Customer Reviews for

The Time in Between

Average Rating 4
( 79 )
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5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(26)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Exceptional book

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...
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.

posted by bookhimdanno on September 4, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

If you like history, you should read this.

While the story here was fantastic, a lot of the book is devoted to historical background. I sometimes felt that Sira disappeared for the sake of slotting in large chunks of history, halting the plot and my interest. Overall though, the novel is beautifully written, I c...
While the story here was fantastic, a lot of the book is devoted to historical background. I sometimes felt that Sira disappeared for the sake of slotting in large chunks of history, halting the plot and my interest. Overall though, the novel is beautifully written, I cared about the characters, and the history is worth knowing.

posted by bfriedman on September 14, 2012

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  • Posted September 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Exceptional book

    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.

    17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 18, 2011

    Do Not Miss!

    Every once in a while, a long novel takes me on an emotional roller coaster, and I enjoy every minute. The Time in Between by María Dueñas is one of those novels. On only page 142, the main character can summarize her life thus: "I'd stopped being a humble dressmaker and transformed myself successively into a whole heap of different women. A civil service candidate, heiress of a major industrialist, globe-trotting lover to a scoundrel, hopeful aspirant to run an Argentine company, frustrated mother of an unborn child, a woman suspected of fraud and theft in debt up to her eyebrows, and a gunrunner camouflaged as an innocent local woman." As I progressed through the years and extraordinary events in the main character Sira's timeline, I would blithely update anyone who would listen about what kind of mess or adventure she'd stumbled into now.

    Sira is an ordinary girl with whom the reader can sympathize strongly, but she comes of age in a turbulent time and place: Spain in the 1930's. From her humble perspective, her only talent is sewing. She is distracted from her calling by a man who unwittingly sets the stage for her to regain her financial security and self esteem by becoming the most fashionable seamstress in Tetouan in Spanish Morocco. There, she meets rich and posh clientele and becomes friends with the lover of the most important man in the Spanish Protectorate, Colonel Beigbeder. Through plausible vicissitudes, her friends rescue her mother from war-torn Madrid, only to send Sira back there in the guise of a Moroccan seamstress who encodes messages about her Nazi customers to British Secret Intelligence in her dress patterns. Surprise visits from her past launch her into her most dangerous mission yet, where she can prove her abilities as a spy. The mission reunites her with the Englishman she loves, but can't allow herself to trust with her secret life.

    Sira's naivete throughout most of the first part is not only accurate for her historical context, but also allowed Dueñas to insert just the right balance of that historical context for the reader without ever being dry or overbearing. Overall, it's a balanced, factual approach while still showing the way the events may have impacted the lives of real people. The one place it goes wrong is around Chapter 35, when the narrative gets away from Sira to detail the anguish of Beigbeder when he returns to a not-so-friendly Madrid. This could have been handled differently or taken out all together without taking away from information necessary to understand the story.

    I would have liked to read this in the original Spanish, but the translation is well done. Only occasionally did it seem a little too literal, and with so much going on, that sin was easy to overlook. The character Rosalinda Fox's multilingual mishmash presents a special challenge to the translator and Daniel Hahn does a decent job scrambling languages while making her dialogue intelligible to the reader.

    The original title, El tiempo entre costuras (literally, "The Time Between Stitches") is more relatable to the story. The reader in English doesn't find out what The Time in Between refers to until the very last line. While the end of the book is a relevant reflection of what has gone before, I can't help thinking there must be a more catchy title to go with this amazing journey.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2011

    Live To Read

    This novel truly captures the atmosphere of the 1930's and 1940's. The main character, Sira, is young, capricious, and eager to find her future. Her mother, a dressmaker, teachers her to grow up like her. Sira's story would have ended when she became a dressmaker and lived out her days much like her mother if not for a chance encounter with a handsome man. Their connection is immediate and soon Sira is taking risks for him.



