I set myself a goal to read more light-hearted books this year. While I’m finding it difficult to peel myself away from my usual thrillers, I am finding some gems out there.
Book Review: Roses of Marrakech by Rachel Clare
Can you ever leave the past behind?
Roses of Marrakech is a breathtaking romantic fiction, set between 1944 and 2016. The story follows 36 year-old primary school teacher, Ivy Fielding, who suffers from a lack of self esteem due to a facial birthmark. Her great-aunt Rose, who has always been her main source of emotional support, has just died, leaving her a bequest as well as her Lavenham cottage to Ivy and her mother. Ivy discovers tragedies in her family’s past while reading her late great-aunt’s diary, and this inspires her to fulfil a childhood dream and she jets off to Marrakech for the summer holidays.
Set against the backdrop of wartime Suffolk and the present day spice-scented souks of Morocco, Ivy follows a trail of discovery that will change her life and those around her, forever.
But when uncomfortable secrets of the past begin to surface, can she find the courage to confront them, or is it easier to walk away?
I opened the cover of Roses of Marrakech looking for a delightful read and I found one. It was a book that I didn’t constantly feel the need to know what was going to happen, instead, I just enjoyed reading it. I can accredit that enjoyment to two things. First is the character of Ivy. Ivy was such a sweet person and I was routing for her all the way. If you are a person struggling with the same self-esteem issues as Ivy, you will adore her as the protagonist. Often in books we see characters who have suffered hardship lash out or turn into a not-so-nice person. I admired how Ivy didn’t blame her struggle on any one but learned to accept herself wholly.
The second thing that made me love this book was the descriptions of Marrakech. Never before have I experienced a place come to life so much as I did in Roses of Marrakech. The descriptions of the city are beautiful, filled with colour, tastes, and sounds. But where the author really did Marrakech justice was in the description of its people. Although Ivy makes friends in the city, she does initially travel there alone. Unfortunately, a quick Google search on travelling alone as a women in Marrakech will show stories of harassment and the city not being safe. I can’t comment on this as I have never travelled there. However, this book reminds us of the good people of the city (or any city, in fact). Those that welcome tourism, those who are keen to share their craft and culture, and help make any tourist feel welcome. It was refreshing to read such a non-biased view.
Now, while overall Roses of Marrakech was light-hearted, it also dealt with grief, depression, and how to cope with both. This is not mentioned in the blurb but adds a whole new layer to the story that makes it even better. We see this in Ivy’s present day and as she reads Rose’s diary. I haven’t mentioned Rose’s diary here much, even though it was an amazing part of the book. Actually, I expected to enjoy the historic element of Rose much more than reading about Ivy, as I usually do in these types of books. However, for once it was the other way around. Lucky for me both elements of the book were great!
Wow, this is the longest review I’ve written in a while. It’s just that Roses of Marrakech is such a wonderful book I was afraid it would fall through the cracks for many readers. I hope this little corner of the internet has done it enough justice to convince you to pick up a copy. You won’t regret it.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.