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The Time in Between

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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 Morocco by her lover, Sira Quiroga forg 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 Morocco 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.


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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 Morocco by her lover, Sira Quiroga forg 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 Morocco 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.

30 review for The Time in Between

  1. 4 out of 5

    Book Him Danno

    I am going to be honest. I said I would read this book because I think I need to read more women authors and more foreign writers, just to get out of my comfort zone. But when I finally got the book in my hands and read the synopsis I was scared because it was hitting a lot of things I tend to avoid. What will I have in common with a pre WWII seamstress as she deals with love and intrigue in Southern Europe. A dressmaker for goodness sake! But being the dutiful guy that I am I took it to work wi I am going to be honest. I said I would read this book because I think I need to read more women authors and more foreign writers, just to get out of my comfort zone. But when I finally got the book in my hands and read the synopsis I was scared because it was hitting a lot of things I tend to avoid. What will I have in common with a pre WWII seamstress as she deals with love and intrigue in Southern Europe. A dressmaker for goodness sake! But being the dutiful guy that I am I took it to work with me to read on break, to at least make a start. That was a mistake, a big mistake, because BLOODY HELL THIS BOOK ROCKED!! I was distracted at work for the rest of the day and immediately devoured this book as soon as I got home – all 600 pages of it. People like to talk about the skill of the writing as if that is what made a good book, but in reality it is voice (flow) and story and María Dueñas has this in spades. The story is so compelling and slowly grabs you that you do not notice how tightly it has you trapped. Think of flow as notes in a piano recital; bad flow jars you just like an off note. The time in between just flows beautiful y as the pages go by. Very smooth without any off notes at all. What really came alive for me was the society that the heroine had to operate in, pre WWII Spain (& Morocco). It was dedicated to seeing who was loyal to the cause, forcing people to choose sides in a no win situation. But as in all unrighteous dominion situations it rapidly degenerated to a he said/she said scenario. You begin to lose all trust in those around you, even those that are closest. When you can’t trust anyone you have no family (in any sense of the word), and that is the beginning of death for any society. Our heroine survived because in even the worst of situations she was always able to find someone, one lifeline to normalcy, someone to trust. It was that connection that got her thorough and it is a good lesson for all of us. Do not hesitate to get this book as soon as it comes out (November 2011 – though currently available for the Kindle). It should appeal to everyone, from millions of Europeans where this book was originally released to mystery loving guys living in Minnesota. This book has it all and is at the top of my recommend to friends list. Thanks David for your review for Book Him Danno.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    Part historical novel, part spy novel, part romance, this book has a good story. A young woman grows up in poverty in Spain just before the Spanish Civil War. She works as an apprentice to her mother in a dress-making shop in Madrid. She sees another world as she goes in servant entrances to mansions making deliveries of dresses. Her awareness of these “two worlds” influences her when she reaches marriage age because she dumps the local guy who loves her and she runs off with a con man who is fl Part historical novel, part spy novel, part romance, this book has a good story. A young woman grows up in poverty in Spain just before the Spanish Civil War. She works as an apprentice to her mother in a dress-making shop in Madrid. She sees another world as she goes in servant entrances to mansions making deliveries of dresses. Her awareness of these “two worlds” influences her when she reaches marriage age because she dumps the local guy who loves her and she runs off with a con man who is fleeing the police because of various frauds he’s pulled off. They flee across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spanish Morocco. After she experiences a brief time of living life with the jet set, he dumps her, stealing what money she had and leaving her stunned, pregnant and responsible for a huge hotel bill. This is when the real story begins. She can’t run home to mother because the police won’t let her leave until she pays off the bill. Anyway, travel between the two countries is essentially cut off because of the War. I’m not really giving away a lot of plot as we know all this very early in the book. Spanish Morocco is a lot more exotic than it sounds; think: Casablanca, Marrakesh, Tangier, Fez, Rabat. She encounters a jumble of nationalities including various Arabic groups, Spanish, French, British, Jews, Germans, Moroccans, Russians. Some speak Haketia, an ancient but dying language of Sephardic Jews. Our heroine settles into a boarding house run by a tough, street-smart woman who takes her under her wing and helps her set up her own dress-making shop. At the communal dining table every night the violent political arguments out foreshadow the Spanish Civil War. The Rif War, Spanish and French against Berber hill forces, has just ended, which in a roundabout way led to the Civil War in Spain. (Despite the easy-reading style, this is a serious historical novel with more than 50 scholarly works in the bibliography.) The Germans are cultivating Spain and Portugal as Allies. Although both countries remained neutral in WW II, their dictators, Franco and Salazar, were essentially rooting for Hitler and Mussolini. Spanish Morocco is loaded with German businessmen and military men. This is when the second phases of her life begins. As a “dress-maker to the stars” she is in a perfect position to overhear gossip about upcoming events, the where and whens and who will be there. She is approached by British intelligence to become a spy and she agrees. Eventually she is sent back to Madrid and to Lisbon to open a shop and to spy. In this world, everyone is suspect. She starts falling in love with an Englishman doing business with the Germans. Is he a British agent? A German agent? A double agent? A good read all the way through. It kept my interest for all 600+ pages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Wow. I devoured this book. It pretty much hit all the right notes for me: exotic places, a little romance (but not too much), spies, MI6, deception, and fashion. I always seem to resonate with the international bestsellers. The Far Pavillions is a favorite, as is Perfume. Anyway, I recommend this book highly. With two full time jobs, a child, and a novel that I'm revising, the fact that I finished it in three days should sufficiently recommend it. Wow. I devoured this book. It pretty much hit all the right notes for me: exotic places, a little romance (but not too much), spies, MI6, deception, and fashion. I always seem to resonate with the international bestsellers. The Far Pavillions is a favorite, as is Perfume. Anyway, I recommend this book highly. With two full time jobs, a child, and a novel that I'm revising, the fact that I finished it in three days should sufficiently recommend it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jacqie

