Book Review: The Time in Between

The Time in Between
By: María Dueñas
Published By: Atria Books
Publication Date: November 8, 2011
Page Count: 512
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: ARC provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Historical Fiction

The Time in Between is a thrilling historical novel that transports readers into the tension of Europe during World War II. Sira, a young woman from Madrid, finds herself wrapped up in a romance with a much older man who convinces her to leave behind her home to seek adventure and business prospects in Northern Africa. However, she soon learns that love isn't strong enough to weather every storm and she finds herself penniless and alone in Algiers. Sira manages to keep herself afloat by using her seamstress skills to design high end clothing for Nazi officers' wives. Her career puts her in a position to learn sensitive military information which leads her to make dangerous decisions as the world erupts in war.

I have loved reading historical fiction set in the World War II era for as long as I can remember. This book is by far one of my favorites about the time period. Dueñas' writing is beautiful and she creates an alluring mixture of history and espionage. The Time in Between has been a huge success overseas so its nice to see it finally making its way into the U.S. Historical fiction fans will enjoy the plot, pacing, and characters of this one. Also, all of the books about WWII that I have read are from the perspective of Americans, Brits, or Germans. It was nice to get a different perspective in this one. I loved that I got to hear the feminine voice of a Spaniard and I also enjoyed that the book centered around the North African front. I am less familiar with the elements of the war that occurred in this region.

However, I do want to caution readers that this one starts out slow and begins to pick up about the time Sira finds herself alone in Algiers. The strength of the writing and narration won me over in the end in spite of the slow beginning. I loved how Dueñas was able to seamlessly blend together fact and fiction. This is one of those books that you can totally lose yourself in.

One Last Gripe: I was really bothered by some of Sira's early decisions concerning her romantic involvements.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The writing style

First Sentence: A typewriter shattered my destiny.

Favorite Character: Sira

Least Favorite Character: Ramiro

The Time In Between is a word-of-mouth phenomenon that catapulted María Dueñas, a debut author, to the top of Spain’s bestseller lists. 

This sweeping novel, which combines the storytelling power of The Shadow of the Wind with the irresistible romance of Casablanca, moves at an unstoppable pace. Suddenly left abandoned and penniless in Algiers by her lover, Sira Quiroga forges a new identity. Against all odds she becomes the most sought-after couture designer for the socialite wives of German Nazi officers. But she is soon embroiled in a dangerous political conspiracy as she passes information to the British Secret Service through a code stitched into the hems of her dresses. 


  1. 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.


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