The Time In Between

 Intricately written, “The Time In Between” tells the story of Sira as fate takes her from Madrid to Tangiers.  Ultimately, returning to Madrid, Sira is asked to help the English spy on Nazi officers.  The book opens as Sira is a young seamstress who is dutifully taking care of her mother and fulfilling the wishes of her fiance.  Her life is set in a whirlwind after she meets the dashing Ramiro.  Breaking off her engagement, she follows Ramiro to Tangiers, where they intend to start a business with the money she has just inherited from her father. After a few months of partying and living an exciting life, Ramiro takes all her money and leaves her alone and in debt to the hotel where they have racked up quite a bill. 

The man investigating the charges against her takes pity on her and allows her to remain in the city to work off her debt to the hotel, rather than sending her to prison.  A woman helps set up an apartment for Sira so she can open her own sowing business.  Utilizing her sowing skills to reclaim her life, she eventually becomes a well known seamstress and earns a substantial living.  Humor was imposed into the plot that was brimming with description.  It was amusing when Sira was asked to make a tennis outfit, but didn’t know what it looked like!  She frantically searches through old magazines and ultimately creates a beautiful design.  

She befriends an English woman who is very connected politically, and who connects Sira to a man who can help get her mother out of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War.   Later, Sira will be asked by the English government to move back to Madrid and set up another sowing room to enable her to gather information on the Nazi party.  The intent is that Sira’s clients will be the wives and girlfriends of Nazi officers who are seeking dresses to wear to important political parties.  Siri is asked to take note of anything important they say, where the parties are held, and who attends.  Siri is constantly putting herself in danger as she places hidden codes in dress pattens, which she strategically leaves for unknown contacts throughout the city. 

The book was overflowing with vivid imagery, which made it seem more like an autobiography than a fictional tale.  The length of the book was daunting, even for me. At 300 pages, I almost gave up, but the Siri’s role as a Nazi spy emerged and I was intrigued enough to continue.  The 600 page book could have easily been a better written 400 page book.  The story was interesting and well written, but the stories in the book were underdeveloped.  Each story could have been expanded into its own book, rather than being smashed into one huge book with too many tangents.  I don’t know that I would recommend it.


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