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The Time In Between by María Dueñas

The Time In Between

by María Dueñas

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,205869,825 (3.67)58
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» See also 58 mentions

English (45)  Spanish (32)  Catalan (3)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Sira Quiroga began working with a Madrid dressmaker in her atelier as an apprentice when fourteen. Six years later she is finally a dressmaker. When two charismatic men enter her lives, one makes her wealthy and the other, destitute. Never knowing her father, she is finally invited to his office only to discover that he is one of Madrid's wealthiest citizens who feels guilty about ignoring his responsibility for so many years. In only a few moments, she has money to live comfortable for some time. However, she also becomes under the spell of an attractive salesman, who convinces her to leave Spain at the outset of the Spanish Civil War for Morocco. However, shortly after their arrival, the salesman leaves Sira with a large hotel bill and no money. The remainder of this novel focuses on how this impetuous and naive young woman finds her way in a foreign land with the assistance of friends as a prestigious courtier and spy.

My only regret regarding reading this saga is that it sat on my bookshelf unread for so long. All the characters were well developed especially how Sira's character grew during the course of this novel. Although a lengthy novel, the plot never bogs down always moving forward to Sira's next adventure. ( )
  John_Warner | Aug 29, 2018 |
A sweeping historical novel featuring the young Sira Quiroga, who begins by cleaning the floors of the atelier where her mother is a seamstress and ends up as a sought-after fashion designer in World War II. Using her skills as a dressmaker to connect with the high society ladies, she ferrets out Nazi secrets and passes that information on to the British via Morse code embedded in dress patterns.

Wow … what a fascinating and engaging read. This is Dueñas’s debut work, but it sure reads like the work of an accomplished storyteller. The novel starts off slowly and I was pretty disappointed in the young Sira and the poor choices she made with respect to men. But once she was forced to make her own way (abandoned and penniless in Morocco of all places), the story really picked up.

I loved the way that she grew as a character, coming into her own while carefully observing and learning from her friends, neighbors and clients. Her relationships are wonderfully complex – from the police inspector, to her landlady, to her neighbor and friend, Felix, to the glamorous Rosalinda Fox, and her stoic mother.

I’ve read many novels set in WW2 but only one previous one set in Spain (Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls). What sets this apart is that is mostly deals with the “women left behind.” The ways in which women and men who were not at the forefront of the fighting dealt with the ramifications of the wars, both the Spanish Civil War and WW2. Dueñas fills the novel with details of life “at home” during this time frame: in Madrid, Morocco and Lisbon. The shortages, the black market, the unusual alliances.

Of course, there are real-life people in the book; you cannot set a novel at this place and during this time frame and completely avoid mentioning Hitler or Franco. But I was surprised to discover that Rosalinda Fox was a real woman. Sira is a totally fictitious character, but Dueñas inserts her into the history of the time in a way that is believable.

I understand that there is a Spanish telenovela (soap opera / mini-series) available on Netflix (with subtitles). One of my friends commented that she was hooked on it and loved the ending when Sira is reunited with her mother. Once I told her that the soap opera ending is barely at the half-way point in the novel, she set out to get the book.

I recommend this to anyone who loves a fast-paced novel, with fascinating characters, and a strong female lead. The final scene when she decides to take matters into her own hands and go forward on her own terms is marvelous. I wanted to stand up and cheer! ( )
  BookConcierge | Aug 13, 2018 |
This book was good not great. It was fairly well written. Very descriptive, decent character development, and after I think about it - a lot did happen. I was just bored by this for the most part. There were definitely some really good moments where I didn't want to put it down. Overall, I think it was just sort of boring. Nothing really happened. There was a lot of predictability and I didn't find Sira to be an amazing character that I wanted to know more about. I think I was just let down -all reviews made it seem like the AMAZING book of the year. Don't avoid this book, I would just say don't go out of your way to read it. ( )
  PamV | Mar 27, 2018 |

The beginning was so clichéd I had a hard time continuing...it took about 3/4 of the book to become really interesting, from a plot perspective, which is why I gave it only 4 stars, not five. Generally speaking though, a pretty good read with interesting historical elements and a satisfying ending. ( )
  APopova | Jan 2, 2017 |
I found this a very enjoyable read. Yet another element of what happened during World War II that most people didn't know about. I would never have wanted to be a spy back then and I don't think I would have been a good one. If you want to read a very well written story with fascinating characters that's full of heartache, joy, espionage, love and danger, then pick this one up. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Such a worthy adversary requires worthy derring-do, and Sira, now hooked up with British intelligence—for by now we’ve gone from gothic romance to espionage thriller—is just the person for the gig. Will Beigbeder, Franco and Uncle Adolf prevail, or will the good triumph? Well, you’ll just have to read Dueñas’ well-crafted but decidedly chick-lit effort to find out.

Middlebrow and breezy. A perfect beach read, if a touch off-season, unless you’re headed for Casablanca and its waters.
added by srdr | editKirkus Reviews (Dec 28, 2011)
Originally published in Spain in 2009, Maria Duenas's novel The Time in Between (translated into English by Daniel Hahn) has now become an international bestseller. The tale of Sira Quiroga, a humble dressmaker from Madrid who eventually becomes a spy for the British, is a detailed, exciting, evocative look at the time before and between the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.
This thrilling debut is marked by immaculate prose and a driving narrative, establishing Dueñas as a writer to watch

See also the author profile in PW Oct 2011
added by 4leschats | editPublishers Weekly (Nov 1, 2011)

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
María Dueñasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Risvik, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Visscher, JacquelineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
At age twelve, Sira Quiroga sweeps the atelier floors where her single mother works as a seamstress. At fourteen, she quietly begins her own apprenticeship. By her early twenties she has learned the ropes of the business and is engaged to a modest government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst unexpectedly into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew.

Between War and Peace . . .

With the Spanish Civil War brewing in Madrid, Sira leaves her mother and her fiancé, impetuously following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken in an exotic land. Among the odd collection of European expatriates trapped there by the worsening political situation back on the Continent, Sira reinvents herself by turning to the one skill that can save her: her gift for creating beautiful clothes.

Between Love and Duty . . .

As England, Germany, and the other great powers launch into the dire conflict of World War II, Sira is persuaded to return to Madrid, where she takes on a new identity to embark upon the most dangerous undertaking of her career. As the preeminent couturier for an eager clientele of Nazi officers’ wives, Sira becomes embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.

Already a runaway bestseller across Europe, The Time In Between is one of those rare, richly textured novels that enthrall down to the last page. María Dueñas reminds us how it feels to be swept away by a masterful storyteller.
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"The Time In Between follows the story of a seamstress who becomes the most sought-after couturiere during the Spanish Civil War and World War II"--

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