By Maria Duenas
Introduction from the Publisher: The Time in Between by Maria Duenas is an international bestseller that spans the Spanish Civil War to World War II. This beautifully spun novel tells the story of a seamstress who rises to become the most sought-after couturier and an undercover spy who passes information about the Nazi regime to the British Secret Service through a secret code stitched into the hems of her dresses. The Shadow of the Wind meets Casablanca in this sweeping and artfully crafted debut.
My thoughts about The Time In Between: WOW! The Time In Between is an amazing saga of a young woman caught in the turmoil of the Spanish civil war, it's as much a story of a woman's survival during wartime as was Scarlett O'Hara's saga in Gone With The Wind. Author Maria Duenas has created a new literary heroine in Sira Quiroga.
The reader watches Sira's growth and struggle to not only survive, but to come out ahead of those around her. This is a fantastic example of historical fiction at its best! I didn't know much about the Spanish civil war, and this was an incredible learning experience disguised as a great read! Ms. Duenas brings the sights, smells and textures of the 1930s Madrid and Morocco to live. her descriptive phrases are so multi-layered that as a reader, I could "see" the cities as if I were there.
I do have a couple of issues with this book, even as much as I loved it, it was just about thirty percent too long. I loved the descriptions and the background given each situation, character and locale, but there was more than enough and I found myself skimming over bits that brought nothing to the story. In all honesty, the descriptive verbiage took away from the story. You really don't get to the meat of the book until about half way into the story. I don't know if the flowery prose was a product of translation from the original Spanish to English, but for me, it didn't add to the plot. It detracted from it.
I will say that once we got to the part where Sira is approached by her friend to work with the British counterintelligence (about half way through) the story seemed to just race through the last half. Maria Duenas' ability to build supporting characters as real and multi-layered people is just brilliant! If The Time In Between is ever made into a film, the supporting actors could steal the story! In fact, in some places in this book, they did just that!
All that being said, I LOVE this book!! It's one that I'll give to friends as gifts.
I give it a big 5 out of 5 stars! Buy them in quantities to give to everyone on your gift list! You won't be sorry and they will love you for it!
**This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley, and that in no way affected my ability to write an honest review of this book.
I really enjoyed the book's website and thought you might like it too: http://www.thetimeinbetweenbook.com/