refugee Josie's diary of life in Casablanca after her family escapes from Paris, waiting to get to America. Both stories were interesting and kept me intrigued as to what fate awaited their respective characters. I had an idea the twist at the end was coming but it did take me by surprise and brought together the threads of the narrative, explaining the ideas dangled in front of us but never explained. I really enjoyed the author's descriptions of Morocco and the way she highlights the ongoing global refugee crisis. I would definitely recommend this book and am very grateful to the publishers and Netgalley for an early release copy.
I got bored reading the diary of a 12 year old, after all I’m an adult who needs to be entertained by my reading. This felt more like a YA book. Not for me.
Excellent book! I love all of this author’s books. Fabulous storyline and educational at the same time.
Zoe and her husband move to Casablanca to try to put right their troubled marriage. At the house they move to Zoe uncovers a diary from 1941 written by a 12 year old Jewish/Catholic girl - Josie. Her family have fled Paris as the Nazis rolled in and she tells of their struggle to obtain papers to reach America and safety whilst living under the threat of Nazi invasion and arrest in Morocco. Friendships form with a Moroccan girl and a refugee Jewish boy who lives in much poorer circumstances whilst Josie’s father becomes involved in the local resistance. The modern day parallel sees Zoe becoming involved in a charity which supports women and children who have escaped torture and struggle in other African countries and we see how their support for each other is a healing force for Zoe. Set against a Moroccan backdrop, which is a more unusual perspective for WW2 drama. If I have any criticism, it is that Josie’s diary is a little simplistic in style, but that is necessarily so given her age. I found myself, surprisingly to me, caught up more in Josie’s story and was keen to read the chapters of her life. Very readable book, which draws you in, as tension builds in respect of what will happen to the Second World War family and whether Zoe’s marriage can survive the unspoken issues which have caused its breakdown. Definitely a good read and, as it developed, more and more difficult to put down.
The storyteller of Casablanca is a story with two narratives, one in the 1940s and one in 2010. Both are a fascinating look into like in Morocco during tumultuous times. Josie is a 12 year old refugee from Nazi occupied France who has arrived in Casablanca on her way to America. Her story is shared through diary entries of her time in Morocco as her family waits for their visas to travel to America. For a 12 year old, she is remarkably observant, brave and compassionate. She does, helpfully, describe herself as precocious from the outset, which is perhaps to help the reader get used to her remarkably mature voice. Her chapters were the most interesting as she explored her new city and country. However, at one point the modern reader, Zoe, does describe the fear she feels for Josie and that she is getting from Josie herself, but up to that moment, I had not really noticed it. In 2010, Zoe has also just arrived in Casablanca and is living in the house Josie once did. It is clear that something is going on with Zoe but it is purposefully kept from the reader. While I understand why, it didn’t make Zoe’s reading too compelling. Usually with these types of characters there’s some drive to learn more about the past character because they’re connected, the modern one is a historian, journalist and so on. However, in Zoe’s case, she’s just reading the diary out of curiosity. When she does choose to do research it is incorporated into the story a little awkwardly. You suddenly have the sense of Zoe breaking the 4th wall and speaking to you directly. Of the two characters, Zoe is less interesting and I probably would have been happy just to read Josie’s story. One big plus point of the book is the devotion to detail about Morocco, today and during the war. I know very little about the North African front during WWII and have yet to visit Morocco so I deeply enjoyed learning about these things through our characters eyes.
Review – The Storyteller of Casablanca by Fiona Valpy Zoe and her new baby daughter, finds herself in Casablanca after her husband’s transfer. She has difficulties settling in the new city, finding new friends, and her anxiety nearly stifles her. Zoe notices a loose board in the floor of the baby’s room. Under the boards Zoe finds an old diary and a wooden box. She begins reading the diary. Josie, a twelve year old girl, flees Paris with her family for Casablanca in 1941. The war is reaching for the family as they are awaiting passage on a ship to America. Several fascinating characters come into each life. Such descriptive and enjoyable adventures and new experiences await both protagonists. As the story weaves, it brings both females awareness of their desires to belong in the captivating city while learning about themselves in the process. I was thoroughly engaged in this enthralling story.
This is a beautifully descriptive book. Makes me want to visit Morocco. My favourite genre of WWII historical fiction. This books has dual timelines in 1940's and 2010's Casablanca. Zoe moves to Casablanca for her husband's work and finds a box with a young girl, Josie's, diary and keepsakes under the floorboard of the house she moves in. Two storylines interweave as we learn of Josie's family's time in Casablanca and Zoe's struggles in her marriage. This novel contains a number of themes including Jewish refugees trying to get to America, French Resistance in Morocco, dreamseller/storyteller traditions in Africa, the use of quilts in the Underground Railroad, loss and bereavement, and the current global refugee crisis. Beautifully written! "Papa says kindness is one of the most important things in the world but a lot of people seem to have forgotten that nowadays."
Yet another dual timeline book! I did enjoy this book and thank NetGalley for the advance copy. I found the beginning of this book to be formulaic....someone finds a hidden journal and becomes enmeshed in their story. I did like how we never know what Zoe's problems are until the conclusion of the book. I found some of the events very predictable, but it was a decent read.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is a gripping story of unimaginable loss and how one pushes forward when hopelessness lingers. Casablanca is where we meet Josie in 1941 and Zoe in 2010, two stories interwoven as told through Josie's diary that Zoe discovers in her new home. Josie and her family escape from Paris and settle in Casablanca before moving on to America. Zoe and her husband move to Casablanca to give their marriage a second chance. Both women find the city and its vibrant personalities attractive and spare no time making the most of their days. The colorful descriptions of the sights, sounds and food were so life-like, I could imagine myself walking along the cobblestones of Casablanca! There were several aspects of the story that I thoroughly enjoyed - the tales told by the dreamseller, the way a band of misfits form in pursuit of resistance, learning the tradition of quilting as a means to record culture and history, family grief and loss and how those closest to you will nurture you to your new normal. Ultimately, this shows how the power of storytelling - those you learn and those you speak - will set you free.
I have always enjoyed Fiona Valpy’s books but this book is her best one so far..It transports to wartime Casablanca and then to modern times. The 2 main characters are a joy to learn about and leave you cheering them on. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.
This is a beautiful story which had me absolutely hooked! Whilst reading this I felt as though I was right there in Casablanca drinking the mint tea and eating all the gorgeous food alongside Josie and Zoe. I liked how the author used two time frames and changed the characters point of views between chapters. The story was easy to follow and there is also a twist at the end which was a massive surprise! 5 stars to this beautiful book and I will definitely be reading more from this author
This is a beautifully written story. The book has a dual timeline plot. Two storylines intertwined between the two main characters. This novel contains various themes and is beautifully written!
An intense, “hold your attention,” read, emotional and historical. This is really two simultaneously told stories of two very different kinds of refugees. The contemporary story is of Zoe (2010) who moves to Morocco with her husband and daughter Grace, discovers a hidden box and journal of Josie (1941) in the floor boards of her house. Josie’s story unfolds from Zoe’s reading of the hidden journal. Escaped from Paris, she and her family are waiting for papers to secure passage to Portugal and then to the US. Nazi involvement, friends with locals creates a story from the past of desperate times as a Jewish refugee. Zoe’s refugee story is how she hides from a secret. She connects with a group that is taking care of women and children and through the story-telling of quilts and other images recovers her marriage, her life and, one hopes, happiness. Why is the wooden box still hidden in the floor if Josie is safe? Why is Zoe’s so incredibly unhappy? The unfolding of these tales is timed well, keeps the reader intrigued and connected to both women, and inspires the reader to search their own life for hidden truths and secrets. Well worth reading.
Brilliant, thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had twists and turns in it which kept you interested until the final pages. I didn't see the Zoe storyline coming although in hindsight it made sense. The African campaign war history is something I knew very little about and reading this book has impelled me to find out more. I found it well written and the characters all likeable. I enjoy books which switch between the then and now as this one did. I would certainly recommend to others and look for more from this author.
I enjoyed this book, it was well written, with well developed characters and the setting was described amazingly. However, I did find it slow paced and not necessarily what I would call a page turner but still enjoyable nonetheless.
