The Seamstress: Maria Duena

Book Description: The Seamstress: Maria Duena

Seamstress Spain, 1936 and the brink of civil war. Aged twelve, Sira Quiroga was apprenticed to a Madrid dressmaker. As she masters the seamstress’s art, her life seems to be clearly mapped out – until she falls passionately in love and flees with her seductive lover.

But in Morocco she is betrayed and left penniless. As civil war engulfs Spain, Sira finds she cannot return and so turns to her one true skill – and sews beautiful clothes for the expat elite and their German friends.

With Europe rumbling towards war, Sira is lured back to Franco’s Nazis-friendly Spain. She is drawn into the shadowy world of espionage, rife with love, intrigue and betrayal.

I was really looking forward to this debut novel but I found the first 200 pages extremely slow moving and there seemed to be too much description of the clothes Sira made. However the second half of the book picked up the pace, when she moved back to Madrid after the outbreak of WWII and becomes embroiled in espionage; the story does get much better and there is so much more intrique. It could perhaps be a shorter book or maybe I am used to faster moving stories but by the end I can honestly say that overall it was a very good read.

This book has taken Spain by storm and been top of their bestseller’s list for two years, but elsewhere has received some very mixed reviews however if you are happy to read a slow, sweeping, romantic novel that is extremely well written and gives a good insight into life during and after the Spanish Civil War then this book will appeal to you.