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The Time in Between

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  29,237 ratings  ·  3,424 reviews
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
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Hardcover, 615 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Atria Books (first published June 2009)
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Kimberly The book does deal with the time in between the wars, so the title kinda works in that regard...I wondered if it didn't have both meanings, since she …moreThe book does deal with the time in between the wars, so the title kinda works in that regard...I wondered if it didn't have both meanings, since she was also a dressmaker. The Seamstress was probably a simplified compromise for one of the English translations. When I originally researched the novel the wiki I found said it was released under both titles. If you have not seen it, the series based on this book on Netflix from Atena 3 is OUTSTANDING.(less)
Julie I would say PG... no graphic violence, sex or medical descriptions at all, but it does suggest that people sleep together, which would not be in a G-r…moreI would say PG... no graphic violence, sex or medical descriptions at all, but it does suggest that people sleep together, which would not be in a G-rated movie.(less)

Community Reviews

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Book Him Danno
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jim Fonseca
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spanish-authors
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 ...more
Elizabeth
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of The Far Pavilions, Perfume, The Book Theif
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.
Jacqie
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: didnt-finish
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
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Dr.
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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B the BookAddict
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Angela M

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
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Frances
Nov 30, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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Ellen
Jun 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novel
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 ...more
Nancy
Oct 24, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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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
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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
...more
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.
Dee
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maggie
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Shane
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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Annie Modesitt
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, fiction
It wasn't that the book was bad, it was an interesting story. But the author teased out elements of the story in such an unsatisfactory way that it was painful. Then, breathlessly, she'd practically leap over the pertinent piece of information in a coy manner;

[paraphrasing]
"I looked through the peep hole, and saw the person I expected to see. I let them in [blah, blah, blah]"

And then just before the end of the chapter she'd FINALLY toss in who'd been at the door. Just odd.

The whole book had this
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Marian
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
...more
Skye
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Robyn
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Isabelrt
Oct 28, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
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
...more
PDXReader
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Irene
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, gave-away
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
...more
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 ...more
Adina
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it
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
...more
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 ...more
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.
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
...more
Anne Bogel
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Victoria
Apr 08, 2014 rated it liked it
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 ...more
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
...more
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Play Book Tag: The Time In Between / María Dueñas – 4**** 10 26 Aug 18, 2018 01:47PM  
Play Book Tag: The Time in Between by María Dueñas - 4 stars 4 21 Aug 14, 2018 05:30PM  
Around the Year i...: The Time in Between, by Maria Duenas 1 19 May 21, 2016 09:17AM  
The Book Club: November, 2015 -- Pre-meeting Notes 3 9 Nov 08, 2015 09:43PM  
Más libros para Latinoamérica!! 1 19 Sep 26, 2015 12:28PM  
THE SEAMSTRESS 43 168 Jul 13, 2014 05:39PM  

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María Dueñas Vinuesa was born on 1964 in Puertollano, Spain. She has seven siblings. She is a professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Murcia, and is also an academic author and has worked at different universities in North America. She came into the spotlight in 2009, achieving great success in Spain thanks to her first novel, El tiempo entre costuras, published in Englis ...more

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