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The Time in Between by Maria Duenas

Saturday, August 6, 2011
The Time In Between is a word-of-mouth phenomenon that catapulted María Dueñas, a debut author, to the top of Spain’s bestseller lists.

This sweeping novel, which combines the storytelling power of The Shadow of the Wind with the irresistible romance of Casablanca, moves at an unstoppable pace. Suddenly left abandoned and penniless in Algiers by her lover, Sira Quiroga forges a new identity. Against all odds she becomes the most sought-after couture designer for the socialite wives of German Nazi officers. But she is soon embroiled in a dangerous political conspiracy as she passes information to the British Secret Service through a code stitched into the hems of her dresses.

“Destined to become a literary classic."" - Javier Sierra, New York Times bestselling author

“A magnificent novel that flawlessly brings together history and intrigue.” - Juan Gómez-Jurado, author of The Moses Expedition

Good Reads Summary

This novel truly captures the atmosphere of the 1930's and 1940's.  The main character, Sira, is young, capricious, and eager to find her future.  Her mother, a dressmaker, teachers her to grow up like her.  Sira's story would have ended when she became a dressmaker and lived out her days much like her mother if not for a chance encounter with a handsome man.  Their connection is immediate and soon Sira is taking risks for him. 

Ramiro, Sira's lover, takes her to North Africa; he promptly abandons her and his unborn child.  She suffers a mental breakdown, understandable given the circumstances.  In order to pay back Ramiro's debts, Sira takes up sewing once again and finds that she enjoys the activity.  She rubs shoulders with very influential politicians and officials in no time.  Her dresses and clothing line become all the rage and she experiences sudden success.  She is tapped by the British Secret Service to spy on the influential people she meets in everyday life.  She learns to place the Morse code in her clothing. 

This novel was very well-written, smooth and the events flowed throughout the novel.  Sira's breakdown was jarring as are some of the "spying" escapades, but other than that the reader will find him/herself immersed in a smooth, medium-paced novel.  Sira herself is a likable character, she is a strong female character for her time period.  To go from a mental breakdown to spying and paying off debts shows both her determination and strength.  The secondary characters are all interesting to read about.  The reader will find the plot intriguing.  This book is recommended for young adults/adults who enjoy more historical novels concerning the 1930's/1940's time.

4 Stars