When life grows boring, we all need a bit of intrigue to perk us up. Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum wrote perfect examples of intrigue at its finest. Espionage, lies, subterfuge; the spice of a spy's life. And movies... 'Casablanca'. 'The Bourne' series. The list of books and films is endless.
A new addition to this genre landed on my desk not long ago, and it brought to mind more of the 'exotic' side of World War 2 intrigue, and not so much the horror and outrage. It's filled with Nazis, and Franco, and the heroes of the Resistance, including Alan Hillgarth and Rosalinda Powell Fox, real people who did their utmost to secure information for the Allies.
'The Time In Between', by María Dueñas, is set in Madrid, and focuses on the choices made by Sira Quiroga, a seamstress by trade. She is engaged to a man who aspires to become a civil servant in pre-WW2 Spain. But when she runs away with another man who promises her the moon, she is subjected to one of the worst kinds of betrayal. Stranded in Morocco, and left penniless, she is offered a new life and new identity. As a result, she becomes the most popular couture designer for the wives and lovers of German Nazi officers stationed in Madrid. She is soon involved in a conspiracy that could either leave her dead, or help save the war effort for the Allies.
For a first novel, 'Time...' is very promising. The twists-and-turns kept me up all night, and Ms. Dueñas has a deft hand at bringing her real and fictional characters to life. A welcome addition is the bibliography at the end of the book, which will help those readers who want to learn more about the inner workings of the Resistance movement and the people who sacrificed their lives to help win the war.
(Due to be released in early November 2011)