The Time In Between: A Novel
The inspiring international bestseller of a seemingly ordinary woman who uses her talent and courage to transform herself first into a prestigious couturier and then into an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II.
Between Youth and Adulthood…
At age twelve, Sira Quiroga sweeps the atelier floors where her single mother works as a seamstress. At fourteen, she quietly begins her own apprenticeship. By her early twenties she has learned the ropes of the business and is engaged to a modest government clerk. But everything changes when two charismatic men burst unexpectedly into her neatly mapped-out life: an attractive salesman and the father she never knew.
Between War and Peace…
With the Spanish Civil War brewing in Madrid, Sira leaves her mother and her fiancé, impetuously following her handsome lover to Morocco. However, she soon finds herself abandoned, penniless, and heartbroken in an exotic land. Among the odd collection of European expatriates trapped there by the worsening political situation back on the Continent, Sira reinvents herself by turning to the one skill that can save her: her gift for creating beautiful clothes.
Between Love and Duty…
As England, Germany, and the other great powers launch into the dire conflict of World War II, Sira is persuaded to return to Madrid, where she takes on a new identity to embark upon the most dangerous undertaking of her career. As the preeminent couturier for an eager clientele of Nazi officers’ wives, Sira becomes embroiled in the half-lit world of espionage and political conspiracy rife with love, intrigue, and betrayal.
An outstanding success around the world, The Time in Between has sold more than two million copies and inspired the Spanish television series based on the book, dubbed by the media as the “Spanish Downton Abbey.” In the US it was a critical and commercial hit, and a New York Times bestseller in paperback. It is one of those rare, richly textured novels that enthrall down to the last page. María Dueñas reminds us how it feels to be swept away by a masterful storyteller.
Some of the characters in my book belong to our recent history and played a prominent role in the Spanish Civil War and WWII in Spain. Ironically, however, a few of them have been obscured by time, and so my task was to bring them back to the forefront in order to recreate some significant events during those febrile years. For this purpose, I used a wide variety of sources: academic works, archives, old newspapers and even interviews with people who personally knew these people. I was very thorough in my research, and I think the outcome has been positive. Many readers finally get to meet these historical figures and no one has complained that the personalities I've managed to reconstruct are inaccurate.
"The Time in Between is an epic novel with an unlikely Spanish heroine, Sira Quiroga, that takes us through one of the most turbulent times in Europe: the onset of World War II. Sira travels on a journey through romance, love, loss, and intrigue, all while discovering traits that she never dreamed she had. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and once I reached the end, I couldn't wait to start it all over again!" --Daisy Martinez, author of Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night and Daisy's Holiday Cooking
“Maria Dueñas is a true storyteller. She weaves a spell, conjuring the heat and the glamour, the hardship and the thrill of Morocco and Spain in the late 1930s. The world of Casablanca comes to life as war breaks and Sira Quiroga, a beautiful and betrayed seamstress, is forced to discover her own strength. At a time when everyone must do what they can to survive, some will go beyond. Resistance will be formed and history will be written. Read this book and prepare to be transported.” –Kate Morton, New York Times bestselling author ofThe Distant Hours
This is historical fiction, with a larger than usual dose of history, but that history is woven in well at least partly because it's history that's not well known even to the Spanish, and hardly known at all by English speakers. Set in Madrid, Spanish Morocco, and Lisbon from 1935 into 1941, the story centers on Sira Quiroga, daughter of a single mother who works as a seamstress in Madrid. She learns the trade as well, which is fortunate when she finds herself without resources in Morocco just as the civil war in Spain breaks out. How she manages to overcome legal obstacles and flourish amid political intrigue involving Spaniards, Germans, and the British is the heart of the story. There is romance as well, but it takes a backseat to Sira's growth from insecure working-class girl to woman of the world who takes charge of her own life. And the central role played by real-life characters may send you to Google and the library to find out more.