4.5 stars rounded up. When Zoe’s husband Tom gets a five year posting to Casablanca she views this as a fresh start for their strained and distant relationship. She makes a chance find beneath the floorboards of their accommodation of a little box and a leather bound notebook that belongs to twelve year old Josiane Duval. Josie’s journal from 1941 reveals that she is French, the family are Jewish and are in Casablanca awaiting the paperwork to take a ship to Portugal and onwards to the USA. The story is told in alternate timelines which works extremely well as both their lives weave and interconnect in surprising ways. This is another lovely, engaging and well written novel which is based on some actual events. There are many superbly visual descriptions of Casablanca, you feel the heat, hear the sounds, the smells and can almost taste the delicious food. You feel as if you have had a tour not just of Casablanca but also of Morocco. The journal gives insight into the war, the encroaching dangers for Josie’s family and you get a sense of foreboding for the Duval family. The historical context of the war is very well done and we even get appearances by Josephine Baker which is used so effectively in the evolving storyline. The book contains some fascinating insights into the importance of storytelling in Moroccan culture and the author cleverly uses quilting too, merging this well into the plot line. Josie is a fantastic character, she’s clever, perceptive, incredibly brave and she can think on her feet. I love her obsession with Dorothy L. Sayers and in the modern storyline the inclusion of stories like Scheherazade. The story is brought sharply up to date with the inclusion of the migrant crisis in North Africa and people there wait to make an often perilous journey to Europe. This is a soaring emotional tale which has a multitude of elements to it and keeps you transfixed. I did foresee the twist at the end but that’s doesn’t in any way spoil the enjoyment. Overall, another winner for me from Fiona Valpy. It’s an enthralling read which demonstrates beautifully the power of storytelling on several levels. With thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
While I’m generally not a historical fiction fan, especially around the WWII time, I do love a good expat story. That’s what drew me to the book and I’m glad I and the chance to read it. Morocco has been on my list of places to visit for quite some time and I really enjoyed the glimpse into like in Casablanca. The character of Zoe grew on me throughout the book and by the end, I really adored her. I also enjoyed the mystery part of the story.
Rating: 2.3/5 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. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for supplying an ARC in return for an honest review.
Absolutely loved loved loved this book, the characters were lovely and I loved the description of Casablanca it made me feel as if I was there with them, loved the fact the book was written as a duel timeline so we got Zoe's and Josie's stories side by side, highly recommend this book and would rate higher if I could BRILLIANT!
As an avid reader and someone who gravitates towards novels set during the WW2 period, I often find myself reading the same premise repeatedly. Someone from the present finds a diary/journal that belonged to someone in the past, and then we go about learning what happened to that person. After a while, it feels like creativity and novelty are lost. I loved The Storyteller of Casablanca because it took us on a different discovery and journey of the WW2 period. This time we were able to enjoy a new setting in Morocco and, with it, a different perspective of what was taking place outside of the walls that were crumbling under the Nazi occupation. We did have a present-day character, Zoe, who we come to learn about and get involved in her heartaches, the adaptation of a new life in a new country, motherhood, and eventually her fascination when it comes to learning about Josie, a young girl who escaped the Nazi's in France with her family. As I said, the setting alone and seeing Morocco through the eyes of the past and present was a nice, new touch to an often-told story. However, I also came to like Josie immensely. I wanted to know as much as I could about Josie, and I was also curious about what led Zoe to this place in her life, both physically and metaphorically. I couldn't put the book down until I got to the bottom of it all! I was not disappointed. Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the eARC. Zoe, a young wife and mother moves to Casablanca in the 2010's when her husband is offered a job there. Their relationship is is troublesome and she's alone a lot, but finds friends among the expat community. One day she finds a journal in her daughter's room, written by a 13-year old Jewish girl during WWII, who, along with her parents, had fled the Nazis and moved to Casablanca waiting to leave for the States. The poignant plight of the Jewish people during WWII is thoughtfully written about and described and Casablanca is depicted in such a way that I wanted to pack a suitcase! The ending was a surprise and I can honestly recommend this book highly, it's a beautiful read.
A long but powerful story of life as a refugee in the 1940's and in 2010. The story flowed so well, the characters were all strong and important to the story. Fiona's story was a mixture of fact and fiction. It made me want to research more about Josephine Baker and Casablanca during WW2. I loved that different religions and cultures were carefully woven into the story as well as the history of quilts.
Sometimes books begin slowly and you patiently continue reading hoping they will take off. This one began with enough transporting beauty of prose that its slow unfold inspired me to enjoy the ride. Because it is a journey through time spanning the 1941 early war period of 13 year old Josie's life through 2010 with Zoe's life being tangently revealed bit by bit. Fiona Valpy has written it with such descriptive imagery that it does indeed morph into an exquisite, exotic blossom gradually opening and emitting the the fragrant and visual essence that is early and modern day Casablanca and Morocco. This is my kind of book, well-crafted literary fiction where the characters are finely honed with Josie's diary drawing you into what feels like a very intimate friendship with her. And Zoe, who is reading Josie's diary is relating her own tale in first person point of view which, to me is one of the high points of the story. Because it becomes clear that she is one of the storytellers of Casablanca. As Josie begins to mature she becomes easily engaging and relatable. Her humor is endearing. It is her humor, even in the midst of such a tragic period of history, that carries Zoe's angst-filled struggle along. Many of the characters are admirable, good, kind, caring and compassionate, making you want to root for them all. Loved that the plot was neither formulaic or predictable. Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK for allowing me to read "The Storyteller of Casablanca" in exchange for my honest review.
With thanks to netgalley and fiona valpy for an arc in return for an honest opinion. Having read most of this authors other works I was delighted to get an early copy and what a fantastic book from start to finish she just never disappoints I can highly recommend this outstandingly fabulous book.
Really lovely book. I have read and enjoyed Fiona Valpy before and she really brings you into the setting of her stories. This story moves between two main characters and I loved at the end when it all came together. Enjoyable and captivating.
Wonderfully detailed book. The descriptions were great, they made me feel like I was actually there seeing it all. Also made me want to visit! I don't recall reading another dual timeline book. I often try to avoid those because they can be confusing and hard to follow. This wasn't one of those. It was easy to follow. I highly recommend it,
Fiona Valpy does a beautiful job of evoking the atmosphere of life in Morocco, both in the modern setting (in 2010 from Zoe's perspective), but more especially in the wartime period (in 1941 from Josie's perspective). I've always loved dual-time-lined books, but only when both the point of view of the two characters are equally interesting. And unfortunately, I found myself liking Josie's parts better and Zoe's ones slower. But overall it was a good book. Thank you to Netgalley for this arc ebook in exchange for an honest review.
As a lover of WWII era historical fiction books, I was intrigued to read a story about Casablanca and its role in the war. Reading through Josie’s story, I was enthralled with with how a wealthy young girl managed during the war. Her insight into life at that time was enjoyable and page-turning. I did not enjoy Zoe’s storyline as much. Without knowing her backstory until the end, I felt Zoe lacked depth and came across as odd throughout her narration. Even once we find out the cause of her turmoil and marriage problems, I still felt that the ending was too odd. I feel as though the book would have stood well on its own without her storyline in it. Thank you to NetGalley for the early preview of this book.
This was a good book told in dual timelines. I wasn’t too familiar with any history involving Casablanca during WW2. This book was full of rich details of the city in both timelines. I was surprised by the ending. Definitely recommend! Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy
Fiona Valpyis a born storyteller. Her novel The Storyteller of Casablanca is a beautifully written story which weaves together two periods in time using the same house as the backdrop. 2010 sees Zoe newly arrived with husband Tom in Casablanca where she uncovers an intricately ornate sandalwood box and a diary under the floorboards. The diary contents reveal the life of Josie, a 14 year old refugee arriving in Casablanca in 1941 to escape the advancements of the Nazi regime. Zoe's life is somehow troubled and her struggles to cope with anxiety is fuelled by raging dermatitis on her hands and arms and she escapes to the rooftop bedroom of her daughter to devour the diary of Josie. Valpy writes as Josie in such a way that you fall under the spell of feeling you are actually reading a real diary and getting to know the life of Josie. The artifacts held in the box are slowly revealed in the diary extracts and a courageous under cover resistance story unfolds. There are warm and memorable elements as you get to know the characters and several events that will leave you moved to tears. I would highly recommend this writer. This story and the memory of it's characters will remain with me long after completing the reading. Thank you so much to Fiona Valpy, the publisher and Net galley UK for the opportunity to read this superb story.
