Roses of Marrakech by Rachel Clare – A romance in time and place, 1944 to 2016.


A story of place, of love, of secrets revealed; this is a book which encompasses a lot in its substantial length. Ivy is a young woman who has had self image problems for many years, but despite everything has created a life for herself, albeit devoted to teaching. It is only when her beloved great aunt Rose dies that she decides to explore something else- the beauties and textures of Marrakesh in Morocco. This is a book where stories are revealed and the price of real love shown. A book of enormously beautiful writing, depicting a life lived in England full of family and countryside, contrasted with an in depth tour of the main sites and hidden corners of Marrakesh.


 As Ivy walks the tiny byways of the city where history burns so brightly, she also reads of her aunt Rose and her venture into a great experience of love. It is only when Ivy discovers herself also facing the adventure of love with all its stresses and pitfalls that she understands what made Rose the woman she became and showed to a small girl who was so shy. This is a book of contrasts, of beautifully written descriptions, but also revealing great insights into love over many years and in several places. I was so entranced and am grateful to have had the opportunity of reading and reviewing this book. 


This book begins with the birth of Ivy, and her parents joy somewhat affected by the news that she has a permanent facial birthmark. As she grows she discovers that she is grievously affected and made unhappy by the attitudes of others to her appearance, but makes a great friend in a girl called Mei. Rose has died, but not without giving Ivy every element of love and support. Being a schoolteacher she decides to use part of her legacy from Rose to travel to Morocco for her long summer holidays alone. When she gets there she discovers a great love for the place, making her way among the small corners, markets and more. She makes a friend of the young son of the owner of the riad where she is staying, and falls in love with the place in which she walks and explores. Soon she meets a man who transforms her experience of the place in every way. At the same time she is reading Rose’s diary of her mysterious early life, her family and its losses. As her own love affair deepens, she discovers Rose’s own wartime romance and wonders where both loves are headed.


This is a big book with many elements to be enjoyed. Through it the reader discovers Marrakesh and the surrounding countryside. The people she encounters are all well drawn and so fascinating. The sights, smells and sounds of the streets around the riad where she is staying are wonderfully illuminated by the writing of Ivy’s story. The combination of love stories and wonderful writing of place makes this a truly special book. It is engaging in so many ways, and well paced in its gradual discoveries. A story of romance, of special places and discoveries, this is a splendid book which deserves a lot of interest.