    So, I actually got 400 pages into this one before deciding to put it down for good. Why didn't I finish? The book is 600 pages long, and the action part of the book (spying ) doesn't get started for 350 pages. The first half of the book is all character development and set-up. Unfortunately, 400 pages into the book, I really don't have a good idea who our heroine is. She says she's uneducated, yet is some sort of social chameleon who gets by on faking her way through everything. And you know, tha So, I actually got 400 pages into this one before deciding to put it down for good. Why didn't I finish? The book is 600 pages long, and the action part of the book (spying ) doesn't get started for 350 pages. The first half of the book is all character development and set-up. Unfortunately, 400 pages into the book, I really don't have a good idea who our heroine is. She says she's uneducated, yet is some sort of social chameleon who gets by on faking her way through everything. And you know, that's actually pretty interesting, but we never get to see it play out. It's all telling the reader about it after the fact- many scenes are written as Sira telling us generally what happens as time passes, but we don't actually see the scenes, read the dialogue, or get any action. Lots and lots of general plot summary, not as much plot exposition. I think that reading about spying using a fancy dressmaking business as a cover makes a great story. However, after 400 pages I don't think I'm actually going to get to read that story, but only a summary of it. In addition to our heroine being sort of a cipher, I was looking forward to descriptions of Spanish Protectorate Morocco, Madrid, and all sorts of other romantic locations. None of the locations really came alive for me, and the descriptions didn't transport me there. Maybe that's a function of the book being translated from Spanish, but that didn't help my reading experience. I wanted to read more details about the colors of fabric and fashion in the 30's. It's not usually my kind of thing, but knowing the book was about that subject I was ready for the visuals. Never got those either. I got the feeling that dressmaking was a convenient way for the main character to make a living for plot purposes, but not that the author had researched history of fashion or sewing in detail. So, lots of possibilities, not a book which delivered on them for me. After 400 pages, I'm ready to read something else.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dr.

    Being an English Major I am very critical of literature. I will pick a book a part(because I can). I began reading this because it was ent to me to review. I wasn't looking forward to it at all. I was actually dreading it. So I began reading it with a terrible attitude & knew I was going to be critical(probably unjustly) in my review. I began the book while waiting for a doctor's appointment with a doctor who is routinely at least 1 hour behind schedule. I had to keep rereading the beginning beca Being an English Major I am very critical of literature. I will pick a book a part(because I can). I began reading this because it was ent to me to review. I wasn't looking forward to it at all. I was actually dreading it. So I began reading it with a terrible attitude & knew I was going to be critical(probably unjustly) in my review. I began the book while waiting for a doctor's appointment with a doctor who is routinely at least 1 hour behind schedule. I had to keep rereading the beginning because I was "zoning out" and my attention was straying. But after a bit I began to like the book. I was determined to NOT love it because I was in a terrible mood. I closed it for my appointment to discover I was missing it. I couldn't wait to get home to read it again! I read it straight through. It is amazing! So don't judge the book by its synopsis which makes it sound boring. This book is very well written. It takes a truely talented writer to pen a book like this. It flows smoothly like a glass of good wine. And it will intoxicate you whether you want it to or not. You will become drunker with each page. Sure this is a historical novel---it will educate the reader on the history of the 30's and 40's. But it will draw you in and make you care about the characters and regret when the book ends. This book is so wonderful I would love to see it made into a nice movie. SO read, devour each word because it ends too soon and will haunt you for days afterwards wanting more and thinking about the characters as if they are real people.

  6. 5 out of 5

    B the BookAddict

    I, in some small degree, ruined this book for myself by reading another book also set in Morocco at the same time. TTIB deserves to be read singularly. It provides for the reader a wonderfully insightful look at Spain and Morocco in the 1930s, setting in place events regarding the involvement of the Germans as they struggled to influence the Spanish government. In the middle of all this is Sira, a talented seamstress who finds herself in the unenviable position of spying for the British governme I, in some small degree, ruined this book for myself by reading another book also set in Morocco at the same time. TTIB deserves to be read singularly. It provides for the reader a wonderfully insightful look at Spain and Morocco in the 1930s, setting in place events regarding the involvement of the Germans as they struggled to influence the Spanish government. In the middle of all this is Sira, a talented seamstress who finds herself in the unenviable position of spying for the British government which is also jostling for Spain's favours. 4.5★