I have read a few of Fiona Valpys books and this one is as good as her others. My book group is also very fond of her as well and we enjoy discussing them. I've never been to Morocco, but Fiona certainly brings the area alive with her description of Casablanca. It is written in a dual time line. The main main character is Zoe, with her husband Tom and their baby daughter Grace.. Her husband Tom has been transferred with his job to the city. Zoe is spending her days settling in to their new home and getting to know the ex pat community. Zoe is lonely and spends many hours on her own while Tom works late. While in her daughter’s bedroom, she finds a loose floorboard and underneath is a little box with a few trinkets and a diary. The diary is of a young girl of 13 called Josie written during the second world war. Josie and her family had left Paris to go to America to escape the Nazis in France. Their time in Casablanca was to be a stop-over, just for a short while until their papers for the United States came through. Zoe begins reading the diary and soon finds herself intrigued by the young author of the diary and wondering what became of them. She starts doing a little bit of research of her own. The story starts quite slowly, but once I got into it I found it very interesting . There was the hint throughout the book that something wasn’t right in Zoe and Tom’s marriage and you need to keep reading to understand what happened to them to be uneasy with each other. I enjoyed the two timelines in the novel. I equally liked the two main characters especially Josies experience as a young teenager during WW 2 when the Nazi s came and how her family coped with it.
I loved The Storyteller of Casablanca by Fiona Valpy. It is a beautifully woven story that occurs in Morocco and alternates between 1941 and 2010. Zoe, who has moved to Morocco as an expat in 2010, struggles to adapt to her new life in a different country and finds a journal started in 1941 by Josie, a 12-year old French girl whose family had escaped Paris and lived in the same house in Morocco while awaiting their papers to travel to America. This is a rich, beautiful story that poignantly describes the challenges facing the refugees in 1941 as well as 2010. Thank you to the author, Lake Union publishing, and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.
I loved the dressmakers gift so was really excited to read this book by Fiona Valpy. The story is set in the wonderful Casablanca where Tom has a new job so Tom and Zoe move. To this magical place in the hope of rekindling thier love. Zoe finds a notebook written by Josie a young girl from 1941..The historical parts of the war are authentic and well written and the character of Josie is warm and engaging. I love Fiona’s writing and it’s another winner !
I was initially attracted by the title and setting of the story, Casablanca. It is told in two timescales. It starts with modern-day Zoe who is starting a new life as an expat along with her husband and baby. Her marriage is at breaking point and both hope this is a new start for them, however its clear that both are struggling to move past what is overshadowing them from England. She discovers a wooden box, hidden in her baby daughter's room, containing a journal and other trinkets. The story then flicks between Josie's memoirs of Casablanca and Morocco in World War Two. I found the whole story fascinating. The historical aspects of the tale were incredibly well researched and an area of world war history that I did not know about. I feel that I've learnt a lot. The tale of Josie, her family and those of her friends was sensitively written. Valpy's rich descriptions of Morocco, both past and present, really brought it to life in my mind. There is a nice link between Josie and her family being refugees in 1941 to Zoe helping out at a refugee shelter in 2010. The representation of the refugee crisis and how Zoe finds a way to empower the women and children there was especially well-written and thought-provoking. The twists at the end of the book in particular were heart-breaking and I spent the last few chapters in tears, the story was so moving. However, there is hope mixed with grief and this is a wonderful thing to take away from it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be looking out for more Fiona Valpy books in the future. **Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read an advanced e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own **
The Storyteller of Casablanca tells two intertwining narratives of two women who lived in the same house decades apart. Josie is a teenager whose family has moved to Casablanca, Morocco to escape the Germans while Zoe is escaping her own traumatic past with a husband who has become a stranger. Zoe discovers Josie's journal in the floorboards of her house and follows Josie's story as she adjusts to life as a refugee in Morocco. Overall, I enjoyed this story, but I thought it was too long and that the storylines didn't pick up until about a third of the way through the book. I'm not a huge fan of the two-storyline books, and while this book did a great job at weaving them together, the separate plot lines didn't really start until later in each story. I did love the research done into Moroccan history and culture and hearing about the lives of the different refugee communities--that was so interesting and well done. I just didn't find the plots themselves all that intriguing. Of the two main plot twists (Zoe's and then the main one), only one was a big surprise, although I did love it. This book could have been better if it was shorter and the plots were stronger and started earlier, but still a good read!
Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishers for the advance copy of this book to read and review. I have read several of Fiona Valpy’s other books set in France in WW2. and was excited to read this new one. The Storyteller of Casablanca tells a story of Josie, a 13 year old half Jewish refugee from France in 1941 and Zoe, a British expat in 2010. Zoe discovers a journal and wooden box under a loose floorboard in a room of her house in Casablanca. As she reads the story left behind by Josie, she discovers an old story of Josie’s family waiting to get their papers to travel to America during the war. Zoe becomes involved in an expat community but also starts volunteering at a refugee centre for women and children. The melting pot of culture in 1940 is not dissimilar to 2010. There is an undercurrent of tension and sadness in both stories that only comes together right towards the end of the book. The slow unveiling is worth it though. The city is beautifully described in both women’s words.
Summary: Zoe is adjusting to being an English expat in Casablanca. Her husband has sunk himself into his new job in the city while Zoe tries to fit in with the other work wives and care for her daughter Grace. Between monitoring her husband’s drinking, coping with the trauma of an incident that caused them to leave England for Casablanca, and compulsively washing her hands until her skin cracks and bleeds, Zoe is a woman who is lost in so many ways. Then one day while fixing a loose floorboard in her daughter’s room, she discovers a box filled with trinkets and a journal written by a young French refugee girl who lived in the house during World War II and the Nazi occupation of the city. First off, with all of the different WWII books that are available, it was a nice change of pace to read a story that didn’t take place in England or France. This is a location that doesn’t get very much attention, so it is a refreshing perspective to WWII. I also loved the story within a story that Josie’s diary brought and how invested I ended up becoming. This whole story is one of coping with pain and loss from a wide variety of sources. From Zoe's trauma to Josie's life being upended and the refugee women and children fleeing with only themselves, there is so much real life trauma that is addressed. However, it is meant to also be a story of healing, as all of these characters are given some way to regain their dignity and begin to find peace. On a personal note, this book was very meaningful to me. I found so much to connect with. Zoe’s pain, her ability to stand up to privileged women who saw refugees as slackers leeching off the resources they have no right to, and her desire to find some small way to help. All of this resonated with me as I also ask myself what I can do to make the world better, and is it enough? I believe that there are also other people who would enjoy the hope that this beautiful story provides. Lastly, the author provides resources for organizations that help both refugees and people grieving a loss of a loved one. With such hard-hitting topics, I appreciated the author didn’t simply leave readers to deal with their feelings on the subjects.
The Storyteller of Casablanca by Fiona Valpy sucked me in from the very first page. The dual timeline was so well done, and felt very different (in a great way) than other WWII novels I've read. Thorough enjoyed this book & highly recommend!
What a read! A well researched text that made me want to watch Casablanca the classic movie again. Morocco, 1941. With France having fallen to Nazi occupation, twelve-year-old Josie has fled with her family to Casablanca, An intertwining link with the modern day brings this story alive and provides hope not just for wartime but all life's challenges. Such a moving story. Will definately read more novels by this author. **Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read an advanced e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own **
I thoroughly enjoyed this book based Moroccan history. The dual timeline including some actual facts had me gripped. Connecting present day and World War 2, the well developed characters and beautiful descriptions transported me to another time and place. I enjoyed every minute of this book and was surprised by the emotional twists and turns. This was a first read by Fiona Valpy, but definitely won’t be my last. Thank you to the publisher and #Net Galley for the e-copy of this book in exchange for a review.
4 solid stars. Reading a good historical fiction novel is the next best thing to time travel and this title is just that. It felt like I was transported to 1940s Morocco and I didn’t even mind the dual timelines that many books seem to be defaulting to these days.
