The Sailor from Casablanca
A summer read full of passion and betrayal, set between Golden Age Casablanca and the present day
by Charline Malaval
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 25 Jun 2020 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2021
A spellbinding story of love and betrayal for fans of Santa Montefiore, Fiona Valpy's The Beekeeper's Promise and Dinah Jefferies. Perfect for book clubs!
***Shortlisted for the Filigranes Prize***
***RATED 5 STARS BY REAL READERS***
"I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!" -5* Amazon review
"A story full of mysteries and romance, set against the sumptuous backdrop of Casablanca." -5* Amazon review
"An exceptional debut" -Les Livres d'Eve blog
"A novel full of warmth, emotions and exoticism." -Le Populaire
Tall, brilliant and ambitious, eighteen-year-old sailor Guillaume has the world at his feet when he steps onto the shores of Casablanca in April 1940. But his dreams of travelling the world are cut short when he dies in a warship explosion in the harbour of Casablanca.
Sixty-five years later in 2005, as Loubna fights to open a cinema in the bustling harbourside city, the young woman discovers the mystery of the sailor from Casablanca . . . and a suitcase full of her grandfather Guillaume's love letters. But could it be that the boy everyone has supposed dead for over half a century is still alive?
And if so - did he run away with one of his countless girlfriends all these years ago?
As Loubna searches for answers, she finds herself swept up in an epic story of love, passion, intrigue and betrayal, set in the enchantingly glamorous heart of Golden Age Casablanca.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 52 members
A mystery as to the story of the baby born in the Casablanca military hospital in 1940. A narrative told from the perspectives of Guillaume's parents, sister, friends, lovers, son and granddaughter. A sailor in the French Navy, Guillaume has an affinity for Casablanca and the cinema.. What happened to him?
The colourful cover and the title might suggest a light summer read, but the reader quickly realizes that here is a story that has depth, with well rounded characters. The drama ranges from the 1930s to the 21st century and is placed in the hands of various participants with different viewpoints who move us from chapter to chapter. This is history combined with contemporary fiction with an embedded element of mystery which keep us turning the pages. Guillaume, the charismatic young man who joined the navy to see the world, is at the heart of the mystery which deepens chapter by chapter. Guillaume is a well written fictional hero who we are well disposed to love and admire, but soon we are asking, with countless others, did he have feet of clay?
The Sailor from Casablanca has been a quick read - but that is because I had to keep on reading, I had to know if Guillaume was a deserter, a spy, a traitor, or just a man "that loved not wisely but too well".
I expected a lighter read but was happy to see this was not the case! Very well written and absorbing, i couldn't put it down!
A fantastic book that make you want to keep reading. Cup of coffee in one hand and this book in another, what could be better.
An absorbing read a book full of f characters that come alive.An emotionally moving story.that drew me in and kept me reading late into the night.A book I will be highly recommending.#netgalley #hoder&stoughton.
Fantastic story-line, switching between the second-world war and present day unraveling a mystery. Descriptive and atmospheric transporting you to a war-torn France and a golden Casablanca.
Wonderfully romantic, mysterious and spellbinding. There weren’t enough hours in the day to lose myself in captivating Casablanca.
The Sailor From Casablanca by Charline Malaval is a marvellous dual timeline novel – 1940 France and Casablanca and 2005 in Casablanca. The tale follows a sailor, full of life and vigour, and a young woman’s search for the truth about her grandfather after finding some wartime letters.
War is a terrible thing. It alters people beyond recognition – bodies return but minds are left behind. “The war [WWI] buried him alive” – not physically but mentally. The war to end all wars returned a generation of men who were shadows of themselves. “It wasn’t that we were brave in the trenches; we simply had no choice.”
Young men in the 1930’s failed to see another war looming as they signed up for the French navy. War is not glamorous. War changes boys into men, and men into heroes. In war there is always the choice to be made – to do your duty or to dessert. This dilemma is explored throughout the novel in an attempt to uncover the truth.
The novel explores relationships – within a marriage, and also delves into the seedier side of sex workers and one night stands.
War has a habit of focussing the mind. We have to decide who and what is most important to us.
There are multiple narrators within the novel in 1940 but just one in 2005. We see the thoughts about events and characters from various points of view.
The Sailor From Casablanca was a well-constructed novel which I enjoyed. I think it would make a marvellous movie.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
Well written book that offers a bit of everything, romance, mystery and war. Not the light hearted romance that I expected. My thanks to the publisher for my advance ebook. This is my unbiased review.
What a brilliant book which deals withe heart acne of those left behind when someone dies bye there is no body so no closure.
It is also a mystery which is not resolved untill the very last chapter and keeps you guessing throughout the book
Part historical fiction, part contemporary and part mystery I found myself completely absorbed in this book, set mainly in Casablanca in the years between the 1930’s and 40’s and the present day.
This is the story of Guillaume, a sailor who is in active service when war breaks out and his family and sweetheart are left behind in France. When an explosion aboard ship takes the lives of so many, Guillaume is presumed dead. But with no body found, rumours become rife concerning his true identity. Is he a deserter or a spy or simply a casualty of war? That is the question that many years later Loubna is desperate to discover, having come into possession of a suitcase full of love letters sent to the charismatic sailor. I loved how these letters offered us an insight into this colourful, larger than life character who it transpires was a real ladies man, certainly a sailor with a girl in every port! His exuberance and love of life shone through the pages and if nothing else I thought he was an intriguing character. In unravelling the mystery behind the man, maybe Loubna will find Guillaume is more than just the sum of his conquests.