  7. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    A Tad Long But Overall A Pleasant Read. This novel begins in Spain just before World War II. It was a commendable book although a tad long where some chapters could have been condensed to keep the reader from becoming bored. The main character Sira, was a dressmaker for several rich women who were married to high ranking German officials. While Sira created outfits for these women, she would listen to their gossip and soon found herself taking a much different direction in life than she could eve A Tad Long But Overall A Pleasant Read. This novel begins in Spain just before World War II. It was a commendable book although a tad long where some chapters could have been condensed to keep the reader from becoming bored. The main character Sira, was a dressmaker for several rich women who were married to high ranking German officials. While Sira created outfits for these women, she would listen to their gossip and soon found herself taking a much different direction in life than she could ever have imagined. In general it is a pleasant read overall.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I love a good historical novel. This one has elements I am familiar with; Germans and Nazis, mixed with elements I knew little about - the Spanish Civil War, the leadership bought by the Nazis and how the Allies dealt with attempts to keep Spain out of WWII. There are four parts to the book but all are told by Sira's perspective. Sira is a humble seamstress in Madrid, helping in the shop where her mother works. She learns skills, is promoted, meets a nice boy, gets engaged then runs off with anot I love a good historical novel. This one has elements I am familiar with; Germans and Nazis, mixed with elements I knew little about - the Spanish Civil War, the leadership bought by the Nazis and how the Allies dealt with attempts to keep Spain out of WWII. There are four parts to the book but all are told by Sira's perspective. Sira is a humble seamstress in Madrid, helping in the shop where her mother works. She learns skills, is promoted, meets a nice boy, gets engaged then runs off with another man who is not a good man and leaves her to fend for herself. This part is setting the stage for what Sira does next and explains her reasons for not seeking romantic involvement, and explains how she winds up in Morocco. Meanwhile, back in Spain, a horrendous war is raging between two factions. One political party has the money and support of the Nazi party, which I was unaware. When the war ends and the dust settles, the citizens of Spain are war weary, hungry, and desperate. The political history of this part of Spain was new information to me. I had a difficult time keeping all the characters and their affiliations straight but this is key to Sira's endeavors. The author uses actual people who were instrumental to the rebuilding of Spain after this war and the beginning of WWII. Sira opens a dress shop and becomes good friends with Mrs. Rosalinda Fox, the mistress of a high ranking political figure in Spain. She rubs shoulders with Franco and his brother-in-law, overhears conversations not meant for her ears and eventually this comes in handy. It is an interesting book because it is so well researched and includes information on the role of Spain and the political pulse at the time of Hitler's rise. It is also quite human in that Sira comes alive within the pages of the story and her struggles with her own identity are realistic. The characters from both Morocco and Madrid are well developed and entertaining (Candeleria and Felix). Good, educational, and solid writing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    As it takes place during the Spanish Civil War (albeit seen from the distance of North Africa)and World War II, I was very interested in the setting of the book, as I don't know much about what was going on in Spain during this period. The premise is very promising: a young, poor Spanish seamstress is ruined by love and has to create herself anew as a seamstress to the high society of Tunisia. I was interested during the first two parts of the book, especially as world events start to creep into As it takes place during the Spanish Civil War (albeit seen from the distance of North Africa)and World War II, I was very interested in the setting of the book, as I don't know much about what was going on in Spain during this period. The premise is very promising: a young, poor Spanish seamstress is ruined by love and has to create herself anew as a seamstress to the high society of Tunisia. I was interested during the first two parts of the book, especially as world events start to creep into her world. However, I just couldn't continue reading in Part III. (Spoiler Alert) The heroine becomes a British spy and I presume the rest of the book follows her adventures as an agent. But there was no real reason why she became a spy...she wasn't politically involved, she wasn't looking for financial reward, there was no incentive to save a person or a country she loved. She did it because her best friend, an Englishwoman and a real historical character, wanted her to and her mother, without any real explanation, says she thinks it's a good idea. She had no "skin in the game" so to speak, no passion, no real emotional involvement in the cause, so I ceased to care.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

    I will have a full review on FBC in early November and I will c/p it here so for now several quick points: - the book is indeed a page turner and you never really know when time passes reading it; I was shocked to see it ending and I could have read another 600 pages easily - the ending is good and satisfying but the book could have gone on for a while more for sure - a first narration and the voice starts a bit slow - one thing I cannot abide is silly narrators and for the first 70-80 pages Sira I will have a full review on FBC in early November and I will c/p it here so for now several quick points: - the book is indeed a page turner and you never really know when time passes reading it; I was shocked to see it ending and I could have read another 600 pages easily - the ending is good and satisfying but the book could have gone on for a while more for sure - a first narration and the voice starts a bit slow - one thing I cannot abide is silly narrators and for the first 70-80 pages Sira makes some really dumb decisions that one can see for a mile that are dumb and in an obvious way - but then it gets its footing about page 80 or so and it never looks back - the book though is more detached and tension-less than i expected; it has its emotional moments for sure, but fewer than I would have liked - the outside world is especially colorless - Sira is a very strong character, later there is one more intriguing character though she has only a limited number of pages, while only in the final 100 pages some more secondary characters come to life, but overall the book lacks strong characters beyond Sira. Overall a page turner but a much lighter novel than i expected based on its blurb and advanced word, so a very good read but not a really memorable blow me away one like say last year's The Invisible Bridge FBC Rv: INTRODUCTION: Maria Duenas holds a PhD in English Philology and is currently a professor at the University of Murcia. She has also taught at American universities, is the author of several academic articles, and has participated in various educational, cultural, and editorial projects. After her immensely successful novelistic debut in 2009 in Spain with El Tiempo entre Costuras translated this year as The Time in Between, she is currently working on her second novel. "Between Youth and Adulthood . . . 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" The Time in Between has been translated by Miguel Saenz. OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: A huge bestseller in Europe, The Time in Between intrigued me quite a lot when I read its blurb and the praise offered to it in various places. I asked for and was lucky to get an e-arc from the publishers and on opening the novel I was swept by its voice and narrative flow, so despite what turned into a somewhat rough first 50 pages, I kept turning the pages... "A typewriter shattered my destiny. The culprit was a Hispano-Olivetti, and for weeks, a store window kept it from me. Looking back now, from the vantage point of the years gone by, it’s hard to believe a simple mechanical object could have the power to divert the course of an entire life in just four short days, to pulverize the intricate plans on which it was built. And yet that is how it was, and there was nothing I could have done to stop it." The Time in Between is a first person narration from Sira Quiroga who is raised by her single seamstress mother in the Madrid of the 20's and 30's. After the opening paragraph above that hooked me on the style, the novel slows down for a while - one thing I cannot abide is silly narrators and for the first 40-50 pages Sira makes some really dumb decisions that one can see for a mile that are dumb in an obvious manner, so while the actions of the heroine are understandable somewhat as due to lack of maturity, etc, they are presented in the novel in quite an annoying fashion. However once we get past the "we've seen it coming, now let's get on with the real story" moment, The Time in Between gets its footing and it never looks back The Time in Between flows so well that despite its 600+ page length I was shocked to see the novel ending and I could have read another 600 pages easily; actually the ending is good and satisfying to a large extent but the book could have gone on for a while more for sure. Maria Duenas sure knows how to spin a story and I would say that she proved here to be one of those natural born storytellers that the audience can listen to for a long time... The other main strength of the novel beside the voice and the narrative flow, is the world building; or if you want the recreation of the atmosphere of the Spanish Marocco and later Madrid in the turbulent years from 1936 to the 1940's. Filled with expatriates, intrigue, even decadence but also with poverty and anger, the main cities of Tangier and Tetouan where the action takes place in the first part of the novel come fully to life and we see quite a few facets as Sira's fate twists and turns. This part is exceptional once we pass the first 50 pages. Later when the action moves back to the Iberian mainland and to a Madrid devastated by the civil war and sullenly hunkering down under the new order, the atmosphere becomes bleaker but the optimistic voice of Sira never falters. As slight negatives, The Time in Between is more detached and tension-less than I expected; it has its emotional moments for sure, but fewer than I would have liked. While Sira is a very strong character and the novel is her story after all, the secondary characters wax and wane through it with pages where indeed there appear others who are quite impressive, but also pages where only Sira seem real. Overall The Time in Between (A+, highly recommended as an example of superb storytelling ability) is a page turner but a lighter novel than I expected based on its blurb and advanced word, so an excellent read but not a blow me away one like say last year's The Invisible Bridge.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    Fun, exciting and exotic! I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that is part of the reason I chose this book - such a beautiful cover. The book takes place in Madrid, Morocco and Portugal during the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Part romance, part spy novel, part historical fiction (including some characters who really existed), this book was a page turner. I loved all the locales, but especially the parts set in Morocco. Fun, exciting and exotic! I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that is part of the reason I chose this book - such a beautiful cover. The book takes place in Madrid, Morocco and Portugal during the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Part romance, part spy novel, part historical fiction (including some characters who really existed), this book was a page turner. I loved all the locales, but especially the parts set in Morocco.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joy D

