All The Books I Can Read

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Blog Tour Review: The Moroccan Daughter by Deborah Rodriguez

on February 5, 2021

The Moroccan Daughter 
Deborah Rodriguez
Penguin Random House AUS
2021, 336p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

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

Amina Bennis has returned 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 . . . 

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.

I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour because I love exploring new places through reading and I have not read many books set in Morocco before! I actually realised a little way into this that it is connected to one of Deborah Rodriguez’s other books, which I have not read, but it didn’t matter and it didn’t affect my enjoyment. I was able to piece together things that had happened prior to this book pretty easily.

Amina has been living abroad for a while – studying first in Paris and then moving to America where she married Max. Her family doesn’t know about her husband and Amina has been terrified to tell them, knowing her strict, traditionalist father will not approve. A marriage to Max would not be seen as beneficial in his eyes. Max isn’t from a prominent family who will bring pride and honour to her family. Amina has been putting it off for as long as possible but now that she’s returning to Morocco for her sister’s wedding, she knows that she has to finally confess. Max is getting impatient as well, tired of being kept a secret. He wants Amina to just tell her father, not understanding how difficult that is for her and the fact that things in Morocco are done very differently to what Max is used to in America.

Amina’s best friend Charlie and Charlie’s grandmother Bea are accompanying Amina on the trip. Bea is almost blind but loves an adventure and is ready to embrace everything that Morocco has to offer, especially the markets and apothecaries and even the more mysterious side. Charlie on the other hand, has quite a secret from her past involving a man from Morocco and she seeks to reconnect with him.

I really loved the descriptions of Morocco – Fès, the Medina, Amina’s father’s riad. It was all so noisy and busy and colourful – all of that came through on the page. I also really loved the character of Bea, who was throwing herself into everything about Morocco, even though she cannot really see any longer. She uses her other heightened senses – her hearing, sense of smell etc – to experience everything in a slightly different way. I found that really interesting – Bea was highly entertaining. Pretty much everything rolled over her and her developing friendship with Samira, who worked for Amina’s father helped some of the secrets Samira had come out.

This book definitely went in some unexpected directions with those secrets! Samira was holding onto a lot of some very serious pieces of information, things that definitely helped some issues and interactions make more sense as I got further into the book. I couldn’t help but sympathise with Amina – it’s easy for someone like me to say hey, just tell your father that you’re married! But she’s had a very different upbringing and the rules in Morocco for women vs men are quite different. Amina’s quite spoiled younger brother Tarik makes that quite clear with his behaviour and it’s no wonder that he’s often resented a little for the freedom he has. Marriages are viewed differently too. Amina knows that her father is going to feel betrayed and angry when she confesses her secret and her fear of disappointing him runs deep. She needed to just finally confess though as the stress of keeping the secret was doing such damage to her – especially as her father was using the fact that Amina had returned home to think about perhaps setting up a marriage for her, blissfully unaware that she’d been married for a year! You can see everything kind of heading towards a big confrontation: Max and his impatience and frustration, Amina and her stress, her father and his determination that she come home and settle into the life he would have mapped out for her. It takes a few earth-shaking secrets coming to light to change things dramatically.

Sidenote: Moroccan weddings sound incredible. Amina’s sister’s wedding is a huge celebration that sounds amazing.

I enjoyed this! I’ve read a couple of other Deborah Rodriguez books before but I think I definitely need to catch up on the ones that I’ve missed.

8/10

Book #16 of 2021

This review is part of the blog tour for The Moroccan Daughter, organised by Penguin Random House Australia. Be sure to visit the other stops and see what they had to say about this book.


3 responses to “Blog Tour Review: The Moroccan Daughter by Deborah Rodriguez

  1. I just started reading this last night ahead of my blog tour date and I’m enjoying it already only a couple of chapters in. Yes, there are characters from her previous release in this one but I don’t think it’s linked enough to matter if you haven’t read that one. It’s definitely not like a series. You would like the previous one, I think, it’s called Island on the Edge of the World and was set in Haiti. I really enjoyed that one too.

  2. […] Blog Tour Review: The Moroccan Daughter by Deborah Rodriguez — All The Books I Can Read […]

  3. Izabel Brekilien says:

    Just like you, I’ve never read anything set in Morocco, this woul d be a nice way to start 🙂

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