Five star rating! I’ve loved Fiona Valpy’s previous works e.g. Dressmakers gift, Beekeepers Daughter, Sea of Memories. I’ve absolutely loved her style of writing, historical settings and how easily she can draw you into the storyline. The Storyteller of Casablanca is no different, set in the beautiful Moroccan city of the same name, during the Second World War. I thoroughly enjoyed every page! I loved finding out about an aspect of the war that isn’t as often shown as other locations. I am an avid historical fiction fan, and I always look forward to reading what Fiona Valpy creates next. I would highly recommend both The Storyteller of Casablanca and the author herself . Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to enjoy this book.
3.5-4 stars. I love WWII historical fiction and I’m always excited to read something with a different perspective. Set in Morocco, the story was different a “fresh” take on a time in history I’ve read a lot. I absolutely loved Josie’s story and I could have read all about her and her family and left out Zoe’s story easily. Zoe was harder to connect to- I had figured out the big “surprise” fairly early on and I found myself almost… annoyed that it was leading down the path for the big plot twist. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc.
Interesting look at life in Casablanca and Morocco during WW2. *I loved Josie’s story and the tale of her family seeking refuge after leaving German occupied France. Her friends in Casablanca were wonderful and the setting was fascinating. The whole book could have been about Josie’s story. *Zoe’s story is poignant but dull. Her struggle is real and sad, but it took a long time to care about her. In the end, she healed and grew by helping others. Advanced reader copy courtesy of the publishers at NetGalley for review.
The Storyteller of Casablanca is a heartwarming story of two women connected by a journal who lived in the same house 70 years apart . The story is told from dual timelines that are woven together seamlessly. Zoe's husband gets transferred to Casablanca for work and this is a chance at a fresh start for them and their little girl, Grace. By chance, Zoe discovers a box hidden beneath the floorboards in the attic that contains a journal from a young girl named Josie, who lived in the house in the early 1940s while waiting for the chance to board a ship to America with her family during WWII. Josie's journal takes us through her life in Casablanca during that time and through this journey, helps Zoe to come to terms with her life and the hardships she was facing and find a path forward. The characters felt very realistic and you have to just fall in love with Josie and her beautiful approach to life. I also didn't know anything about Casablanca during WWII so I liked this unique viewpoint, especially the vibrant descriptions of Casablanca both in the 1940's and the 2010 timeline. Thank you #NetGalley, Fiona Valpy, and Amazon Publishing UK for the eARC of #TheStorytellerof Casablanca in exchange for an honest review.
This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The author places you in the story with Zoe and Josie with her symphony of words. I smiled, laughed, and cried as these two ladies, separated in their stories by over 60 years, revealed their truths and found where they belonged.
I have never had a thought about the African side of the Second War. I know the European part the best - maybe because I live here so this history affects me somehow and creates the world and the division that I know. But Africa? Of course, I remember from school that something was going on there but I have to admit (believe me, I'm truly ashamed) that I have never heard anything about Casablanca in that part of the time. A city such beautiful. Known from the movies, books. Full of energy, color, vibrating. For those looking for freedom. But Casablanca has the second face. Face full of the immigrants' tragedy - then and even now. And it is easy to forget about it walking in the alley with the designer shops and living the best life. Casablanca is something more than another breathtaking place by the Ocean. The book is not simple - dual timeline and the life of Josie and Zoe is full of difficult situations, even awakening, let's say. The first part of their stories seems to be a little bit naive - they see only want they want to see. They didn't realize how the world looks like outside their perfect bubble. The wake-up call is like a cold shower. Painful. The second part of the book is much better. There is an action, hard decision that often leaves them with a broken heart. I have very mixed feelings. I appreciate the story - the plot, twist, the idea, and the description of a hard time and everyday struggle. But on the other side - it was hard to get into this book. I just don't felt it at the beginning. That was the main reason that it takes me so long to finish it. Anyway, I'm going to read other books by Fiona Valpy. I like her point of view, unusual topic and it could be worth to get to know other her stories.
This is a really great well researched and well written story set in Casablanca. The parallel timelines track similar events as refugees flock to the city. During WW2 Casa was a stopover for escapees from France, some but not all, of them Jews trying to reach the UK or America. In modern times the refugees are fleeing war-torn countries in other parts of Africa and the near East en-route to Europe. The first main protagonist is Josie, a French part Jewish girl whose family have fled Paris and are now hoping to reach America before their money runs out. Secondly there is Zoe, a troubled wife and mother who is struggling with her marriage and hoping for a new start when her husband is posted to Casa. The story uncovers the impact of Josie's history on Zoe (via a hidden journal) and secrets kept by both women. Highly recommended. Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for the opportunity to review this book.
I enjoyed that the narrative was split between timelines. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, particularly as this is not a book I would instinctively gravitate towards at a bookstore. However, I'm glad I did and I feel like I learnt a lot about the culture of north africa too
Well I loved this, it could not have been more up my street. Present day chapters, Zoe was all about the crafting (patchwork) and finding out about Josie, chapters about the past, Josie was in the midst of one of the most difficult times in history. I really liked how the chapters were laid out flitting between present day and going back in time through Josie's journals. I can feel the excitement and anticipation that Zoe has reading Josie's journal and I just wanted to know what happened to her and her family and friends all the way through. I found that I was getting quite emotional in parts because of the things Josie went through but also knowing that this will have happened in some ways to people during that time makes it even more heart breaking. I felt as Zoe did that she was friends with Josie through reading her words. I felt the same with them both when reading this book. Casablanca sounds like such an amazing place it made me want to visit. This book is a mix of heartache and joy and both women have been through so much in their own time periods. When Zoe explains her loss and what she'd been through I got very emptional and I felt sorry for her, no wonder she could relate so much to Josie's Journal. Brilliant book with some great surprises along the way and it was really interesting finding out about both women had been through their own heartache and they seem so similar.
Absolutely loved this book! Fiona Valpy just gets better. Perfectly captured Morocco through the eyes of a European woman. Kept me reading far later than I should have
I loved the descriptions of Casablanca, but the story was a bit predictable and somewhat far-fetched. I never really believed that the journal was written by a 13/14-year-old girl. She should have made her more like 16/17 instead. I had guessed there was something up with Zoe, but not until near the end did I figure it out.
This is a deeply touching story about a deeply saddened woman connecting through a journal sixty years old of a young girl in WWII Casablanca. The stories in the journal are at times joyous and at others scary from incidents occurring. The woman lives in a relationship in which she and her husband have drifted far apart and is exceedingly lonely for both. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A beautiful novel which captures the atmosphere of Second World War Casablanca with the heartbreak of a new mum in present day. When a move to Casablanca billed as a new start, makes Zoe even more unhappy she takes solace in spending time in the nursery hand sewing a quilt. It is there she finds a diary under the floorboards which details how Josie and her family fled the Nazi invasion and were waiting on transport to the USA during WW2. When the diary ends abruptly Zoe endeavours to find out what happened. With a couple of twists I didn’t see coming this was a perfect story that had me turning page after page - sad and sweet in equal measures, perfect.
An engaging and well written dual timeline story full of beautiful descriptions and vivid settings. I enjoyed this beautiful tale of loss, hope and resilience of the human spirit. Five stars from me!
Josie Duval is a twelve year old Jewish girl living in Casablanca in 1941, Zoe Harris is staying in the same house in 2010 and their story has a dual timeline. The two main characters are bound together when Zoe finds Josie’s diary, a trinket box, keepsakes, under the floor boards in one of the bedrooms and where they have been hidden for over seventy years. Guillaume, Delphine, Annette and Josie, flee France when the German’s invade Paris, they eventually arrive in Casablanca, and here they hope to get visas, pass the medical checks and immigrate to America. Josie’s loves Casablanca, it’s warm climate, sights, culture, food, people, visiting the library and spending time with her new friend Nina. The whole process is slow and tedious waiting for a boat to take them to safety, the war is getting closer to Morocco, the Duval's money is running out, German soldiers arrive and the families scared. Zoe and Tom Harris move to Casablanca for a fresh start, their marriage is struggling, other British expats live nearby and the wives make Zoe feel welcome. However, Zoe becomes captivated by Josie’s story, she wants to discover what happened to the Duval’s and did they make it to America? Zoe and Josie both meet interesting people while living in Casablanca, they both like to help others and feel a deep connection to the place. The story is tied together by themes of hope, friendship, grief, and the importance of storytelling in Moroccan culture and it's deep history. The Storyteller of Casablanca will have you captivated from the very first page, a beautifully written story, I loved the main characters, Fiona Valpy weaves her magic once again, and what an emotional and unexpected ending. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, if you enjoyed the Beekeeper’s Promise and I can guarantee you will enjoy reading The Storyteller of Casablanca and five stars from me.