    Set in Spain, Morocco, and Portugal during the Spanish Civil War and World War II, this book tells the story of Sira, a poor seamstress born in Madrid, who transforms into an acclaimed designer. Sira falls in love and migrates to Morocco during the Spanish Civil War, where she endures many hardships and must remake her life. She is swept up in the turbulent events of the era, including politics and espionage. This is the type of historical fiction I enjoy. The author sets the story around fiction Set in Spain, Morocco, and Portugal during the Spanish Civil War and World War II, this book tells the story of Sira, a poor seamstress born in Madrid, who transforms into an acclaimed designer. Sira falls in love and migrates to Morocco during the Spanish Civil War, where she endures many hardships and must remake her life. She is swept up in the turbulent events of the era, including politics and espionage. This is the type of historical fiction I enjoy. The author sets the story around fictional characters and supplements the narrative with real people. It feels authentic to the time period. The story includes romantic relationships, but it is not primarily a romance. Sira must find an inner core of strength to overcome many obstacles, and her character growth is noticeable. The storyline is stitched together in segments that portray the main events in Sira’s life, which seems appropriate in a novel about a seamstress. There is a lot going on in this novel and it offers a pleasing mix of character development and plot. The pace ramps up in the second half when the espionage storyline kicks in. The story is narrated by Sira, looking back on her life. “And that is my story, or at least that’s how I remember it, perhaps varnished over with the sheen that decades and nostalgia give to things. What happened in Spain after the European war, as well as the traces of many people who have passed through this account—Beigbeder, Rosalinda Fox, Serrano Suñer, and others—can be found in history books and archives, and in the memories of older generations. Their comings and goings, their glories and miseries were objective facts that in their day filled newspapers and fed the salons and the clusters of people gossiping on street corners.” I particularly enjoyed the depiction of life in Tétouan , Morocco. The author does a great job of establishing an ambiance of color and activity. The writing style is detailed, perhaps occasionally too detailed, but overall, it is an entertaining piece of historical fiction.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Read by Zilah Mendoza Length 21.8 hrs • UNABRIDGED This is the story of a young seamstress and her mother during the Spanish Civil War. After being engaged with a government clerk, Sira falls in love with a salesman and decides to fly with him to Morocco. In the meantime, she met the father she never knew. By returning to Spain, she then becomes an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II. This is a story with a first-person narrator which makes the narrative quite long and too boring in Read by Zilah Mendoza Length 21.8 hrs • UNABRIDGED This is the story of a young seamstress and her mother during the Spanish Civil War. After being engaged with a government clerk, Sira falls in love with a salesman and decides to fly with him to Morocco. In the meantime, she met the father she never knew. By returning to Spain, she then becomes an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II. This is a story with a first-person narrator which makes the narrative quite long and too boring in my opinion. Besides, the heroine is very inconstant emotionally which makes the narrative goes up and down. In summary. I have already read better books about the Spanish Civil War. Unfortunately this book doesn't bring any interesting issue about this theme.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Lost in translation? Not a bit of it. I often find that books written in another language are never quite the same when translated and when I first began to read this book, it seemed a little flat, even though the story was moving on quite quickly. However, after a very short time, things really started to pick up and from then on, I couldn't put it down. Set in the time of the Spanish Civil War and the run up to World War II, the book is set partly in Spain and then in Morocco and follows the for Lost in translation? Not a bit of it. I often find that books written in another language are never quite the same when translated and when I first began to read this book, it seemed a little flat, even though the story was moving on quite quickly. However, after a very short time, things really started to pick up and from then on, I couldn't put it down. Set in the time of the Spanish Civil War and the run up to World War II, the book is set partly in Spain and then in Morocco and follows the fortunes (and misfortunes) of Sira Quigoria, the daughter of an impoverished mother and an absent father, who features very briefly in her life. The book is superbly written. The author's descriptive powers are excellent. They really bring the story to life - whether she is describing Sira's fear at the railway station, or the garments she made for her clients, you are feeling what she felt and seeing what she saw. The characters are fascinating. I especially liked Candelaria, the Moroccan landlady with a heart of gold; and Felix Arunda, who lives in the same apartment block with his drunken and demanding mother. Strangely enough, I even found myself warming to the police chief, Commissioner Vazquez, whom Sira feared so much, perhaps unnecessarily. Although this is rather a long book, don't let that put you off. Its structure is such that reading it is not at all daunting. It is divided into four parts, and the individual chapters are quite short. I found myself whizzing through it in no time. I have not seen any references to other books by this author so I assume that this is her first novel. I hope it is not her last.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    I had to reluctantly let this book go after reading about 120 pages. There were several aspects that I could not overcome in order to keep ploughing through its 600 plus pages. Perhaps it's me, perhaps I am suffering from reader fatigue and have lost my patience with books that do not get to their point, especially in an age when publishers expect (nay, demand) that the novel's trajectory be clear by the end of the first chapter. I picked up this book as I was interested in learning about Morocco I had to reluctantly let this book go after reading about 120 pages. There were several aspects that I could not overcome in order to keep ploughing through its 600 plus pages. Perhaps it's me, perhaps I am suffering from reader fatigue and have lost my patience with books that do not get to their point, especially in an age when publishers expect (nay, demand) that the novel's trajectory be clear by the end of the first chapter. I picked up this book as I was interested in learning about Morocco in the period between the world wars, and the story of a humble seamstress surviving amidst the torrents of intrigue and upheaval of those times sounded very intriguing. I wanted to hear the vernacular voices revealing their world to me. Instead the voice of the protagonist/narrator (and all the other characters in her millieu) came across as educated, sophisticated and therefore out of character, there was much overwritten dialogue, and the pace was very, very slow. And Morocco did not come alive to me. I felt that the book could have been halved in length and we wouldn't have missed a beat. This may not be the author's fault entirely, but perhaps the translator's, or perhaps "long is still beautiful" in Spanish literature. I may return to this book one day, when I am older and less harried with the prospect of living, and start at page 200 and see if the remainder of the book erases my bad start.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    Yes,this was a brilliant book!!!I couldn't turn the pages past enough to see what was next:)It is a big book,I know,but if your enjoying the story,the pages will fly by. The novel follows Sira from her early days in Madrid as an impetuous teenager in love with a con man, to Morocco as a bankrupt criminal, to Tetouan as a couturier businesswoman, back to Madrid, and then to Lisbon to spy on the Germans. Duenas stitches together Sira's world of espionage with her job as a dressmaker. Sira's skills t Yes,this was a brilliant book!!!I couldn't turn the pages past enough to see what was next:)It is a big book,I know,but if your enjoying the story,the pages will fly by. The novel follows Sira from her early days in Madrid as an impetuous teenager in love with a con man, to Morocco as a bankrupt criminal, to Tetouan as a couturier businesswoman, back to Madrid, and then to Lisbon to spy on the Germans. Duenas stitches together Sira's world of espionage with her job as a dressmaker. Sira's skills translate into a complex and brilliant way of passing on messages – Morse code done in the sketches of new patterns – stitch lines representing the short and long dashes. Her high fashion sense gives her an in with the wives of the high-ranking German military leaders, and she listens carefully to their gossip as they try on her creations.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is several things: It is a coming-on-age story. It is a Romance. It is a spy novel and it is a first-person "memoir." I didn't like it very much. The author's style is not very polished. Duenas never seems to get her character into the action in such a way that the reader is there with her. She describes the action rather than having the characters inhabit it. The plot is certainly ingenous and appears to be based somewhat on facts. At least the Acknowledgement at the back of the book This book is several things: It is a coming-on-age story. It is a Romance. It is a spy novel and it is a first-person "memoir." I didn't like it very much. The author's style is not very polished. Duenas never seems to get her character into the action in such a way that the reader is there with her. She describes the action rather than having the characters inhabit it. The plot is certainly ingenous and appears to be based somewhat on facts. At least the Acknowledgement at the back of the book seems to give credance to several of her characters being actual persons. However, the reader is never given those heart-stopping moments of fear that something really bad is going to happen to Siri. Even the most heart-wreching experience of finding out that she is pregnant, and then being abandoned by her lover is told from a distance. During the exprience, she appears to have gone to bed --- or to her room! We are told of the events after the fact. And how horribly broken-hearted she is. But she always tells us of her emotions, rather than experiencing them. The reader is thus removed from the action two-fold. Her continued telling us of how she does not fit in, as she rises from simple dressmaker to accomplished spy (all on her own, with no training, as she keeps telling us over and over again) also keeps the reader from enjoying her gradual growth. The awkwardness of this style of story-telling kept interfering with my enjoyment of the story. Even the ending, where she appears to have integrated her growth into her personality --- as she tells off Hillgarth and the new love of her life, Logan, is awkward. And then are we set up for a second book -- the perils of thier spy work during WWII?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Skye