    Ramiro, Sira's lover, takes her to North Africa; he promptly abandons her and his unborn child. She suffers a mental breakdown, understandable given the circumstances. In order to pay back Ramiro's debts, Sira takes up sewing once again and finds that she enjoys the activity. She rubs shoulders with very influential politicians and officials in no time. Her dresses and clothing line become all the rage and she experiences sudden success. She is tapped by the British Secret Service to spy on the influential people she meets in everyday life. She learns to place the Morse code in her clothing.



    This novel was very well-written, smooth and the events flowed throughout the novel. Sira's breakdown was jarring as are some of the "spying" escapades, but other than that the reader will find him/herself immersed in a smooth, medium-paced novel. Sira herself is a likable character, she is a strong female character for her time period. To go from a mental breakdown to spying and paying off debts shows both her determination and strength. The secondary characters are all interesting to read about. The reader will find the plot intriguing. This book is recommended for young adults/adults who enjoy more historical novels concerning the 1930's/1940's time.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An intriguing spy story by an unforgettable, courageous woman.

    Book Review by Regis Schilken Sira lives during an explosive time, The Time in Between, in world history. As a young woman under her mother's tutelage, Sira had become an expert seamstress creating the most admired and modern fashions of that time. Her skilled needled fingers created garments sought by those willing to pay for exotic dressware.

    At the same time, swept off her feet by a man who would sweep away huge sums and jewels she had just inherited from a father she'd never met, Sira moves with this lover to Tetuan across the Straight of Gibralter at a time when Hitler's henchmen are quickly infiltrating the Spanish government, planting seeds of unrest in favor of eventual complete Nazi occupation and dominion.

    Slowly, she realizes that the man she thought she admired and adored has unwittingly used her very own fortune to continue his high-living amidst Spanish nobility including any other high-lifers who immediately accept him, and his seemingly endless supply of funds, none of which are really his. They belong to Sira.

    The Time in Between reveals how Sira, fortified with her own ingenuity and with the help of her compassionate landlady and several female conspirators who damn Nazi occupation, she sets up her own chic seamstress workshop-Chez Cirah. In here, Nazi woman seek the latest clothing fashions in northern Africa and are willing to pay plentifully for them.

    At the same time, speech in Sira's seamstress shop runs freely, particularly among the proud Nazi wives and mistresses of moneyed high ranking Nazi military officials. At any second, betrayal looms. Yet sophisticated Sira remains faithful to her father in Spain who bestowed upon her, her misspent and/or stolen wealth. She begins to work for the English underground. Her shop is a prime location for overhearing and instigating Nazi women to talk of Hitler's intended plans for world domination.

    Filled with constant anxiety and extreme fear lest she be caught and murdered, Sira sews disclosed secret plans into the hems of her beautiful creations in theform of Morse Code. These garments, of course, reach England and are critically helpful in eliminating political conspiracies and obscure secret missions. What will happen to this brave woman who dares, in one sense, to play both sides against the middle?

    This tale of betrayal, honor, and unwaving courage I will leave to the reader of The Time in Between. Author Maria Duenas has done a remarkable job keeping her book focused, wandering only far enough away from its theme, to give readers information regarding times, places, and the deep emotions of those involved.

    I would recommend The Time in Between to all readers who love stories of spying, high intrigue, fear, dishonor, and ultimately-love. The book is 612 pages long, but the story moves quickly. I must confess that I found myself skipping some long paragraphs that seemed to provide just a bit too much detail to move the story along.

    All in all, The Time in Between by Maria Duenas will not disappoint. It will transport the reader back to an era between two world wars-a time of warfare that eventually plagued most of the civilized world. The story is clever because it shows the length and breath the spirit of Sira, always seeking love, was willing to chance in order to stop an age of tyranny.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    If you like history, you should read this.

