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The Time In Between: A Novel

The Time In Between: A Novel

Scris de Maria Duenas

Povestit de Zilah Mendoza


The Time In Between: A Novel

Scris de Maria Duenas

Povestit de Zilah Mendoza

evaluări:
4/5 (32 evaluări)
Lungime:
21 hours
Lansat:
Nov 8, 2011
ISBN:
9781442347274
Format:
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Descriere

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.
Lansat:
Nov 8, 2011
ISBN:
9781442347274
Format:
Carte audio

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Despre autor

María Dueñas holds a PhD in English philology. After two decades in academia, 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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  • (4/5)
    Easy to read. I enjoyed reading the real book better than the chapters where I used audio. Overall I’d recommend
  • (4/5)
    3.5 stars. I was generaly captivated by the book and enjoyed reading it, but there are a few aspects that I didn't like or that I question about the book. I like that it is a novel covering WWII from an angle that I've never encountered before -- mainly Spain, but some Morocco, too. It involves people who really existed, but the main story is fictional. The story is epic in that it covers several locations and there are miniplots within the larger framework of the novel. It includes mystery, romance, intrigue, action, politics, and fashion; quite the gamut, really, though its audience is mainly female.
    This book could easily become a movie, but I imagine it would need serious adapting.

    My criticisms involve details and are more minor, but they contain some spoilers:
    a) there's a chapter that provides political info in the third person, but with a "so I heard from my friend" thrown in at the end to fit the novel. I guess it's done for clarity and time-saving, but it was a disonance;
    b) the first miniplot is very predictable, but I suppose it serves the purpose of getting Sira to North Africa, penniless; I guess I can accept that.
    c) one of the guys from the beginning shows up later in the novel, but I'm not sure why other than to give some temporary suspense. Seems kind of coincidental that the one shadow she has knows her, threatens her, and then ignores her.
    d)the final miniplot in Lisbon ends too easily. Wouldn't he have contacts in Spain to deal with her? The Germans would...
    e) the author does a decent job of providing opportunity and space for Shira to grow, but she is very polished and brave at the end; not sure I buy it all
    f) there are some suggestive details that are included like foreshadowing, and then they come to cnothing. I'm not sure if I apreciate the misdirection, or if it's annoying.