    Every so often I encounter a novel that keeps me mesmerized and enchanted, This novel is a masterpiece in writing, story telling, characterization, plot and setting. Told in first-person narrative, this is also a character- driven book; the reader sees, feels and experiences everything through the protagonist's perspective, and yet there are many mysterious areas unexplored. I applaud Sira's bravery, quiet dignity and immense adaptability. She also exudes an innocence and a lack of selfish moti Every so often I encounter a novel that keeps me mesmerized and enchanted, This novel is a masterpiece in writing, story telling, characterization, plot and setting. Told in first-person narrative, this is also a character- driven book; the reader sees, feels and experiences everything through the protagonist's perspective, and yet there are many mysterious areas unexplored. I applaud Sira's bravery, quiet dignity and immense adaptability. She also exudes an innocence and a lack of selfish motives; she responds to every situation and leaves behind a sense of grave, painstaking accomplishment. Set in Madrid, Morocco and Lisbon, the reader gains a inside experience of the Spanish Civil War and the onset of World War II, but more importantly, the dramatic effects war had upon these countries' inhabitants, and the bravery of those willing to risk all to stave off evil. And intricately woven within the sentences, paragraphs and chapters, there are other tales within tales, and these moments of personal encounters are truly intimate: captivating and transcending.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    This book was written in the first person but there was one section where it reverted to third person as the character who was writing the story could not have known what was happening in that section as it was occurring in another country. Then, at the end of the chapter the narrator said that they had discovered the information through letters that had arrived from another character. What sort of advice was this writer receiving from her editor? Obviously not good advice as I could see a way o This book was written in the first person but there was one section where it reverted to third person as the character who was writing the story could not have known what was happening in that section as it was occurring in another country. Then, at the end of the chapter the narrator said that they had discovered the information through letters that had arrived from another character. What sort of advice was this writer receiving from her editor? Obviously not good advice as I could see a way out of it immediately. It was clumsy and not the sort of writing I would expect from a published author. I found that the first two thirds of the book were rather slow and laboured and could have done with some judicious editing. It was only the final third of the book where it really captured my attention and I was hankering to find out what was going to happen. I would not be recommending this book as I think there are many other books that readers would enjoy more.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Isabelrt