Overall I really enjoyed this story! I love dual timeline historical fiction! It was predictable but I still enjoyed it ! It made me want to travel to Morocco so bad !! Thank you netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this in exchange for honest review !
Beautiful story from WW 2! I loved having a peek at Casa in the war as well as present times! The dual timelines are my favourite and a slice of history, a double whammy. Zoe Harris and Josie Duval have more in common than the house they live in, in their respective times, expats to an extent, introverts and having the same OCD uncannily... As Zoe discovers Josie's treasures in her attic, she embarks on a journey to self discovery along with getting to know the teen who lived through the tough years of war, destruction and picking the pieces. I loved the tale and the treatment both!
I’m a historical fiction junkie and I’ve read a lot of stories about WWII, but Fiona Valpy's novel, The Storyteller of Casablanca, is set in French occupied Morocco so I was very intrigued in this new setting. As is common in many historical fiction novels, this one has 2 parallel storylines: one following 12 year old Josie in 1941 and one following 20-something year old Zoe in 2010. Both are set in Casablanca. Josie’s family leaves their home in France to wait in French occupied Morocco until they can get visas to enter America just as the Germans took over France. She keeps a diary of her day to day events of what was supposed to be a temporary stay in Casablanca. Her family is wealthy and privilege keeps her from experiencing many hardships. But as the war progresses and their visas are delayed , she discovers her father is involved in the resistance and Josie finds way to help her beloved Papa. Meanwhile, In 2010, Zoe is trying to find her place with other expats in Casablanca as she deals with her personal grief and her crumbling marriage. She discovers Josie’s diary in her new home and finds solace in Josie’s world. Eventually both storylines collide for a predictable but satisfying ending. I really enjoyed Josie’s story. Zoe’s story was ok until the end as her situation became clearer. While so many suffered during the war, young Josie was well aware of how insulated she was from much of it due to her family’s wealth. It was a unique perspective and contributed to the lighter feeling of this war-based novel. Thank you to @netgalley for this advanced e-copy of the novel. This novel will be released in September 2021. This review can be found on IG @maria.needs.to.read and on Goodreads.
Generally, I love Fiona Valpy’s novels, but this one was a little hard for me to get into. Per the usual, I fell right into the past part of the dual timeline—in this case a little girl named Josie who has fled France with her family for Casablanca hopefully en route to the United States to escape German persecution. With Fiona’s mother being Jewish, her family quickly saw the signs of more trouble to come and fled before being rounded up into a ghetto. The contemporary timeline follows Zoe a recent expat with her family to Casablanca, who clearly has mysophobia and is constantly washing her hands. What is causing her extreme anxiety is the real question. She does try to fit in with the wives of her husband’s associates in their tight-knit expat community, but finds better company in the form of a journal she finds beneath the floorboard of her home—Josie’s journal. Overall, the book was an interesting read. Josie’s maturity was a little hard to believe at times as my daughter is her age, and I think the story might have been more believable from her older sister’s perspective. I really struggled to connect to Zoe as a character. She fell somewhat flat for me. As with most books, the second half read significantly faster than the first. I did enjoy reading about WWII from the continent of Africa, which was a first for me. Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the advanced copy for an honest review.
What a beautiful book. I want to go to Casablanca discover The sights and sounds. The sadness that prevails however is grounding and makes one realize that not all is at it seems. This book is an adventure an exciting emotional wonderful book.
This was such an immersive and wonderful story. The differing POV really helped to tell the story, with the writing becoming more mature as the story grew with the characters. I loved seeing the comparison of the city from two separate people, under completely different circumstances. Loved it!
I have mixed feelings about this book. It is a good overall, but the story for both Josie and Zoe was slow to get going. I loved how they linked up, as well as the two twists at the end. I did not guess the reason for Zoe's anxiety. I found her hard to warm to, although when you learn her story at the end of the book, you understand her more. I felt frustrated the way she wouldn't talk to her husband, but again, understood why. I do wonder whether this information should have been shared earlier, so the reader could empathise more with Zoe. Both plotlines could have been a little shorter. I was more engaged by Josie's story, but sometimes found there was detail I skimmed through. I question also whether a girl of that age would really write in the way Josie does. It was really interesting learning about what happened in Africa during WWII. With thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Josie Duval is a twelve year old Jewish girl living in Casablanca in 1941, Zoe Harris is staying in the same house in 2010 and their story has a dual timeline. The two main characters are bound together when Zoe finds Josie’s diary, a trinket box, keepsakes, under the floor boards in one of the bedrooms and where they have been hidden for over seventy years. Therein lies the story. As Fiona Valpy is one of my favorite authors, I enjoyed this book immensely. There is something to learn of Moroccan culture and its history. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.
Another breathtakingly beautiful novel from the talented Fiona Valpy. The way she weaves timelines and characters together is a true skill. The prose is suburb. I could feel the sun on my face and feel the hope and despair of the characters.
The Storyteller of Casablanca provided a different take on the WW2 historical. I knew very little about Morocco and the North African campaign, so I found this boom eye opening. Valpy does a good job of weaving the duel timelines together. I admit I was surprised when they suddenly intersected. I confess I found the ending to both storylines rushed which diminished their emotional impact. Valpy chose to tell what happened and as such I felt cheated out of some key confrontational scenes, particularly in the present day story. Still, the book was a nice change of pace from London and Paris, and provided a wonderful travelogue of Morocco. Valpy’s descriptions made the country come to life.
An interesting story from WWII of a Jewish family who flee France to Casablanca when the Nazi’s invade, with the hope of a eventual safe passage to America. Told in the present day by Zoe, who has moved to Casablanca with her husband and finds a journal under the floorboards in their new home. The journal was written by the Jewish family’s daughter Josie, and tells of their time living in the house awaiting a boat to take them to a new life in America. It is well written and based on some real events.
One Book. Two Stories. Both Compelling. This is a story with a LOT going on and a LOT of intricacies that it seems most (at least those on Goodreads so far, about 5 weeks before publication) miss out on touching on. This is effectively *both* a historical fiction (which I think it will ultimately be marketed as) of a young Jewish girl in WWII who leaves a diary behind (where does that ring a bell? 😉 ) *and* a modern day psychological drama. Valpy does a remarkable job of bringing a sensuous and visceral understanding of both periods of Casablanca and Morocco, and both periods and their relevant issues – WWII / Nazis / Resistance / Operation Torch and modern shipping conglomerates / expats / refugees / immigrants – are shown in a degree of realism not often seen. Truly, either story could have been expanded a bit more – perhaps by extending out the later chapters of both – and stood equally well as standalone books. Which is high praise, as few dual timeline historical fiction books can pull this off, in my own reading experience at least. Truly a remarkable book, and very much recommended.
I really enjoyed this novel which entwines two tales set in Casablanca in two different decades. It is the story of Zoe, a British expat who moves to Casablanca in 2010 for a fresh start with her husband. Unhappy in her marriage and struggling to let go of some tragic events, she finds a journal and some mementos that belonged to 12 year old Josie, a French refugee during World War Two. She becomes consumed by Josie’s story and the lust for life that comes out of Josie’s writing is in stark contrast with Zoe, who is losing her grip on reality. A sad, but also heartwarming story, it touches upon the uncertainty of refugee life both in the context of the world war, but also in the times we live in as many people are still forced to flee their homes through war and poverty. Grief and finding a way to move on after loss, are also central to the novel. It’s a quick read and the Moroccan setting is captivating.
The Storyteller of Casablanca is a historical fiction novel with a dual timeline. In 2010 Zoe has moved to Casablanca with her husband because of his job. She finds a diary hidden by 12-year-old Josie in 1941 during the WWII era. Josie's family has fled France and is waiting for paperwork and passage to America. This is the first WWII novel I have read where the setting is in Africa and I found very enjoyable. Thanks to the author Fiona Valpy, Lake Union Publishing, and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for an honest review.