    Did it make me rethink my worldview or opinions? No. But it's an enjoyable story with decent writing.
  • (5/5)
    Wow! One of the best I've ever read. I won this as a Goodreads First Read. Maria Duenas pulls us into the life story of Sira. Starting out in Madrid just before the Spanish Civil War, a young Sira meets a man, falls in love, moves to Morocco--from this point her life takes so many twists and turns, some wonderful, some frightening but she is truly a brave soul and comes to the
    conclusion of her story triumphant! I savored all 600 pages and was never bored. The writing was superb and the translation to English excellent! Enjoy it!
  • (4/5)
    A long historical novel spanning the life of Sira, and young Spanish girl who finds herself swept up in the events of two World Wars. Initially, Sira is a young girl destined to become a seamstress with her mother, but when the war closes the shop where her mother works, Sira's life changes. She falls in love, faces abandonment in a foreign country, and sets up her own shop in Morocco. Later her sewing skills lead her back to Madrid as both a seamstress and a spy where she also finds love.
  • (4/5)
    I nearly gave up on the book quite near the beginning, but I'm glad I didn't -- it picks up rapidly. Sira spends the first few chapters running away to Morocco with her obviously awful manipulative boyfriend, and the book only really gets good once he leaves her with nothing and she starts having to live for herself. I was quite happy reading about Sira's life in Morocco but it was once she returned to Madrid as a spy for the SOE that the story takes a more a exciting turn which kept me gripped until the end.Once finished I enjoyed reading about which characters were fictional and which were real -- I knew nothing about the setting so everything was new to me. Sometimes some of the characters, especially the politicians, got a bit confused in my head, and I found the lengthy expositions about the politicians and their backgrounds and allegiances interrupted the flow of the story a bit.Overall, well worth ploughing through the slow start.
  • (3/5)
    Quite a tome! Never boring and quite educational as I knew nothing about the Spanish Civil War prior to reading this book but, the very nature of politics mars my enjoyment of a book somewhat.
  • (4/5)
    This is a doorstop of a book - just the kind I love to sink into and read on a rainy day. That it's historical fiction made it all the better. That it was a period in history about which I know very little made it even better still. It wasn't perfect but it was a very good read.At the start the reader is introduced to the heroine, Sira, the daughter of a love match between a woman who is now a seamstress and a man who remains unidentified until later in the book. Sira learns her mother's trade and shows an aptitude for sewing that by all indications will surpass her mother's. She finds love and is about to be married when she falls into the clutches of a slimy ne'er do well who promises her the world but ultimately leaves her alone and without her money. The money? Well, her father re-appears and provides for her as he fears that the continuing political situation in Spain will lead to his death.The background of the book is the Spanish Civil War and WWII. Sira, after having left Spain due to the advice of her father is in Morocco and this is where she finds herself after the slime ball abandons her. This is where she finds herself and this (about a third to a halfway through the book) is where it really picks up!Sira ends up working as a spy for the British Foreign Service and the book finds its excitement as she tries to stay one step ahead.The book was overall, very good. It was a bit slow at the start and it was very hard to like Sira in the beginning as she was so overwhelmingly self-centered and blindingly stupid but I suppose that she was young and thought she was in love and that leads to stupid at times. She is just the kind of girl that a certain type of man will prey upon and Ms. Duenas shows exactly how it is done in her writing. There was just a bit too much of it. I think the book could have been shorter and had more impact. It was translated from Spanish and there might have been some colloquialisms that did not translate well but I DID enjoy the book.The characters were great from the main to the ancillary and they were of all different types so it made reading very interesting. The history was well woven into the story and it piqued my curiosity enough in certain points to send me researching further. At times it got a bit wordy but not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the book, at least not for me. It does seem as if it left room for a sequel which I would read if that was indeed the case.
  • (5/5)
    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 regime will offer, but also of speculation how their lives will be further altered as Spain becomes a precious pawn between Britain and Germany, the two main players as World War II descends upon this war-weary country.Daughter of a Madrid dressmaker, Sira’s initial efforts to be more independent than her mother miserably fail; unknowingly her serendipitous recourse to join her mother in one of Madrid’s famed couturier’s back room results into a captivating journey which Sira could never have imagined. Infatuated with a callous lover, Sira travels to Morocco where she is left penurious, shamefully humiliated, and unable to pay hotel expenses incurred by her devious lover. Arrested by a sympathetic local police chief, her dignity and future unhinged, Sira resolves to pay her debt any way possible. When her skills as a seamstress are noticed by Nazi officers’ wives, Sira captivates them with the unusually beautiful fabrics secreted within certain sections of Tetuán, her temporary home. As she gains recognition for her exceptional couturier’s flair, Sira, a woman of countless talents, is introduced to a dangerously clandestine world that exists within a world at war. Her eventual entre and covert collaboration thrust Sira into a quagmire of unremitting vigilance which requires exhaustively instinctive discernment of distinguishing who is trustworthy, and who is traitor. Maria Dueñas deliberately infuses true historical characters and locales into this exquisitely scripted narrative. Daunting at first, I was amazed how quickly mesmerizing this book became, and not only was it an unexpected lesson in history, but also one of the best books I have read.