    Boring and predictable, filled with every possible cliché. Since it was kind of hard to put all of them in one single "normal" book, Dueñas piles them up by turning a mini series (each devoted to one or to clichés) into a single book. I disagree with whoever said it´s a tale about a self-made woman, sort of an ode to the independent, strong female persona, too. The lady in question is dragged through the story by the hands of others. A couple of them are women, but they´re there only to introduce Boring and predictable, filled with every possible cliché. Since it was kind of hard to put all of them in one single "normal" book, Dueñas piles them up by turning a mini series (each devoted to one or to clichés) into a single book. I disagree with whoever said it´s a tale about a self-made woman, sort of an ode to the independent, strong female persona, too. The lady in question is dragged through the story by the hands of others. A couple of them are women, but they´re there only to introduce the new scene (the old woman who provides the means for the first professional take off, the young one who provides the means for the social one). In everything else, it´s the men in the story who define her. All in all, a tiresome book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    The Time In Between is a comprehensively challenging fictional debut; over 600 pages of minutely researched Spanish history is skillfully woven into a page-turning tome that totally tugs the reader into the fascinating life of a remarkable young woman whose determination, strength, and demeanor irrevocably changes her destiny. The consequential trials endured during and after Spain’s Civil War, leaves a country politically and ideologically divided, its citizens cautious not only of what the new The Time In Between is a comprehensively challenging fictional debut; over 600 pages of minutely researched Spanish history is skillfully woven into a page-turning tome that totally tugs the reader into the fascinating life of a remarkable young woman whose determination, strength, and demeanor irrevocably changes her destiny. The consequential trials endured during and after Spain’s Civil War, leaves a country politically and ideologically divided, its citizens cautious not only of what the new regime will offer, but also of speculation how their lives will be further altered as Spain becomes a precious pawn between Britain and Germany, the two main players as World War II descends upon this war-weary country. Daughter of a Madrid dressmaker, Sira’s initial efforts to be more independent than her mother miserably fail; unknowingly her serendipitous recourse to join her mother in one of Madrid’s famed couturier’s back room results into a captivating journey which Sira could never have imagined. Infatuated with a callous lover, Sira travels to Morocco where she is left penurious, shamefully humiliated, and unable to pay hotel expenses incurred by her devious lover. Arrested by a sympathetic local police chief, her dignity and future unhinged, Sira resolves to pay her debt any way possible. When her skills as a seamstress are noticed by Nazi officers’ wives, Sira captivates them with the unusually beautiful fabrics secreted within certain sections of Tetuán, her temporary home. As she gains recognition for her exceptional couturier’s flair, Sira, a woman of countless talents, is introduced to a dangerously clandestine world that exists within a world at war. Her eventual entre and covert collaboration thrust Sira into a quagmire of unremitting vigilance which requires exhaustively instinctive discernment of distinguishing who is trustworthy, and who is traitor. Maria Dueñas deliberately infuses true historical characters and locales into this exquisitely scripted narrative. Daunting at first, I was amazed how quickly mesmerizing this book became, and not only was it an unexpected lesson in history, but also one of the best books I have read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    PDXReader

    I'm very puzzled by the wonderful reviews of this book. Most of it was very slow (it did pick up over the past 150 pages or so). The plot is nonsensical; the heroine's "spying" seemed pointless, reliant on coincidence, and not carried out in a rational fashion. I didn't care about the heroine's predicaments or about her as a character. I found the plot incredibly predictable and not in the least romantic. And, the heroine was constantly bumping into people she knew, as if there were only half a I'm very puzzled by the wonderful reviews of this book. Most of it was very slow (it did pick up over the past 150 pages or so). The plot is nonsensical; the heroine's "spying" seemed pointless, reliant on coincidence, and not carried out in a rational fashion. I didn't care about the heroine's predicaments or about her as a character. I found the plot incredibly predictable and not in the least romantic. And, the heroine was constantly bumping into people she knew, as if there were only half a dozen people in all of North Africa. The writing was OK, but wordy without ever creating an atmosphere. There was little sense of history in this "historical fiction" novel. Overall it was a huge disappointment.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan (aka Just My Op)