    While the story here was fantastic, a lot of the book is devoted to historical background. I sometimes felt that Sira disappeared for the sake of slotting in large chunks of history, halting the plot and my interest. Overall though, the novel is beautifully written, I cared about the characters, and the history is worth knowing.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2012

    Interesting

    This book was interesting because of all of the Spanish history. I am a quilter and loved all the talk about custom dress making.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    Delightful!

    What a wonderful novel full of intrigue, suspense, espionage. All under the cover of a poor seamstress that grew into a strong courageous woman of the world. Loved it. I can't wait for her next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    A great novel with so much history!

    This was a great novel with so much history woven into the story. The author and her wonderful writing transported me to Madrid, Morocco, and Portugal in the 1930s & 1940s. I felt the struggles and pain of the Spanish during their civil war and after. I read about a whole other side of the WWII story. There were heart pounding moments where I found myself holding my breath and just when I thought I figured something out, the author would take the story down a different path and I would find out that I was wrong. Loved this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Great book, could not put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Great book!

    As a librarian I see many books, but few as good as this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    *****

    *****

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2014

    This book was "fair"

    I found this book to be predictable. The characters were not highly developed and pretty one dimensional. An easy read

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  • Posted January 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Time In Between by Maria Duenas chronicles the life of Sira

    The Time In Between by Maria Duenas chronicles the life of Sira Quiroga. This novel was translated to English and was a hit in both the United States and overseas in Europe.
    Synopsis:
    Sira has known nothing but dressmaking all her life. She has worked in the workshop where her mother works. Her mother and Dona Manuela the owner have taught her everything they know on the subject of dressmaking. Once she is grown life takes a different turn and she follows her lover across the Mediterranean to Morocco and the Spanish colony. They live the high life until one morning Sira is left with nothing. Once she has been discovered with the debt by the police she has to deal with the consequences of her actions. Sira decides to remake herself into a courtier dressmaker with the help of some friends. What could this mean for the future? Will she be able to trust men in the future? Will she flourish as a dressmaker?
    My Thoughts:
    I initially saw this novel at Barnes and Noble while at a signing. I love a good historical fiction novel. When you open up the cover to read the summary of the novel most of the story is given away in the summary. I was disappointed because I felt that it revealed much of the story. When I read this book by page 130 I had covered what the summary discussed. The question became what is the novel about? Would I like the rest of it?
    Unfortunately the answer for me is not really. I would recommend listening to the novel as an audiobook. This novel is 610 pages. While this may not mean much to some, the pages did not keep me interested.
    I did like the part of the novel that focused on World War 2. Sira has an interesting job during this time. I did find other parts interesting as well. by Jencey Gortney Writer's Corner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    If you like an extremely slow read

    I did not like this book at all, but I also hated Pride znd Prejudice. So if you like the style of a Pride and Predjudice you may like this book. So slow and boring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Editing needed

    After reading so many complimentary reviews I was excited to read this book. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I did not enjoy this book very much. I really liked the story line.about Sira's life. Then information about dress making was interesting. I also enjoyed the fact she was a strong woman who worked hard to overcome obsticles. I lost interest in all the political information that had nothing to do with Sira's life. Chapter 35 was especially long winded and did absolutely nothing to advance the storyline with Sira. I like to read historical fiction. I thought The Other Bolyn Girl was fabulous. This story on the other often bored me when I wasn't reading about Sira. At 600 pages, a good shot of editing would have helped this story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2012

    hope this author will write more books

    Excellent story about this WW2 period and the SOE in Spain.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    Ggbggujyooouhyghi

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    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Good read

    This book had a great storyline and kept my attention all the way through. Very well written and interesting.

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  • Posted June 20, 2012

    An enjoyable summer read

    Although this is a pager turner, I can't give it rave reviews. The plot is somewhat contrived with convenient coincidences occurring just in time to save our heroine from certain destruction. The brief historical passages are informative and provide a vivid setting for the events of the narrative. Notwithstanding my criticisms, this was a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2012

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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