The Lioness of Morocco by Julia Drosten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is one of those easy read stories that grabs you and totally engrosses you. The Lioness of Morocco is one of those stories that could be reworked into a movie or a tv series. In a nutshell this was a surprisingly enjoyable read. The story line is not your typical beginning, rising action and the climax, rather it is a story that documents the life of a fictitious woman in the mid 1800's Mogador, Morocco.
The story starts off in London at Spencer and Son's shipping. Syballah is an intensely independent woman with an extremely shrewd business acumen. Syballah also tends to flaunt safety rules by bringing her carriage into the docking area. Which leads to her meeting Benjamin Hopkins. Benjamin Hopkins is a rather ambitious young man who wants to get ahead and is willing to cut corners to do it, evidenced by his future plantation in Cuba and his dabbling in the slave trade. The carriage topples over into the water and Benjamin rescues Syballah. This leads to marriage although Syballah does not really love Benjamin. After their marriage Benjamin does not hesitate to boost his wardrobe and other nifties.
The two are later sent to Morocco to open up trading . Benjamin runs the trading while Syballah makes clothes and trades with the ladies in the Sultan and the governor's harem. She is also very respectful of the culture, while her husband is totally opposite. His negative attitude towards Moroccan culture sometimes leads to higher tariffs and taxes for the company. It also makes him enemies. One day he tips off a beggar and then finds himself locked in the Mogador dungeon on charges of dealing with slavery.
Syballah also has a French friend,named Andre Rouston. Together they come up with a plan to rescue him but political events cause a bombing raids against Mogador by the French and Benjamin goes missing. Needful to note both Syballah and Benjamin are having extra marital affairs.
A brief affair with Andre after Benjamin's disappearance produces a young girl named Emily who is raised by, Syballah. The affair with Sybala and Andre comes to an end when as part of a gift from the Sultan , Andre gets an estate and a young woman named Aynur. Andre is drugged and ends up marrying Aynur. The next adventure occurs when Emily finds her father and the estate is attacked by locusts and Berber raiders. Behind it all is a mysterious person.
If you enjoy stories about the Middle East , especially during colonial times then you will enjoy this one. It has plenty of intrigue and plotting along with several love triangle to keep things moving. Lots of forbidden love and definite insights into Moroccan life and culture.
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