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The Time In Between: A Novel Paperback – July 10, 2012
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Amazon Exclusive: Félix J. Palma Interviews María Dueñas
Félix J. Palma has been unanimously acclaimed by critics as one of the most brilliant and original storytellers of our time. His devotion to the short story genre has earned him more than a hundred awards. The Map of Time, his first book to be published in the United States, received the 2008 Ateneo de Sevilla XL Prize and is being published in more than thirty countries.
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.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"A wonderful novel, in the good old tradition, with intrigue, love, mystery and tender, audacious and well-drawn characters." (Mario Vargas Llosa, recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature)
“It's exciting to find a deftly paced first novel with an engaging heroine, satisfying historical detail, and emotional balance. Love it!” (Esmeralda Santiago, New York Times bestselling author of Conquistadora)
"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 of The Distant Hours)
"Engaging, romantic, vivid and captivating. Who knew a story about a seamstress in Spain could be so intriguing and captivating? If you love thick, juicy female-led novels that sweep you away from all sense of time and responsibility, you need to read The Time In Between by María Dueñas." (Kathy Cano-Murillo, author of Waking Up in the Land of Glitter and Miss Scarlet's School of Patternless Sewing)
"Evocative, tender and lush; a wonderful experience of times and lives in turmoil." (Diana Gabaldon, author of the New York Times bestselling Outlander novels)
“This thrilling debut is marked by immaculate prose and a driving narrative, establishing Dueñas as a writer to watch.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
"Packed with engaging characters, flawlessly researched, and breathlessly paced." (Booklist (starred review))
"It is no surprise this debut novel was a runaway success in Europe. American fans of historical fiction looking for a dramatic, uncomplicated escape will be similarly entranced." (Library Journal)
"From a terrific opening line to the final page, chapters zip by at a pulsing pace." (USA TODAY)
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This book is heavily and accurately researched to produce a book where real historical figures interact with our Young Spanish protagonist seamlessly.
It is set in pre Civil War Spain through post War Spain. Siri a young dressmaker, travels to Morocco after receiving a hefty inheritance of jewels and cash after meeting her father for the first time. Her lover is a con artist and she is soon left penniless while owing the Tangiers hotel a large sum of money as the jerk leaves town without paying the bill.
Thus she is taken by the authorities to the district capital of Tetouan in the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco. She is told to work off her bill at the Tangier's Continental.
Thus, begins Siris long tortuous but adventurous life journey. She discovers she has many attributes to assist her in times of upheaval and an unknown calm that serves her well.
She escapes a lowlife boarding house in a dangerous scheme to raise money to open an atelier. She begins her life as of dressmaker for the rich and famous. It is only the beginning for this breathtaking beauty, who will wear many hats and associate with many important influential people.
This is a real page turner as you can't wait to see what's in store for these exciting characters. This was originally written in Spanish, so, the book has been translated into English. Luckily, the translation seems to be able to keep the book true to the Spanish edition with poetic exotic descriptions of the many locales where the book takes place. It visualizes the scenes perfectly so that you can almost smell the flowers and equally turn your stomach at the squalid scenes. She places you there so that you see each scene, smell fragrances and feel the wind go through your hair. She is an excellent wordsmith placing her words in the exact perfect location in every sentence. Every sentence placed perfectly in each paragraph.
But, words of caution, should you also read this novel after seeing the Spanish Miniseries, this book is vastly different than the film. And, in not small,ways. The book is poetry and the film is quite a bit more harsh and violent.
When complimented on her spy skills, she replies that dressmakers make sure all,details are completed before declaring the garment completed. Voila‼️
I found it interesting that the early chapters were very, very lengthy during the plot build up whereas those in that latter 25% were quick, possibly mirroring the author’s attempt to wrap up the story hastily and let Sila achieve her epiphany and begin to take charge of her life on her own terms. And then it’s over. The End.
I chose this story for my book club and so I was determined *coughobligatedcough* to finish although reading more than half of it felt like a test of endurance.