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.
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Félix J. Palma: The Time in Between features many real life characters. How did you ensure that these individuals were accurately portrayed? I imagine that you had to be especially careful given that people who knew them are still alive.
María Dueñas: 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.
FP: It's unusual to come across a heroine who is a seamstress. How did you decide upon this occupation for Sira?
MD: I needed an independent female character who was able to support herself so that she could move about freely without depending on a man. In the late thirties and early forties few occupations offered women this ability, but a seamstress was one of them.
FP: Many novels take place during World War II and yet you've done a wonderful job of taking a fresh approach. Can you tell us about it?
MD: WWII took place when Spain was immersed in post-Civil War reconstruction so many people think that the war had no effect on Spain. But this is not true. Our territory was coveted by Britain and Germany, and there was a lot of espionage in the country at that time. I also added a new ingredient to the traditional view of this period by incorporating a female character into the war game. I think the combination of both these things--an unexplored environment and a new type of heroine--is what sets The Time In Between apart.About the Author:
María Dueñas holds a PhD in English philology. After two decades dedicated to academics, she broke onto the literary scene in 2009 with the publication of the New York Times bestselling novel The Time in Between, followed by The Heart Has Its Reasons in 2012. Both novels became international bestsellers and have been translated into thirty-five languages. The television adaptation of The Time in Between earned critical and international acclaim. The Vineyard is her third novel.
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