Northwestreader's Reviews > The Time in Between

The Time in Between by María Dueñas
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's review
Nov 21, 2011

really liked it
Read in November, 2011

This story is set during the Spanish Civil War, an era I only knew as the one Ernest Hemmingway wrote about. I never really understood which factions were fighting for which cause. I still can’t tell you with any clarity. With that being said, I did find this book interesting.
The reader follows Sira as she transitions from a young sheltered girl to a deft undercover spy. We watch as she starts as an errand girl for a Spanish seamstress and ends up as an accomplished couturier. We are party to her journey from being simply her mother’s daughter to being the mistress of a scheming man who is only after her worldly goods and then on through her gradual transformation into being a world class wartime spy. The development of the character through these journeys is well done and very readable.
The Time In Between does have a slow, rather laborious start while Duenas sets the scene and introduces the secondary characters. After the first several hundred pages, she begins to pick up the pace and the book segues into a real page turner. The chapters become much shorter and many of them leave you on the brink; there is no way you can put the book down at the end of the chapter because you have to read on to see what happens. But this is a first novel, and she will get the pacing down if she continues to write.
There are a few too many accidental, inconvenient or overly contrived encounters between characters, but they serve to move the story on. At the same time, Duenas is very creative in taking Sira’s skills in dressmaking and design and using them cleverly as tools in her spying efforts.
I found this to be a satisfying read.
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