A ​young mother and her two daughters travel to Marrakech, Morocco during the 1960s. The mother, Julia, is disenchanted by the dreary conventions of English life, hence the journey. They live in a low-rent Marrakesh hotel and make a living out of making hand sewn dolls and with some money sent by the girls’ father, a poet in London.

Whilst the mother explores Sufism and quests for personal fulfillment, the daughters rebel. The elder, Bea, attempting to recreate her English life, wants to get an education and insists on going to school. The younger, Lucy, dreams of trivial things, like mashed potatoes, but also yearns for a father. Her hopes settle on a most unlikely candidate.

The girls match their mother with Bilal, a Moroccan con man and acrobat; the relationship turns sexual and he moves in, becoming almost a surrogate father. However, Julia’s friend encourages her to travel to Algiers and study with a Sufi master at a school that advocates the “annihilation of the ego”. As money vanishes, Julia’s response is to claim that “God will provide”, albeit in the person of Bilal.

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