My rating: Plot: 4 out of 5 stars Writing: 4.5 out of 5 stars Character development: 4.5 out of 5 stars Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars Recommended for readers of: Women’s Fiction Historical Fiction Review: This is another story written over a dual time line. The main timeline tells the story of Zoe an expat wife who has recently moved to Casablanca because of her husband’s job. The second timeline tells the story of Josie a Jewish girl who fled to Casablanca during the Second World War with her parents to avoid the Nazi occupation. Overall: The book is beautifully written, set in an exotic location, the scenery is described careful and with great detail. This made it very captivating and vivid. It felt like you were actually there. The characters were complex but interesting. Their actions were explained well, this made them realistic. The plot was written with the right amount of suspense, mystery and intrigue this made the story captivating until the end.
This captivating book switches between the present life of an expat living in Morocco and the life of a refugee family living in Morocco during World War Two. I loved how the author moved between the past and present, exploring the different time periods within the same setting. The characters are beautifully developed, allowing for a strong connection and empathy between the reader and the characters. I highly recommend this book, brilliant just like all of Fiona Valpy's books!
I absolutely love Fiona Valpy's books, they evoke nostalgia, compassion and empathy. She takes you into the heart and soul of all the characters so well you feel that you are there with them rather than just reading about them on the page. In this novel we are among the hot and dusty streets of Casablanca both in 1941 and present day Present day, Zoe is a disillusioned wife who has gone with her husband to Casablanca for a couple of years as he has been based there with his job. However she spends her days lonely, until she discovers a box under the floorboards. In the box is a journal written by Josie in 1941. The book alternates between Zoe and Josie's story. Well worth reading. A definite 5 stars, only sorry I cannot give more Many thanks to Netgalley and Lake House publishers for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review
The Diary I loved the enchantment of Casablanca. and the country of Morocco. The Ocean views, the architecture, the ancient city and the famous history behind it all. Not only was is a great story, it was a wonderful tour of the country as well. Zoe and her husband move to Casablanca to have a fresh start to work on repairing their marriage. Zoe finds it hard to fit in as an ex-pat in a foreign country it is all so different. Then she finds the diary of a young Jewish girl from 1941 under a floorboard. It is the story of Jose, her parents, her sister Annette and her friends Nina and Felix. Written in a diary by a 12 year old it is the story of their flight from Paris and their time in Casablanca while waiting to immigrate to America. The characters are wonderful and both Zoe and Jose are brave and both are sensitive people who care much for those they love. I loved both of the stories and how they interacted with each other beyond the years. It is surprising how much books and stories can affect a person and help them when they have struggles. As it was in 1941 so it was in 2011 helping others helped them. Friends and projects and a feeling of belonging to something worthwhile and important was very healing. The book ends with a twist that you will not see coming. It is a great read, you will love it. I recommend this book. Thanks to Fiona Valpy, Amazon Publishing U.K. and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy of the book for my honest review.
I received this e-ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own. I loved the way Morocco was described! I love travel so I was happy with the descriptions of a place I’ve never been to. I also loved the two storylines, and was completely taken off guard when they crossed! What?! Even though I enjoyed it, the ending felt rushed. And I feel that the story needed more time.
Wow, what a fabulous story. For the past two days I feel as though I have lived in Casablanca, living the life of the characters, so vivid and detailed are the descriptions. I have smiled, I have cried, so emotive is the storyline. I love this authors writing , the attention to detail, the descriptive writing and last but not least the skill in drawing the reader into the heart of the story. Thanks to TBC and the author for giving me the opportunity to read this fabulous book.
I absolutely loved this book. I have been given other books by this author which are currently on my TBR pile but they are now coming to the top. This story covers Zoe and Josie who have lived in the same house in Casablanca but 70 years apart. Their lives are linked by a diary which explains the problems faced by Josie during the second world war as a refugee with a Jewish mother. It also brings Zoe into the modern day world of refugees. Fiona Valpy has an emersive way of story telling, I found her characters fully developed and caring about their lives A must read
This is an incredibly captivating five-star dual timeline historical fiction novel set in the exotic city of Casablanca in 1941 and then seventy years later. Inspired by refugees fleeing Europe during the war years, Valpy explores the challenges they faced and highlights the migrant crisis in North Africa. One timeline focuses on the Duval family as they arrive in Casablanca after fleeing Paris when the Germans invaded. Removed from the war back home, the family settles into life in this exciting city as they await onward passage to America. Valpy makes this vibrant city come alive with such intensity that readers have no difficulty understanding daily life in this intoxicating port city. The second timeline focuses on the Harris family who’ve accepted a five-year posting and recently arrived in Casablanca seeking a fresh start for their struggling marriage. They move into the home previously occupied by the Duvals. Valpy clearly paints a beautiful picture with words enabling readers to instantly immerse themselves in the culture and time frame. The denouement is spectacular as Valpy merges the timelines and takes readers by surprise with a plot twist they won't see coming! At first, I groaned when I realized I was reading an all too familiar ‘discovering a diary in present time and reading about past events,’ scenario, but thankfully Valpy was able to keep me interested with a spectacular plot, enchanting setting, and interesting characters. Unique to this novel is the incorporating of Operation Torch, the expat experience, and the North African Migrant crisis. My only issue was that I felt the 13-year-old Josie sounded far wiser than her years and didn’t seem to have a unique voice. Publishes September 21, 2021 I was generously gifted this advance copy by Fiona Valpy, Amazon Publishing UK, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
This is both a beautifully heartwarming and gut-wrenching story all at the same time. Valpy uses exquisite narrative to describe both setting and place. Each character has to cope with their own devastating loses and they each have to learn how to live despite those loses. Josie loves the escapism that Casablanca provides from the horrors of WWII. Zoe struggles to accept that Casablanca can provide a way forward after a life-altering event. Valpy intertwines the storylines through Josie's hidden diary that Zoe uncovers underneath the floorboards of her home. Readers may find the portions of the book told via the viewpoint of 12 year old Josie a bit unstimulating but one must remember that the character was a child. Portions of Zoe's viewpoint also can be a bit hard to get through but that can be attributed to Valpy's skillful technique in waiting until the last possible moment to unveil Zoe's secret. This book isn't a page turner. It IS one that is to be savored and enjoyed. I received a copy of this title via NetGalley.
Morocco, 1941: With France having fallen to Nazi occupation, twelve year old Josie has fled with her family to Casablanca, where they wait 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 in her daughters bedroom, Zoe enters the inner world of young Josie. This stories dual timeline is set seventy years apart. Set in Casablanca, Zoe's story is set in 2010 and Josie's in 1941. When Zoe finds twelve year old Josie's diary, she becomes preoccupied by her story. The two timelines are interwoven seamlessly as we learn of Zoe's marriage problems and Josie's family. This is a descriptively written story that I was quickly caught up in. The pace is steady with some wonderful characters. I would like to thank #NetGalley #AmazonPublishingUK and the author #FionaValpy for my ARC of #TheStorytellerOfCasablanca in exchange for an honest review.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. I loved the magic of Casablanca as well as the country of Morocco. Everything from the architecture, the views of the ocean along with the city snd it’s history. This book wasn’t just a fabulous story, but also a tour of the wonderful country. Moving to Casablanca to make a fresh start, Zoe and her husband want to work, to fix their marriage. For Zoe, she’s finding it difficult to involve herself to life as an ex-pat in a foreign country, as it’s so different to what’s she’s used to. She finds a diary under a floorboard a diary of a Jewish girl, from 1941. The diary is the story of Jose, as well as her parents and sister Annette, her friends Nina and Felix. This diary written by a 12 year old is their story of coming from Paris, the time spent in Casablanca as they waited to resettle in America. Wonderful characters, both Zoe and Jose are sensitive people, caring deeply for those they love. The way both stories linked together over the years was lovely. The ending was something I didn’t see coming, making this book a great read. Highly Recommend It.
I am an avid reader of Fiona's books, and await her new releases with anticipation. Being a francophile Scot, I can usually directly relate to the landscapes, sights and smells that her writing evokes and so I was unsure about a new setting. I needn't have worried. Within moments of diving in, I was transported to the streets of Casablanca, in both the 1940's and modern day settings. I followed the diaries as closely as the narrator, and skipped through to see what happened. The ending did not disappoint, and once again I didn't want the story to end. Thank you Fiona, I await your next tale.
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.