    The first few pages of this book really grabbed me, especially these first couple of sentences: A typewriter shattered my destiny. The culprit was a Hispano-Olivetti, and for weeks, a store window kept it from me. The story seemed like it was going to be interesting, and I liked the writing. Then the protagonist, Sira, turned into a simpering victim who made a bad decision and then let others continue making bad decisions for her. I'm happy that she changed as the story went along. The story ti The first few pages of this book really grabbed me, especially these first couple of sentences: A typewriter shattered my destiny. The culprit was a Hispano-Olivetti, and for weeks, a store window kept it from me. The story seemed like it was going to be interesting, and I liked the writing. Then the protagonist, Sira, turned into a simpering victim who made a bad decision and then let others continue making bad decisions for her. I'm happy that she changed as the story went along. The story ties together fiction with historical people and events, and the combination should have made me very happy. I'm sad to say it didn't The book was too long at about 600 pages. Long books don't scare me away, but they do have to entertain me for the whole story. This one had too much description, and even though I am a fan of well-done description, it seemed there was just too much describing in this one. I couldn't connect with the characters, and while I was interested in what would happen next, it was more a feeling of curiosity than caring about the characters. The history wasn't written in a way that caused me to want to learn more, and the telling of it seemed a bit muddled in places. Some of the story relied on coincidences that just were a little too convenient. Most reviews of this book are very positive, so I think that many people who like historical fiction will like it, but it just didn't work for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Adina

    I do not really know how to rate this book. I enjoyed reading it most of the time but I was not impressed, as I was expecting. Another moment when I wish I could give half stars. The blurb advertises the book as a love and spy story set in Spain and Moroccco in the time of the Spanish Civil War and 2nd World War. I don't think the blurb says the whole truth. The spying part starts at page 350/600, after more than half of the story is done. Also, there is not much Romance in Sira's story. She fal I do not really know how to rate this book. I enjoyed reading it most of the time but I was not impressed, as I was expecting. Another moment when I wish I could give half stars. The blurb advertises the book as a love and spy story set in Spain and Moroccco in the time of the Spanish Civil War and 2nd World War. I don't think the blurb says the whole truth. The spying part starts at page 350/600, after more than half of the story is done. Also, there is not much Romance in Sira's story. She falls in love in the beginning of the book and she is dumped somewhere in the first 50 pages. She falls in love again but her feelings are barely touched upon, they are not in focus. I do not understand why the Romanian translation is called The seamstress loves. Maybe if you count tailoring as one of her loves... So, it isn't a love story and it is only half a spy story. What is it then? Historical fiction? Probably. Although I learned interesting facts about the Civil War and the Spanish protectorate of Morocco I cannot say that the history came alive. Another think that bothered me was that we were told about the main events usually after they happened and that made the book feel static. All in all, The Time in Between is an entertaining and easy read, carrying not much depth, probably suitable for a vacation on the beach.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gaile

    This is a poignant book featuring a child raised in a dressmaker's shop until the Spanish Civil War causes then shop to close. Engaged to one man, Sira leaves him for another only to be betrayed and left penniless in Morocco. In her efforts to excavate her mother from Madrid, she meets Marcus Logan but is too afraid to trust him and as more and more Germans pour into Spain, she finds herself recruited into espionage for the west keeping her ears out for information from her customers to pass to This is a poignant book featuring a child raised in a dressmaker's shop until the Spanish Civil War causes then shop to close. Engaged to one man, Sira leaves him for another only to be betrayed and left penniless in Morocco. In her efforts to excavate her mother from Madrid, she meets Marcus Logan but is too afraid to trust him and as more and more Germans pour into Spain, she finds herself recruited into espionage for the west keeping her ears out for information from her customers to pass to the west. along the way, her personality changes to a mature, sophisticated, elegantly dressed woman.Several plots weave the novel. It is full of opulence, glamor, wealthy people, fine hotels and germans doing shoddy business deals in Spain and Portugal. Then on assignment in Lisbon, she comes face to face again with Marcus Logan. The last chapters are very sweet and tie everything up in a neat knot. I knew nothing about the history of Spain, Portugal or Morocco so this was an eye opener for me. A best seller across Europe, I highly recommend this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I'm listing this as read for 2016 because I made it over half into the book. The book starts promisingly enough, but the plot then becomes too predictable too justify the info dump after info dump the main character feels she must give. Yes, honey, I know you just told me two paragraphs ago. First 100 pages are wonderful and then you are like, wtf. I'm listing this as read for 2016 because I made it over half into the book. The book starts promisingly enough, but the plot then becomes too predictable too justify the info dump after info dump the main character feels she must give. Yes, honey, I know you just told me two paragraphs ago. First 100 pages are wonderful and then you are like, wtf.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    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 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 (view spoiler)[is reunited with her mother (hide spoiler)] . 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!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anne Bogel