  • (3/5)
    It wsasn't sure if it was Historical Fiction, Romance or Spy Thriller. Took too long to decide. 600 pages needs better editing.
  • (4/5)
    Looking at any book, a reader never has an idea of whether it is going to be a pleasing gift from the author or a slog of monumental proportions. When the book is a long one, this crap shoot has the potential to be exponentially better or worse. Maria Duenas' fantastic and epic, long novel The Time in Between definitely falls into the gift to the reader category. It is a completely riveting and fascinating tale of self-determination, espionage, and intrigue.Sira Quiroga is a young woman learning her trade as a seamstress from her mother, engaged to a kind and constant if less than exciting man, and living in Madrid on the eve of the civil war that rent the country asunder. A chance encounter with a typewriter salesman sets Sira on a new course, breaking her engagement, meeting her father for the first time, and following her lover to an unexpected life in Morocco. Starting out innocent, naive, and stupidly trusting, Sira is forced by circumstances to adapt, mature, and take control of her own life. She makes influential friends and gains entre into a world she never imagined, one of politics and intrigue in the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco. As the dressmaker to the wives and mistresses of the Spanish officials and the leading Nazis in Africa, she has a front row seat to the rise of Franco and to the machinations behind the scenes as World War Two devastates Europe. Sweeping from Madrid to Morocco and back to Madrid, the scope of the novel is vast and complete.Duenas' blending of fictional characters and actual historical characters gives a weight to Sira, later known as Arish's, trajectory and character development. The time and places of the novel are fascinating and the truth behind the creation of new spies, people previously unconnected with MI5, is engrossing. The plot is riveting and the narrative tension stays steady throughout the first half, ratcheting up as the stakes increase in the second half of the novel. The secondary characters are appealing and if their functions are sometimes a tad too coincidental with Sira's needs, the appeal and attraction of the story as a whole completely forgives this. Readers may find it takes a while to get into the story but once they do, they will be richly rewarded by this tale of a self-made woman who ultimately helps to plot the course of history.
  • (5/5)
    Wow, it is quite a FEAT for an author to write a book 600+ pages long, and keep it interesting throughout. Well, ladies and gentleman, María Dueñas has managed this feat! An absolute delight to read, this novel kept me engrossed from beginning to end, although the beginning was a tad lagging. I'd recommend it to everyone, because it is yet another book that defies being boxed within a genre - incorporating lots of genres, this book tells a beautiful and riveting tale!
  • (5/5)
    "The Time in Between" is a well written period piece set in Spain and Northern Africa between WW I and WW II. It is an intriguing coming of age story, following Sira from phenomenal innocence to competent young woman and spy in a highly challenging and volatile world.
  • (3/5)
    "The Time In Between follows the story of a seamstress who becomes the most sought-after couturiere during the Spanish Civil War and World War II"--.The book is very long and didn't always hold my attention, but I was fascinated by this time and place in history. After reading this, I plan to find out more about Spain's Civil War and it's history during WWWII.
  • (3/5)
    I have to say that I only read 250 of the 400 pages. The story of Sira growing up in pre war Madrid learning to be a dressmaker started out well. Life seemed to be complete for her with an engagement to Ignacio and a career as a seamstress. Then the war threatened and there wasn't any need for dressmakers anymore. Ignacio had just become a civil servant and thought that it would be a good option for Sira and that she should learn to type. The purchase of a typewriter and the introduction to the salesman, Ramiro was the beginning of the end for both Ignacio and Sira. Soon enough the story began to drag for me with Sira running away with Ramiro and then Ramior abandoning Sira. Frankly, I lost patience with the story and I doubt that I will be drawn to it again to complete.
  • (5/5)
    Maria Duenas' "The Time in Between" is a sweeping saga of Sira Quiroga, the young daughter of a dressmaker in Madrid. Born in 1911, Sira comes of age as Spain is experiencing rumblings of a civil war. She is engaged to Ignacio, but a trip to buy a typewriter changes that as Sira falls for the shop salesman, Ramiro. Because he fears for his life, Sira's father, Gonzalo, whom Sira has never before met, requests to meet her. He gives her some of his family's jewels and money and suggests she leave the country for her own protection because of Spain's soon-to-come civil war.She and Ramiro do leave for Tangiers, Morocco, where Ramiro absconds with Sira's treasures after she becomes pregnant. Penniless, Sira flees the hotel, but passes out and wakes up in hospital, having lost the baby. In order to repay Ramiro's debt to the hotel, Sira relies on the skills she learned from her mother and starts a business as a dressmaker.Being a dressmaker gives Sira the opportunity to fit in with both the English and Germans during World War II. She is enticed to return to Madrid as a spy for the English. Back in Madrid, Sira is given a new dress shop to operate from which she learns of Germany's maneuvering.Returning to Madrid also brings her face-to-face with several people from her past. Some are more welcoming than others.This novel sucked me in and swept me away. Even at 609 pages, I didn't want it to end. I loved reading about Spain and Morocco and their part in the war. Author Duenas is a wonderful storyteller. I highly recommend "The Time in Between."
  • (5/5)