This is a lovely dual time line novel set in Casablanca (sigh) that moves between Josie's story in 1941 and Zoe, who finds her diary in 2011. Zoe isn't happy in Morocco but finds meaning and a mission when she discovers what Josie wrote about being a Jew hoping to emigrate to the US, thinking she's in a safe haven in Morocco, and then the Nazi's arrive. Valpy is a good storyteller who made the wise, if initially a tad disconcerting to the reader, to write Josie's portion as a 12 year old would. The sounds and smells of life in Casablanca add to the novel. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Fans of WWII fiction will relish this niche as will those who enjoy a good read.
With a dual timeline narrative, The Storyteller of Casablanca tells of Zoe’s arrival in Casablanca in 2010 carrying a burden of sadness. We’re told that the move to Casablanca is meant to revive her marriage to Tom; it doesn’t seem to be working. In alternating chapters, we read 12-year-old Josie’s journal from January 1, 1941 into 1942 which tells of her family’s move to Casablanca to escape the Nazis in Paris; it’s meant to be a jumping off point for their eventual relocation to the US. Josie is as charming and fascinating as Zoe is boring and dull. You know that eventually these two separate narratives will reach a meeting point but it doesn’t happen until the final few chapters. I felt that Zoe’s story dragged on a bit too much, although it is redeemed by a surprising twist near the end. The novel is well-researched and Casablanca comes alive on the page with lots of fascinating details, including some real-life people who lived there during WWII. I have read and enjoyed quite a few of Fiona Valpy’s previous novels and this dual timeline seems to be her modus operandi. While this writing style worked well enough in her previous novels, I felt that the pace was too slow in The Storyteller of Casablanca. Even so, it’s worth reading just to find out how these two storylines eventually come together.
France has fallen to the Nazis . Josie Duvall and her family must find a safe passage to Casablanca where they will reside until they can get passage to America. Josie has a hard time adjusting to the hot sun, the scary sights along with the smells of this foreign land. How she longs for her home in France, her room her beloved books.. How will she survive. The next story is set in 2010 when a young woman named Zoe and her husband Tom follow Tom's job to Casablanca. This was to be a fresh start for this young couple but, Zoe is having a hard time adjusting to her new surroundings and thought what a mistake this is. Until she stumbles upon a box full of trinkets and a journal. Zoe gets very involved in reading this journal about this twelve year old girl whose house she is living in. Why is she so engrossed in this journal? What is Zoe running away from besides her crumbling marriage. What I so enjoyed about this book was the setting. I have never read any story set in Morocco. Throw in two stories that weave into one beautifully written story. A young girl who is so scared of the future, the heartbreak she must face along with her mother and sister. The love of her father who taught her to fight for what is right and to find a way to survive. Zoe who needs to find out what happens to Josie , and when she does she must face the horrible truth that keeps her and Tom apart. The ending was a total surprise. i could not put this book down.. Thank you NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for approving me to read this wonderful arc. Thank you Fiona Valpy for writing such an engaging story set in a time where many people might want to forget. Beautifully written wonderful characters and the duel stories captured me and I was hooked. I love NetGalley for the reason that I have been introduced to so many new authors and books I probably would not have read on my own. I sill surly be reading more by Ms. Valpy
Zoe moves with her husband Tom to Cassablanca, where he has a five year posting. While they are there, she hopes they can have a fresh start to their marriage. She finds it difficult at first to fit in as an expat in a foreign country, while also dealing with a strained relationship and a baby daughter. Then one day, she discovers a wooden box under a floorboard in the nursery, and in it a journal from a young girl named Josie. Zoe begins reading the diary and becomes invested in Josie's life. In the dual timeline are the journal entries from the 1940's when Josie and her family had escaped to Casablanca and were awaiting visas to get to America during WWII. Josie's father became involved in the resistance as did many of the people Josie knew. The journal leads Zoe to seek the dreamseller in order to find some closure in her own life. I loved this book. I enjoyed the dual timeline, with the one timeline being told in diary form. It was written so well, I felt as if I were really there watching it all unfold. I love that it included Josephine Baker in the story and her part with the resistance to add to the realism. I especially loved the twist at the end. I was really not expecting that! If you enjoy historical fiction, then you will definitely want to read this one.
I took a punt on "The Storyteller of Casablanca" by Fiona Valpy as it isn't my usual type of read. However I am pleasantly surprised. The story is split into Josie's of 1941/1942 told via the medium of a diary which Zoe finds in the house in 2010. The more recent part is told via Zoe and how she adjusts to life in Casablanca as an ex-pat. I can't comment too much as it may give parts of the plot away but what is most beautiful is the subplot of the crafting of the patchwork quilts - such strong symbolism on many levels.
The Storyteller of Casablanca is pitched as a historical fiction novel, although its dual timeline narrative creates a structure whereby two characters both have significant stories to tell: Josie in 1941-2, and Zoe in 2010. I’m used to seeing this tandem storytelling format in historical fiction novels - it’s something I enjoy a lot as the modern-day character often helps to breathe life into the historical character whose voice we’re usually hearing from posthumously. Zoe’s narrative opens the book, setting the scene for her arrival in Casablanca with her husband Tom, carrying the baggage of a marriage on the rocks. Quite quickly, the author makes it clear that it’s not just the marriage that’s troubling Zoe, that there’s something much deeper and significantly more damaging, although the truth of this won’t be revealed until the very final chapters of the book. Through Zoe’s eyes we experience the overwhelming clamour and heat of her new home city - quite a change from her Bristol roots. Her disorientation and loneliness are palpable, as is a deep-seated fragility. It takes time for Zoe to start feeling comfortable enough to venture out in the city, but when she does, her descriptions bring the unique scenery to life for the reader absolutely beautifully. By way of alternating chapters, we start to hear from twelve-year-old Josie through her diary, found under the floorboards by Zoe. Written in 1941 and 1942, her story portrays an aspect of World War II that I kew very little about - the escape of Jewish refugees from occupied France to Morocco. Josie’s voice brings a naive simplicity to her account of an exiled life. She’s a very observant and bright girl (perhaps a little too much so to be completely credible as the voice of a twelve year old) so she understands the gravity of the situation, the threat posed by the Gestapo prowling Casablanca’s streets, and the precarious position her family are in whilst they await their passage to America. When I first started reading The Storyteller of Casablanca, I found myself enjoying Zoe’s chapters the most - they seemed the most relatable and depicted the bustling vibrancy of modern Casablanca. As the book progressed, however, I became increasingly drawn in to Josie’s story which was rapidly becoming the more powerful and interesting of the two. The urgency facing her family’s escape was palpable, although she was conflicted by the wonderful friendship that was developing with local girl, Nina. For a large part of the book, Zoe’s character feels a little superfluous - although we clearly need her to give voice to Josie’s diary entries. I struggled to engage with her role, and started to feel niggled by the lack of variety in her day which carried through into a lack of oomph to her story. However, the author does eventually salvage her character, using her to draw attention to the present day migrant and refugee crisis. When Zoe starts volunteering at the local centre for refugees, the women and children seeking solace there breathe new life into Zoe’s chapters. Their stories are conveyed with devastating clarity; it was impossible not to be deeply moved by their accounts. The Storyteller of Casablanca is packed with intoxicating and vivid scenery which I loved exploring - the fierce heat, the disorienting alleys of the medina, the bustle of the markets, and the welcome reprieve of the ocean transcends both timelines, whilst the very real Gestapo danger in Josie’s world, becomes the implied discomfort of beggars and street-hawkers of Zoe’s experiences. Josie’s world was, for me, the most engaging of the two, boasting the richest breadth of intrigue, characters, food, and settings. It’s in the latter chapters of The Storyteller of Casablanca where the two plots really compete for your attention. The fate of Josie’s family which had looked so hopeful, before being so horrifically dashed, is suddenly silenced when her diary stops without warning, on the eve of her family’s escape on board the Esperanza … raising the very pertinent question of how the precious diary came to be left behind. Having to confront the truth of what may have happened to Josie forces Zoe to confront the incredibly heart-breaking truth that she’s been keeping secret from the readers for so long. The Storyteller of Casablanca is a story of hope, friendship, and community, that weaves the mystical beliefs of an ancient country elegantly into a story of human migration and persecution that’s sadly as relevant today as it’s ever been. It’s a culturally enlightening and richly diverse premise with so many fascinating threads, placing real life historical characters of the resistance movement seamlessly into a story that shimmers with old tribal customs and cultural traditions. In many ways, I wish the cinematic intensity of the book’s latter chapters had been present for a far greater proportion of the story … but perhaps I’m just being a bit greedy? Speaking of greedy, the author has included the recipe for the Ghoribas so loved by Josie … they’re the most delicious-sounding cookies made with honey and orange zest, and I can’t wait to try making a batch. Thank you to #AmazonPublishingUK and #NetGalley for this advance-proof kindle copy of #TheStorytellerofCasablanca by @FionaValpy
What a fabulous book!!! The plot is amazing, with so much emotion both happy & sad. I simply couldn’t put it down & couldn’t stop the tears at the end!!! Such amazing details that I was transported to both the Casablanca of 1941 & Casablanca of 2010!,! Wonderful!
