A stunning, richly written novel that goes above and beyond the standard Romance fare.
Romance novels are not normally my thing, but I was taken aback and completely engrossed in Casablanca, My Heart, from the very first page.
The story is told from two perspectives, which I found to be a nice touch, and the story flowed nicely to the point where the characters re-unite.
Th story moves at a brisk pace, and while it jumps back and forth in time, this is never confusing, and the transitions are well executed. The mix of characters is rich and each one is brought to life with a perfect detail that allows the reader enough space to afford them to make their own mental image without changing said characters too much.
Throughout the novel, the background characters are brought to life, and detract from the title characters, in a positive light. By lightening the load from these two central sets of shoulders, the story develops on a deeper level, and becomes an all together invigorating and realistic experience to read.
Casablanca, My Heart is the debut novel, and certainly introduces the world to a very promising writer.
Being someone who not only lives in Holland and has walked the areas the book is set it, I also grew up in the very place in England that the Heroine turns to for her chance at revival. It made the story even more personal still, but have no qualms, if you are not familiar with the area, the book will remain just as good.