    WOW! The Time In Between is an amazing saga of a young woman caught in the turmoil of the Spanish civil war, it's as much a story of a woman's survival during wartime as was Scarlett O'Hara's saga in Gone With The Wind. Author Maria Duenas has created a new literary heroine in Sira Quiroga. The reader watches Sira's growth and struggle to not only survive, but to come out ahead of those around her. This is a fantastic example of historical fiction at its best! I didn't know much about the Spanish civil war, and this was an incredible learning experience disguised as a great read! Ms. Duenas brings the sights, smells and textures of the 1930s Madrid and Morocco to live. her descriptive phrases are so multi-layered that as a reader, I could "see" the cities as if I were there.I do have a couple of issues with this book, even as much as I loved it, it was just about thirty percent too long. I loved the descriptions and the background given each situation, character and locale, but there was more than enough and I found myself skimming over bits that brought nothing to the story. In all honesty, the descriptive verbiage took away from the story. You really don't get to the meat of the book until about half way into the story. I don't know if the flowery prose was a product of translation from the original Spanish to English, but for me, it didn't add to the plot. It detracted from it.I will say that once we got to the part where Sira is approached by her friend to work with the British counterintelligence (about half way through) the story seemed to just race through the last half. Maria Duenas' ability to build supporting characters as real and multi-layered people is just brilliant! If The Time In Between is ever made into a film, the supporting actors could steal the story! In fact, in some places in this book, they did just that! All that being said, I LOVE this book!! It's one that I'll give to friends as gifts. I give it a big 5 out of 5 stars! Buy them in quantities to give to everyone on your gift list! You won't be sorry and they will love you for it!**This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley, and that in no way affected my ability to write an honest review of this book.
  • (2/5)
    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 ties together fiction with historical people and events, and the combination should have made me very happy.I'm sad to say it didn't The book was too long at about 600 pages. Long books don't scare me away, but they do have to entertain me for the whole story. This one had too much description, and even though I am a fan of well-done description, it seemed there was just too much describing in this one. I couldn't connect with the characters, and while I was interested in what would happen next, it was more a feeling of curiosity than caring about the characters. The history wasn't written in a way that caused me to want to learn more, and the telling of it seemed a bit muddled in places. Some of the story relied on coincidences that just were a little too convenient.Most reviews of this book are very positive, so I think that many people who like historical fiction will like it, but it just didn't work for me. Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
  • (5/5)
    What is it about novels from Spain? Even translated into English, there is something about the flowing descriptions, the intricately complex characters, and the rich descriptions that just hit me right in the gut with how amazing they are.The Time in Between is the story of a young, headstrong woman who, despite enormous odds, overcomes them and makes a life for herself. Filled with major historical descriptions of events, including the Spanish Civil War and the opening of WWII, this story still manages to keep a personal, human element while providing the reader with intriguing spy movements and facts about the time.I will admit to harboring a moment of doubt at the beginning of the book, however. I thought I knew where this story was going to lead – but it didn’t and instead I found myself thoroughly wrapped up in a story that was filled with surprises.It’s easy to see why this book is a best seller and I’m very glad that the cover attracted me so strongly. The insides were even more beautiful.
  • (3/5)
    First Line: A typewriter shattered my destiny.Sira Quiroga is the daughter of a humble seamstress in Madrid, Spain. From sweeping floors and running errands, Sira grows into an apprenticeship. By the time she's twenty, she's learned her trade and is looking forward to marriage to a government clerk. However, she hasn't learned to resist charismatic men. The father she never knew and a handsome salesman turn her world upside down.Abandoned in Morocco by the man she loves, the only way Sira can survive is by using her needle. Through hours of hard work and determination, she becomes a respected modiste in Morocco. Catering to the collection of European expatriates trapped there by the war in Spain and the worsening political situation in the rest of Europe lays the groundwork for the next stage in Sira's life. She returns to Madrid, opens an exclusive couturier for Nazi officers' wives, and becomes an undercover agent for the Allies.This was a very uneven reading experience for me. Its length (624 pages) is not for the weak of heart (or for those with weak wrists). If a story holds my interest, I don't care how long the book is, but this one only held it sporadically.In many ways, I enjoyed the first section of the book the most. My interest was fully engaged as I learned how Sira grew up, how she fell in love, and how she had to fight hard to make a living after being abandoned in Morocco. The reader's opinion of Sira will make or break this book since she is the narrator. At times I found that her naivete and impulsiveness made me want to slap some sense into her. However, she is honest about how she abandoned a good man for a bad one, and her friendships with Rosalinda and Candelaria as well as her descriptions of starting out in business definitely strengthen the narrative.But Sira tells us something very important: she is carefully picking and choosing each fact in her story. Some of her choices weaken the book for me. When she becomes couturier for the Nazi officers' wives, it is a case of too much reporting and not enough doing. We're told more about the days the coded messages are delivered