The Moroccan Daughter by Deborah Rodriguez: Vivid & engaging

The Moroccan Daughter by Deborah Rodriguez is engaging and evocatively depicted women’s fiction with substance. Read on for my review.

The Moroccan Daughter Review -  Deborah Rodriguez

The Moroccan Daughter Synopsis

Morocco: a captivating country of honor and tradition. And, for these four women, a land of secrets and revelations.

From the twisted alleyways of the ancient medina of Fès to a marriage festival high in the Atlas Mountains, Deborah Rodriguez’s entrancing new bestseller is a modern story of forbidden love set in the sensual landscape of North Africa. Author of The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul and The Zanzibar Wife.

Amina Bennis has come back to her childhood home in Morocco to attend her sister’s wedding. The time has come for her to confront her strict, traditionalist father with the secret she has kept for more than a year – her American husband, Max.

Amina’s best friend, Charlie, and Charlie’s feisty grandmother, Bea, have come along for moral support, staying with Amina and her family in their palatial riad in Fès and enjoying all that the city has to offer. But Charlie is also hiding someone from her past – a mystery man from Casablanca.

And then there’s Samira, the Bennises’ devoted housekeeper for many decades. Hers is the biggest secret of all – one that strikes at the very heart of the family.

As things begin to unravel behind the ancient walls of the medina, the four women are soon caught in a web of lies, clandestine deals and shocking confessions . . .

(Penguin Australia, February 2021)

Genre: Drama, Romance, Mystery

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The Moroccan Daughter Review

The Moroccan Daughter is warmhearted women’s fiction exploring the perils of secret-keeping, the value of and tug-of-war between ancient customs and modern thinking and the enduring love and loyalty of family (and friends that feel like family!).

Amina had always felt as if life with her sister was a context in which she had absolutely no interest in competing. She had thought things would have changed with time, that her sister might have mellowed with the security of a successful marriage in her future, but now she feared she was wrong.

Amina’s sister’s grand wedding may be the catalyst that brings the four distinctly different women – Amina, Charlie, Bea and Samira – together amidst the hustle and bustle of Fes, Morocco, but that event plays second-fiddle to these ladies’ strong personalities and complicated backstories.

Strong, mature female friendships

The banter and good-natured squabbles between the colourful and eccentric Bea and her ostensibly more level-headed granddaughter Charlie injects light and humour to the many sticky cross-cultural situations they find themselves in.

Bea sometimes wished her granddaughter would lighten up. She had hoped this trip would do the trick, seeing as Charlie was such a wanderer. She was like a shark: perpetually in motion just to stay alive…. That girl had a restlessness that she wore like an itchy sweater.

But for me, it was the friendship that blossomed between the elder pair, Bea and Samira, that shone in The Moroccan Daughter. The way Samira, having lived a life of sacrifice, saw her world anew by explaining the sights and sounds to blind Bea and how Bea’s joie de vivre rubbed off on and emboldened those around her, sure gave me the warm and fuzzies.

Appetising and satisfying substance

Oh, and this book should come with a warning ‘not to be read when hungry’ such is the large role food plays in many of the customs so evocatively depicted.

All in all, I wish I had experienced Deborah Rodriguez’ writing sooner. Just like her feisty and independent leading ladies, her prose exudes an appealing directness, and the storyline is punchy, fast-paced and advocates a glass-half-full perspective.

The Moroccan Daughter is a satisfying light weekend read; one that entertains while raising awareness about matters of substance, such as the plight of the Amazigh people, freedom of speech and police corruption.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

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More The Moroccan Daughter Reviews

‘Although a tad predictable at times, The Moroccan Daughter remains a great read. And, whilst we’re all grounded it’s a welcome chance to explore, take an adventure, and immerse oneself in a different culture.’ – theAUreview

‘A soul-nourishing journey to a faraway destination… a generous storyteller…’ – Mrs B’s Book Reviews

‘Her characters are all lively and realistic, with individual personalities sparking off each other just as they do in real life. Her settings are richly detailed, everything from smells to sounds with an infusion of culture woven into the narrative, giving the reader such a vivid sense of place.’ – Theresa Smith Writes 

More The Moroccan Daughter Book Resources

  • Read the first chapter of this novel.
  • Treat yourself with this recipe for Moroccan coconut cookies, as enjoyed by the characters in this book.
  • Penguin’s insightful list of discussion points and questions, e.g. ‘Have you ever kept an important secret from someone you love?’ will really get your book club discussion about The Moroccan Daughter humming. These are also included at the end of this novel itself, along with more recipes of the authentic Moroccan food featured.

About the Author, Deborah Rodriguez

Deborah Rodriguez is the author of the international bestsellers The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, The Zanzibar Wife and Island on the Edge of the WorldShe has also written two memoirs: The Kabul Beauty Schoolabout her life in Afghanistan, and The House on Carnaval Street, on her experiences following her return to America. She spent five years teaching and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. Deborah also owned the Oasis Salon and the Cabul Coffee House, and is the founder of the nonprofit organization Oasis Rescue, which aims to teach women in post-conflict and disaster-stricken areas the art of hairdressing. She currently lives in Mazatlán, Mexico, where she owns Tippy Toes salon and spa.

* My receiving a review copy of The Moroccan Daughter from the publisher did not impact the expression of my honest opinions above.