    First, the drawbacks: the dialogue on this one was pretty weak. Conversation is okay but there are so many painful extended monologues. It's possible that's because of the translation, but I doubt it. But I still gave this one four stars because it's a well-written (minus the dialogue, obviously), well-crafted book with a great storyline and imaginative plot. All in all a great read. First, the drawbacks: the dialogue on this one was pretty weak. Conversation is okay but there are so many painful extended monologues. It's possible that's because of the translation, but I doubt it. But I still gave this one four stars because it's a well-written (minus the dialogue, obviously), well-crafted book with a great storyline and imaginative plot. All in all a great read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    I vacillated between 3 and 4, but ultimately this is one that I would only recommend based on certain tastes. I was expecting to devour this novel--big, sweeping, historical fiction of the international variety—and instead it took me over a month to finish it as I’d lose interest. I didn’t find the storytelling to be of The Shadow of the Wind caliber (as billed), instead it was a little more reminiscent of Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Woman of Substance. That’s not a strike, just not the high brow I vacillated between 3 and 4, but ultimately this is one that I would only recommend based on certain tastes. I was expecting to devour this novel--big, sweeping, historical fiction of the international variety—and instead it took me over a month to finish it as I’d lose interest. I didn’t find the storytelling to be of The Shadow of the Wind caliber (as billed), instead it was a little more reminiscent of Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Woman of Substance. That’s not a strike, just not the high brow literary I anticipated based on the reviews. There were moments when I was swept away by the story, but just as often, I found myself counting pages to the end of a chapter, then interspersing other books. From a historical perspective, this novel is well researched (bibliographic evidence included) and the author provides insights into the political situation in Morocco and Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, the German involvement in these regions in the early days of World War II and the rule of Generalissimo Franco. And just as effectively, Dueñas mixes in a cast of real life, previously unknown to me, fascinating characters that provide the framework for the latter part of the story. This was part woman coming into her own story, part romance novel, part espionage thriller and I suppose that’s why it didn’t always work for me. I would have enjoyed it much more if the author had spent more of its 600+ pages on the machinations of the intelligence services of which she became a part. In the end, it was more middle brow historical soap.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    3.5/5 Nearly a decade ago, I added this book to my good ol' TBR, and I was able to find a copy of it two years after that. Between then and now, I've gone through myriad reading focuses, from familiar authors to the 1001 lists to genres of my youth to the increasingly specific diversity strains that I cultivate an example of during this month of women in translation. The cover is pleasing, length hasn't put me off for some time (this is my fourth longest read of the year thus far, 250 pages short 3.5/5 Nearly a decade ago, I added this book to my good ol' TBR, and I was able to find a copy of it two years after that. Between then and now, I've gone through myriad reading focuses, from familiar authors to the 1001 lists to genres of my youth to the increasingly specific diversity strains that I cultivate an example of during this month of women in translation. The cover is pleasing, length hasn't put me off for some time (this is my fourth longest read of the year thus far, 250 pages shorter than the third and 1700 shorter than the first), and historical fiction will likely always remain a pleasure of mine, especially when so academically (see the author's background and the work's ending bibliography) grounded in a venue I don't come across very often. So, when it comes to reasons for why this stayed on my shelf for so long, I suppose it hit one awkward crossroad or another throughout the years: too recent to work for my reading challenges; too rarely reviewed by my chosen GR reader community; too, despite its research and associated inputs, easy to process, especially when considering I didn't get a single quote out of it. On one level, it enchanted with its delightful descriptions of the venues of the rich and famous of yesterday; it engaged with its delving into the world of Spain and its surrounding countries and colonies; and it gratified with its portrayal of a strong, skilled, and resourceful woman. It also indulged too much in pathos to the detriment of the credibility of its characters and plot, and the siren call of WWII and Nazis overbalanced the narrative so much that I wouldn't be surprised if film versions, of which there is at least one, gave 2/3 of the movie time a section that was only 1/3 of the written work, if that. Still, there's enough going on the world, as well as less than two miles away from me, that this was probably a necessary instant gratification read that has and will do me some good in the days to come. As I said, this was an easy read, leastwise for me. Prose was alright, I'd imagine the vocab was none too complicated on either side of the language device, and the ways in which nearly every character broke off to monologue in their conversations was pretty much the only slightly unusual textual trope I saw used. The characters step in and step out when necessary, and the fact that all interpersonal conflict seems to be sucked up into a couple of individual big bads, a handful of two-pages-between-them sexual harassers, and the overarching menace that has proven so useful for many a work of historical fiction grounded in the 20th century, makes the 600 page journey between two main character identities and three different countries rather a smooth one. Flaws of this include barely delineated personalities between the number of characters (especially during the aforementioned monologues that pretty much all followed the same speaking format), an assumption that the reader's historically informed bias would provide much of the thrills and chills with little need for narrative explication (yes, Nazi bad, but what of the US refusing ships filled with Jewish refugees during this same time period?), and a less than through exploration of the setting's landscapes, each with their own individually charged and complicated histories, than I like in my historical fiction. Still, I'm glad the middle section, set in colonized Tetouan in Morocco, got the lion's share of the last, as the fact that I realize that the author did this on purpose to tantalize the fetishizing white mind doesn't preclude my fascinated exploration of a fictional rendering of a place I don't come across often enough in my reading. There also wasn't anything in the way of trauma/gore porn, and the blatant romanticization of white colonial times wasn't obnoxious enough for me to be anything more than dismissively critical of it. All in all, a very feel good read, with its fair share of romantic overtones that weren't so ridiculous as to cause me to refrain from indulging in them. So, I wouldn't mind watching a series that did something with this, whether it did its best to stick exactly to the narrative or branched off to eventually do its own thing amongst the rich vein of historical context that this particular work didn't mine anywhere near to its fullest. This would especially be the case if it weren't of US make, even more so if it were of Spain or some Spanish speaking origin, for while not everything international is made of gold, such is far more successful at making my brain work at its preferred level than the quagmires slung out willy nilly by my country's military industrial complex (look at where the approvals for funding are coming from in the case of war/military related movies and tell me I'm wrong about this one) of a film industry. My enjoyment of all the descriptions of the high and mighty lollygagging in the most fashionable of clothes and the most luxurious of places with the most precious goods available to them shows that I am not immune to what this kind of literature has to offer, and if there's anything my brain needs right now, it's a break in the form of this kind of super sumptuous, historically driven media. So, would I read more by Dueñas? Maaaaybe. Am I going to go full gung-ho into this sort of literature, so long as it's of the non-Anglo sort? Probably not, but giving it a chance doesn't seem a bad plan at all.

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