The timeline switches back and forth between multiple narrators that range from Guillaume’s mother and father and sister to his childhood sweetheart, lover and best friend(I think I’ve remembered them all!!) I loved the fact just enough information was divulged by each person before switching to another narrator, thereby ensuring I was fully engaged with the storyline. Surprisingly we never hear first hand from Guillaume, instead learning of his life aboard ship via his best friend Felix but perhaps that is a deliberate ploy to encourage further mystery surrounding a man who seems to have taken on legendary status. If the author had treated us to his perspective I think that would have been a real eye opener.
Having never visited Morocco or Casablanca, I did feel the author managed to bring the setting alive, albeit mostly from a sailor’s perspective! In that sense, the novel is atmospheric enough for the reader to imagine themselves in the streets and the cinemas and the red light district. With plenty of film references added in, at the very least it made me want to watch Casablanca, if not to wish I could visit the place sometime soon.
It was refreshing to hear about the wartime experience from another country’s perspective . Whilst the ways in which war affects people are similar, I enjoyed hearing from Helene and Lucien their first hand experiences. It is Helene who deserves our sympathies since her story highlights the devastating effect of losing a son and how that splinters the family as a whole, having to learn to make a life around a gaping person shaped hole. I would agree with other reviews that perhaps we don’t get an in depth insight into some of the characters lives which normally would frustrate me but for reasons I can’t pinpoint I didn’t mind on this occasion. I think I was too swept up in Loubna’s quest to uncover her family’s history.
In my opinion The Sailor from Casablanca would be an ideal book as an introduction into historical fiction for readers who wouldn’t normally choose this genre. With the added bonus of romance and mystery, this is one of the easiest yet most intriguing novels I’ve read in a while. I found the mystery element of this book fascinating;it was like searching for the missing pieces of a complex jigsaw puzzle and like Loubna I was desperate to discover the true person beyond that of Guillaume the lady killer.
All the way through I was thinking yes this is definitely a five star read for me but I’m still undecided how I feel about the conclusion. Having not been able to turn the pages fast enough, it kind of fizzled out so I was left feeling disappointed that this was the last I’d hear from these characters ( the book does feel very short but maybe that’s my misconception ). I found the final pages puzzling and I needed to re read some of the paragraphs to make sense of the ending. All minor criticisms and no doubt I may regret giving this 4.5 stars rather than 5.
Overall I think this was a cracking good read, thoroughly enjoyable and my thanks go to Hodder and Stoughton for the invitation to read this title.
I loved the idea of this book. The story is gripping and a good read. I liked going back and forward between the 2 timelines. I thought that it was interesting and worth reading. I think that this is a 3 1/2 star read and I have rounded it up to 4 stars.
Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
This was a lovely book to read and ingest in one go. I love the flipping between present and past, i love the storytelling and vivid pictures it created in my head as i read it. If you’re a fan of historical fiction that focuses on the characters and personal development you’ll love this.
I feel like the past is always more exciting as well as more sordid when one is exploring their own family history. What an adventure, this book was!
The setting was a major bonus as it was off the beaten path of most historical fiction these days.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read this ARC!
I enjoyed this book and found the subject matter very interesting. I would recommend this book to those readers who enjoy reading this genre.
I've just finished The Sailor from Casablanca. I wasn't sure at the beginning but I stuck with it and I'm so pleased I did. Telling the story from many different angles is a stroke of genius. I was intrigued to find out what happened to The Sailor from Casablanca!
I enjoyed this book especially the way that it moved from one time period to another. An interesting read, recommended.
I really enjoyed this book, it was a great read and perfect for me at the moment. I dived into it and read it very quickly as I found it so interesting. I love this type of book as having parents who lived and fought in the war and suffered greatly I am interested in this era.
This was something a little different which always makes a great change. Would certainly enjoy more from this author.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
Thank you to Netgalley, Charline Malaval and Hodder & Stoughton for this ARC in return for my honest review. I have to say, the cover is off-putting and when I was invited to read this novel, I was dubious as I thought it wouldn't be for me. However, I'm delighted that I read it as it's a completely different book that I had first thought. I really enjoyed this one and would recommend. Perfect for fans of Dinah Jeffries and Fiona Valpy.
In 1940, a sailor in the French Navy, Guillaume, is presumed dead when there is an explosion on his ship. His body is never recovered.
In 2005, his granddaughter knows nothing about him but is determined to find out the truth behind who he was and who her grandmother was.
The book is split into chapters which are told from the viewpoints of different characters, both in 1940 and in 2005. All of them are trying to work out what happened to Guillaume. I like the fact that although Guillaume is really the main character in the book, none of the story is told from his point of view. This leaves him as rather a mysterious character and adds to the unknown quality he has. He seems to have many secrets, and none of the other characters truly know who he is.
This is quite well written and easy to get along with. I was expecting it to be quite a romantic tale so I was quite pleased that this isn't actually at the forefront of the story. It is a good mixture of drama, romance and is also a story of the war and of how families, and everyone really, suffered during that time. It also gives some insight into the lives of the sailors themselves whilst in active duty.
i really enjoyed the mystery elements in the book and found the characters to be interesting and fully developed. I look forward to more from the author.
I volunteered to read this book, through netgalley in exchange, for an honest review. This book is well written and the characters are described well. The way the author describes Casablanca, Morroco it makes me want to visit that country. Guillaume is my absolute favorite character and I adore Felix's character. It talks about how families feel when they lose a loved one far to young to the war. I enjoyed how it goes from the past then to modern day Morroco. This book is in stores now for $9.99 (GBP).