Review: The Time In Between

I was given the opportunity to get my hands on an Advanced Reading Copy of this epic novel from a friend.  The book’s release date is set for November 8th, 2011.  Let me suggest right now that you reserve your copy today.

The Time In Between tells the tale of an incredible young woman, who starts the story as a humble seamstress in Madrid.  Love (not the good kind) moves her away from her mother (also a seamstress) to Morocco.  It is here that circumstances force Sira Quiroga to grow up very quickly.  Left penniless by her “love,” with charges against her in her new town, Sira recreates herself… for the first time.  This is the magic of the novel; how many times Sira not only copes, but finds new strength, courage and resourcefulness.  It is when she returns to Spain at the request of new friends that she finds herself to be the most sought-after dressmaker in Madrid, serving the wives of high-ranking Nazi officers.  There is a purpose to her position, and what follows is a page-burning tale of espionage, as Sira once again reinvents herself and becomes a highly skilled spy.  Her means of communication with British intelligence is fantastic; I won’t give the details.  Let’s just say that when she needs to report Nazi movements and handshakes to her superiors, you’ll be grinning ear to ear at the brilliance of the strategy.

The story’s characters are each marvelous in their own right; you’ll get to know each one inside and out, and will love almost all of them.  Almost.  😉

I’m not sure how you would categorize this book.  Is it historical fiction?  Yes.  The book covers the Spanish Civil War, and the rise of Hitler.  Is it romance?  Yes.  I’m sure you’ll be rooting for the same guy that I was.   Is it a thriller?  Yes.  She becomes a full-fledged spy.  It’s all of these things, and probably more.

It’s hard to believe that The Time In Between was Maria Duenas’ debut novel.  She’s been a household name in Spain for years thanks to the success of this story, and now it’s our turn to sink our teeth into her sprawling tale.  It’s rare when you come to the end of a novel, only to find yourself reading the Author’s Note and Bibliography, so you don’t have to close the book.  (Ok – I admit to being a geek.)  5 stars for me, and I’ll be anxiously waiting for Maria Duenas’ next tale.