and very little about how the information was gathered. It would have added so much to the story to have a scene at the shop when the wives were gathered, relaxed and being served tea, gossiping away, with Sira working-- and listening-- diligently. I wanted to see it happen, not be told about it later.It also came to the point where the political segments made my eyes glaze over. Sira purposely avoided many areas of Madrid because she didn't want to see what had happened to the city of her birth. There was too much in this book that Sira didn't wish to see, and I didn't appreciate being forced to wear blinders. Moreover, it felt as though Sira kept me at a distance-- as if she didn't really trust me. Granted, being a spy would make a person extremely distrustful, but when that spy is the narrator of a huge novel, distancing the reader can be very off-putting.When all is said and done, your reaction to the main character of this sweeping historical novel will determine how much you enjoy it. I found much in the book to admire, but in the end, I felt as though Sira had led me down the garden path.
  • (3/5)
    Starts with a whimper, but ends with a bangI have to admit that Simon and Schuster piqued my curiosity about this title simply because they promoted it so heavily prior to its publication. In my mind, that’s a huge vote of confidence from the publishing house. And, apparently it has been a bestseller in Europe, where it was originally published. Alas, my own response to The Time in Between was mixed. It got off to a rocky start, but ended much stronger—which is a better situation than had it been the other way ‘round.With regard to the “rocky start,” the first-person narrator of this 600-page epic is Sira Quiroga, a young seamstress from Madrid with a modest background. Unfortunately, she makes a terrible initial impression. Virtually the first thing we learn about her is that she is an inconstant woman. She behaves deplorably towards a man she’s supposed to love, and then runs off to Morocco with a man slicker than Teflon. On many, many levels, her behavior is unforgivably stupid. Truthfully, I wanted to slap her. (Note to Authors: Having your protagonist repent and/or wise-up eventually does not justify making us hate her in the beginning.) And this whole opening drama takes up about the first hundred pages of the novel.Which leads us to issue number two… God, I felt like it took forever for this story to really get going! No way did this novel need to be over 600 hundred pages long. I would have written a far more positive review had it been condensed by a good 200 pages. The overly drawn out introduction (that made me sort of hate the heroine) could have been condensed so that we could get to the meat of this story so much sooner. As it is, the plot described in the jacket copy of this novel doesn’t even come into play until well past the half-way point of the novel. And that plot involves Sira working on behalf of the British Resistance in the early days of WWII. But, given that that doesn’t even get broached until page 355 of my galley, there’s a whole lot that goes on before the excitement kicks in. And I don’t mean to imply that it’s all bad or boring. I think that Ms. Dueñas is going for a picaresque quality to Sira’s story, with a series of episodic adventures. Some parts were more successful than others for me, but stuff does happen. I wouldn’t call it fast-paced. What I liked much, much more than the drawn out plot were the many supporting characters that bring life and interest to the story. They’re an excellent and entertaining supporting cast.And as the novel goes on, the pace does pick up, the main plot kicks in, and from there on out it’s a different book. There is romance, excitement, suspense—all the things I would have enjoyed seeing more of in the first half of the novel. So, The Time In Between ends on a high note. Heck, the door is even open for a sequel. By the end, Sira is a far more appealing protagonist. The prose throughout the novel is acceptable, but not what I’d consider a selling point. The North African setting of much of the tale, however, is unusual and adds its own level of interest.I would recommend this debut to readers who are fans of long novels, and who are willing to have a little patience. I would also recommend it to fans of these types of stories—of the time, the place, the war. If the flaws I described sound like deal-breakers, you’re probably better off skipping The Time In Between.
  • (4/5)
    I just have one word to describe this book. Amazing.At first sight The Time in Between by Maria Dueñas can be a normal novel that talks about a young seamstress and her misadventures, her romantic relationships, and how her life changes dramatically after she is left abandoned and penniless in Morocco, and how she needs to work really hard and try to move forward. But this book is more than that.This is a story that at the first time seemed simple but as I read it the plot became more and more complex; spies, espionage, politics, war, romance and glamour, everything mixed… all together. This is a novel that can transport the reader to a completely different world. Spain and Morocco, 1930. I really enjoyed this book. The descriptions, the characters, the plot and the history you can find in those pages… Everything was perfect! So vivid and credible. It was difficult for me to stop reading and I couldn't put it down until I finished, even though sometimes the descriptions were too much for me, and that I didn't enjoy too much some topics about Spain's politics and their situation in that moment… but I think they were necessary to make clear the story and to make the reader understand what was going on. I also loved the ending. Although it's not so clear as I would have liked, (I wanted to know more about Sira and Marcus!) I enjoyed the way the author managed it and write it. So, what can I say? This is a marvelous book, and I'm one hundred percent sure historical fiction books lovers are going to enjoy it a lot, specially if they like espionage books. But if you're a reader who prefer less detailed stories, or you don't like too much political themes, or too long books (609 pages)... maybe you should skip this one. Happy Reading!
  • (4/5)
    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.