“How is it that, a full two centuries after Jane Austen finished her manuscript, we come to the world of Pride and Prejudice and find ourselves transcending customs, strictures, time, mores, to arrive at a place that educates, amuses, and enthralls us? It is a miracle. We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else's mind.”
A week or so ago a friend, who reads with the same enthusiasm as I, posted the above on pinterest. I commented back something to the equivalent....you know this is where I am.
A few afternoons later we met at a bookstore for an iced tea, some chat time and to browse the books. I had just finished The Time In Between by the spanish author Maria Duenas. I confirmed I was suffering with a full fledged (book) hangover. I touched several books, turned a few pages and left empty handed, all because of
A typewriter shattered my destiny. The culprit was a Hispano-Olivetti, and for weeks, a store window kept it from me. Looking back now, from the vantage point of the years gone by, it's hard to believe a simple mechanical object could have the power to divert the course of an entire life in just four short days, to pulverize the intricate plans on which it was built. And yet that is how it was, and there was nothing I could have done to stop it.
The beginning paragraph pulled me in and kept me intrigued through the first slow paced pages. Setting the foundation for her story, Sira, the fatherless daughter of a seamstress, tells us what she could expect from her life in Madrid. She seems to be a woman of little ambition. She meets a stable man and becomes happily engaged.
While planning her wedding and her life she makes a life altering decision. With the Spainish Civil War seeming inevitable, she finds herself in Morocco abandoned, penniless, pregnant, and with serious legal troubles. Falling back on a trade she learned at her mother's hem, she rises out of the ashes of a ruined life to payback debts, build confidences and a new life, albeit a dangerous one, as she is pulled into the world of the fashion conscious rich, the politically powerful, and the British Secret Service.
Filled with well developed characters, a beautifully designed plot and lusciously descriptive language we are taken on a journey through the Spanish Civil War and carried to the doorstep of a Nazi occupied Madrid via Morocco and Portugal. Lines are drawn and sides taken. Sira finds herself dangerously caught up in secrets, schemes and betrayals not knowing who is friend or foe. You will find yourself holding your breath to the end.
Six hundred plus pages...it seemed far less.
Since finishing The Time In Between I've opened several books not finding one that pulled me in.... thus the "book hangover". Well...
until I visited the library yesterday....
I can't wait to tell you about the book I am exploring now.
Do you ever suffer from "book hangover"? My friend said when she finds herself there she pulls out Jane Austen. What is your prescription?