Travel by Book to Tangier, Morocco with “Tangerine” by Christine Mangan

by | Mar 3, 2023

An aerial view of cityscape Tangier surrounded by buildings and water

Last updated on March 8th, 2023

Featured image:  An aerial view of the cityscape Tangier, Morocco, surrounded by water | Photo by wirestockc on Envato

Our book of the month is set in Tangier, Morocco

by Carolyn Ray, Editor, JourneyWoman

Our March book of the month, Tangerine,  is a gripping psychological literary thriller set in 1950s Tangier, Morocco. This isn’t our first book on Morocco — in fact, it’s our third. Previous book club picks have included Alice Morrison’s “Morocco to Timbuktu” (May 2021) and Vendela Vida’s “The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty” which focused on Casablanca (September 2022).

What is it about Morocco that we love so much?  Having spent several weeks in Morocco, and more recently in southern Spain, I admit to a breathless fascination with all things Moorish. The hot dusty winds, souks and riads and the Sahara Desert have inspired countless movies and trips, including my own journey there in 2014, when I spent a very chilly New Year’s Eve in the Sahara Desert. 

Published in 2018 and the debut novel for Christine Mangan, Tangerine is the story of two friends and once inseparable roommates — Alice Shipley and Lucy Mason who meet again in Tangier, Morocco. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.  But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind. Full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, Tangerine has been optioned for film by George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures, with Scarlett Johansson to star.


Tangerine Book Cover

Reviews on Tangerine, set in Tangier, Morocco

“The lying, the cunning, and the duplicity is so very mannered that it’s chilling. Rich in dread, the foreboding positively drips from every page.”  — Washington Post

“A dark tale of twisted love.” — NPR

“Promises to be one of the best debuts of the year. . . . Echoes of Gillian Flynn and Patricia Highsmith in this tightly wound, exotic story.” — Entertainment Weekly

“A slow-burning suspense novel about betrayal in the sun-drenched setting of 1950s Tangier. . . . It’s a page-turner.” — AARP Magazine

“Unbelievably tense, incredibly smart. . . . Mangan full-speeds up to her shocking finale, twisting the plot with reveals you never see coming. . . . [Her] writing is so accomplished, so full of surprises and beauty, that you’d swear she was a seasoned pro.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“If you liked The Talented Mr. Ripley, then you’re going to go wild for this taut thriller. . . . Absolutely delicious.” — Nylon Magazine

Click Here to Buy or Download "Tangerine"

Buy on here
Buy on Amazon/Audiobooks here
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About Author Christine Mangan

Christine Mangan has her PhD in English from University College Dublin, where her thesis focused on 18th-century Gothic literature, and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Maine. Tangerine is her first novel.  She lives in Detroit.

Author Isabel Allende surrounded by books
Christine Mangan/ From Macmillan Publishers

Book Club Discussion Questions

We may not get through all of these, but here are some thoughts to start our discussion!

1. Have you travelled to Tangier, or anywhere in Morocco? Did anything about the book’s setting feel familiar? Why, or why not?

2. What was your favourite passage in the book and why?

3. Lucy describes the smell of Africa, beckoning her from the shore (page 16). Have you ever felt that about a destination, that the very air is distinctive, and pulls you toward it?

4.  When Alice sees Lucy at her doorstep, she thinks of a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: ‘the past is prologue’ – what do you think this meant to her?

5. In the first half of the book, did you find yourself more drawn to Lucy or to Alice? Why? Did that change as the book progressed?

6.  On pages 99-100, Lucy and Youssef/Joseph discuss the difference between tourists and travellers.  Do these two words mean different things to you?

7. Youssef says, “It is better to be in a flat than a hotel. Unless you are only staying for a few days, then a hotel is best.” (page 99). In these days of Airbnb and, it has become as easy to book an entire apartment as a room in a hotel. Which do you prefer, and why?

8.  John claims that Youssef is simply a scam artist. Do you agree? Have you ever fallen for – or narrowly escaped – a travel scam?

9. On page 144, Lucy describes how she feels a connection with history when she touches the stones of an entranceway, imagining the great writers and painters and musicians who had passed that way before.  Have you felt this on your travels?  Where have you felt it most strongly?

10. The protagonists remark on how different Chefchaouen is from Tangier (page 193), even though they are only a couple of hours’ drive apart. Have you experienced this on your travels, that one town or city can feel completely different from the next?

11. There is a major character shift in the second half of the novel. Did you see it coming? Or did you foresee a different twist?

12. Did you ever feel that you wanted to advise Alice? What would you have suggested she do?

13. What was the difference in the two protagonists’ interpretations of the occasion when, as a student, Lucy ‘tried on’ Alice’s outfit? How did this compare with Alice borrowing Lucy’s clothes in Chefchaouen?

14. How did you feel about the ending of the story?

15. The story takes place in the 1950s. Do you think the same plot would work in a novel set in contemporary times?

16. Did the book make you want to travel to Morocco?

Click Here to Buy or Download "Tangerine"

Buy on here
Buy on Amazon/Audiobooks here
Buy on Booksamillion here

You can help support our Book Club: When you purchase a book using the links on our site, JourneyWoman receives a small commission from the bookseller. This is one of you ways you can help us maintain our beautiful website and editorial content.  

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A passionate traveller, Carolyn believes anything is possible when we follow our heart and trust our intuition. Raised in Florida, Carolyn loves all things Latin, margaritas, the ocean and music. She's a board member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA).


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