Ugh, I just couldn't get past the ridiculously pretentious narrative voice. It's been a while since I absolutely refused to finish a book... Pity, I wUgh, I just couldn't get past the ridiculously pretentious narrative voice. It's been a while since I absolutely refused to finish a book... Pity, I was lookin' forward to it....more
One thing I like about this author is that he doesn't lord his knowledge of military jargon over you like some self-absorbed prick who inordinately enOne thing I like about this author is that he doesn't lord his knowledge of military jargon over you like some self-absorbed prick who inordinately enjoys the sound of his own voice; there's a quality of down-to-earth authenticity that comes through his prose. Not only does he include a glossary in the back of the novel but also introduces the terms individually over time, providing brief explanations initially then letting the contexts of the terms in all subsequent situations speak for themselves.
Overall, I thought this book was a lot of fun. I didn't really buy the twist near the end (rationally it made sense yet it still seemed to come out of nowhere), but the action was consistently well-done. What's more, I felt Cole successfully and believably portrayed the true complexity of a world inhabited by magically-inclined beings....more
Written in first person, The Time In Between is set in 1930s Spain (initially) and follows Sira Quiroga, daughter and apprentice to a seamstress. By hWritten in first person, The Time In Between is set in 1930s Spain (initially) and follows Sira Quiroga, daughter and apprentice to a seamstress. By her twenties she’s learned a great deal about the business which, unbeknownst to her, will help her immensely in the near future.
The novel opens splendidly: “A typewriter shattered my destiny.” Immediately you want to know how this could possibly be. From there the story is completely engaging.
Sira is already engaged to a government clerk at the beginning, but things go terribly awry when she meets a particularly charming salesman. Unfortunately, she decides to leave her fiance for Señor Suave and her life is completely turned upside down. She later ends up stranded in Morocco with her father’s inheritance in the hands of the conniving salesman, who’s gone off to God knows where. Though, perhaps this was a blessing in disguise; back home there’s a civil war a-brewing, and WWII is just around the corner…
With no means of leaving Morocco, fate has left Sira with no other choice but to depend on the one thing she knows well: how to sew clothes. With the help of a weary commissioner and a landlady of questionable repute, Sira decides to reinvent herself and open her own haute couture studio. Word starts to spread about her work, and before she knows it she’s developed quite the reputation.
What she wasn’t expecting by now was to become a target of a British intelligence recruiter. And that’s where things get really interesting…
Why I Love This Novel
First off, Dueñas really knows how to keep you turning the pages. There were several times throughout the story where I simply did not want to put my e-reader down. Interested writers could learn a thing or two on where to end their scenes and chapters from this author.
Another thing I mentioned before that was done well was the characters. Sira doesn’t especially grab me until the latter half of the book–which is, btw, over 600 pages long–so initially the secondary characters were what really caught my interest. Some are smoldering, some are quirky, and some are suspiciously plucky. In any case, these characters add a lot of spice to Sira’s adventures.
Something else I liked was the way Dueñas tied in the whole espionage thread. It developed slowly over time and when it came it made sense. Sira’s skills as a seamstress were brilliantly incorporated into the plot, both in the methods she passed on coded messages and her cover story for relocating to Spain in order to spy on a certain businessman. Overall, I thought this was done well.
There were very few things I did not like about this novel.
The Nit-Picky Cons
Genre writers are forever encouraged to “show, don’t tell”; put the reader in the center of the story rather than making them watch. It’s practically been drilled into our brains. But The Time In Between is historical fiction–and to be honest I’m not sure if that’s really under “genre fiction”. In any case, historical fiction tends to follow different rules than, say, fantasy does. I tend to see a lot more telling with historical and for some reason it seems a bit more acceptable there than it would in sf/f. (But maybe that’s just my skewed opinion.) In any case, I think The Time In Between does a lot of telling, but you know what? I actually didn’t mind it, for the most part. At first I was aware of it, but over time it didn’t matter because Dueñas tells the parts that need to be told, never more. And she does it interestingly.
This is really comparing apples to oranges, I realize, so it’s not so much a criticism as it is pointing out an observation.
The only real “con” I can think of with this novel is that sometimes Dueñas makes unnecessary long lists of things that have already happened–I presume for the purpose of reminding the reader. But we really don’t need to be reminded of all the details, just the major ones. And even then not all that often. I guess it’s just a matter of balance, is all.
…And maybe Sira could have been more interesting in the first half, as the secondary characters fairly outshined her.
Besides those things, I pretty much loved everything else about this novel and would give it 5/5 stars. Or how about hearts.
I thought the story was entertaining overall and I found the setting interesting, but going by the writing itself...I don't get the hype. Everything iI thought the story was entertaining overall and I found the setting interesting, but going by the writing itself...I don't get the hype. Everything is very transparent. Also, the whole "new rule" thing just seemed worked in for convenience, imo.
Still, it was an enjoyable read. Looking forward to the movie, for sure, this afternoon. :)...more