Like most Americans, what I know about Casablanca comes from a certain classic movie. In “The Storyteller of Casablanca,” the author, Ms. Valpy, made Casablanca (and Morocco) a bit more “real” with her descriptions of the streets, people, countryside, and weather. This book is told in a classic dual timeline - one in the early 1940s, the other in 2010. The 1940s story I found the most engaging. We follow Josie, a pre-teen, through her journal. Her family is temporarily in Casablanca awaiting those ever longed for letters of transit (this SO reminded me of the opening narration of the movie Casablanca). Josie’s journal documents how they coped with both the waiting and war efforts. There’s also an appearance of Miss Josephine Baker - in my opinion one of the most fascinating people of this time period - that was presented rather effectively. There’s also an introduction (and understanding) of Moroccan culture (and religion) along with the importance of storytelling. One of the things I liked about Josie was her spunk and I enjoyed reading her parts - good, bad, heartbreaking, and everything in between. The 2010 story follows Zoe, an expat, whose husband (Tom) has taken a job in Casablanca. Zoe is depressed (and stressed). Through some of Tom’s co-workers wives, Zoe decides to take up quilting, which eventually leads her to volunteering at a migrant camp. Zoe takes up reading to the children (tying together both timelines with the importance of storytelling) and suggests quilting to the mothers (again, another form of storytelling). While I believe Zoe’s part was good for complete closure, for me it didn’t pack as much of an emotional punch as Josie’s part did. There was a twist at the end that I foresaw, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the overall book. This was an amazingly quick read for me - I think I finished in it one day - and it was very engaging. Do read the Author’s Note (for more information about her research) and the Acknowledgements (for how she got the idea for this book). A really solid 4.5 stars and I'd read another book by this author.
A dual timeline story . Josie is a refugee during wartime escaping the nazi tyranny and Zoe in current times trying to find a new way of life both based in Casablanca. Zoe finds the notebook left by Josie along with some prized possessions under the floorboards of the house she and her husband Tom are living in. The book is atmospheric , depicting Casablanca and you need to carefully follow the two storylines that are skilfully woven through the book. How can events from 70 years previous help to resolve the issues being faced in 2010 by Zoe. A steady story.
My favourite kind of book, weaving fiction into history! Beautifully written, this touching story transported me to Casablanca with its sights, sounds, scents and people. A perfectly balanced transition between Zoe in modern times as she becomes absorbed into Josie’s life in the 1940’s through the discovery of her diary.
A captivating story of hardship, grief, restoration, and new beginnings. The Storyteller of Casablanca interweaves the story of Zoe told in 2010 with the story of Josie from 1941, both who come to live in Casablanca, Morocco. It tells of their struggles and daily lives after moving to a new city for different reasons. Josie and her family were fleeing from the war and Zoe is looking for a new start with her husband. This story will grab your attention from the beginning and carry you along as the tale is woven throughout the pages. Even with the two storylines the book is easy to keep up with and flows smoothly throughout the book. The descriptions in the book take you to Morocco and the time period. Fiona has such well developed characters that they feel like your neighbors. The plot of the book had twists that I didn't expect and left me turning the page and longing to get back to reading when I had to put the book down for awhile. I have read a few of Fiona Valpy's books and once again she does not disappoint. This is a book I would reread. If you are looking for your next book to read I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Storyteller of Casablanca. I received an advanced copy of this book through Netgalley for my honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Zoe and Tom move to Casablanca for a fresh start. It is obvious that their marriage is in trouble. Zoe finds a journal in their new house which was written by a young girl, Josie, whose family fled France in the hopes of traveling to America during WWII. The novel switches between Zoe’s modern day life and Josie’s journal entries. This was a fascinating look into life in Casablanca during the war which I was not familiar with. It was interesting following Josie’s story until her journal abruptly ends, and Zoe tries to find what happened to her and her family. It also shows the struggles refugees face trying to find a better life for themselves and their families. Although at times, things were a bit predictable I really enjoyed this novel, and I found the ending very satisfying.
This was my first Fiona Valpy title and I have already purchased another of her books. I thoroughly enjoyed the dual timelines and the way they were woven together. Zoe has recently arrived in Casablanca in 2010 as her husband Tom, has travelled there for his work. Zoe is struggling to find her niche in the new country when she discovers the journal of 12 year old Josie under the floorboards of her new home. Josie and her family have fled to Casablanca from France due to her mothers Jewish ancestry in 1941. As Zoe reads more of Josie and her family's dangerous situation in Casablanca she meets a group of ladies assisting current day refugees. This portion of the story provides interesting background on the history of quilting which I found fascinating. The tale moves back and forth between the time frames and provides a very satisfying conclusion. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction. Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union/Amazon Publishing for an Uncorrected proof. I loved it.
The story starts in 2010 immersing you in Morocco's severe heat and exotic locale. Our narrator Zoe is just getting settled as her husband’s company posted him to Casablanca. She is a bit overwhelmed by the welcome wagon talk from one of the wives posted there. Zoe is looking around her new home when she discovers a loose board in the floor causing her to investigate. She pulls it up and discovers a dusty box and a diary from 1941. The diary is written by 13-year-old Josie. With such an exotic setting and the chance to read somebody’s diary, a glimpse of the past, I just had to read this book. In present day there are uncomfortable social situations for Zoe as well as some marital woes. She immerses herself into Josie’s life while trying to fit in with her life in Casablanca and misses England more every day. Both timelines have some sad stories. I think I was expecting it to be sad in the 1941 narrative but was surprised at what Zoe was going through in present day. There is nothing objectionable in this book, no poor language, just a nice story that may put you in mind of Nicholas Sparks novels. Fiona Valpy writes about strong female characters and obviously does detailed historical research. If you like historical fiction you will enjoy this author. This book has a genre tag for romance but I would not have classified it as such. I do agree on it being women's fiction and historical fiction. More about the author HERE. Publication date September 21, 2021 by Amazon Publishing UK. Genre: General Fiction Romance, Women's Fiction and Historical Fiction. Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader's copy of this book. I was not compensated for the review, all opinions are mine.
I loved this book! I enjoy historical fiction, especially when based on true events and/or people. While I have read many books set in the time frame of WWII, I have never read any books set in this part of the world. I loved the parallel stories. I found the characters extremely relatable and interesting. I really enjoyed the cultural aspects of the book and found them fascinating and informative. I was waiting for the resolution of Zoe's story but when it came, it was very unexpected. I highly recommend this book!
Thanks to Amazon Publishing UK and Netgalley, I was chosen as an early reviewer! ******Coming out Sep 21, 2021***** ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ One house, two stories that alternates between the year 2010 and WWll. This book will captivate you from start to finish! Zoe, her husband, Tom and baby, Grace are relocated from England to Casablanca due to Tom’s job. In the process of fixing the squeaky floor board, Zoe discovers hidden treasure, which included Josie’s journal from WWII. This book alternates between Zoe’s experience as an expat and Zoe discovering about who Josie was and what life was like for her having to flee the Nazis, life in Casablanca, and their hopeful journey with trying to immigrate to America. Zoe finds comfort from reading this journal as a way to escape her troubled life with her cheating husband. Will Josie and family be able make it out of Casablanca to America? Will Zoe be able to make sense of her life? This heartfelt read will having you turning the pages to find out their fates! I loved how the author included significant cultural aspects such as stories that are passed down from generation to generation. I also liked how Zoe became involved with an organization where they helped undocumented immigrants. This added to the depth to the story! Be sure to add it to your TBR list. A great book club pick!