The Seamstress by María Dueñas

A friend recommended The Seamstress by María Dueñas when she heard that I’m studying the Spanish Civil War. This is a historical fiction novel, with the action taking place in the 1930s and 1940s Spain and Morocco. It is a story about a woman’s survival and her journey from poverty to being involved in espionage, designing and creating haute couture for the wives of the German Nazi officers stationed in Spain and Morocco.

The Seamstress by María Dueñas

It is quite a long book, at just over 600 pages, and this is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. Some of the descriptions were a bit too long for my taste. For example, the author spends 4 pages in telling us how Sira got ready for a party… 4 pages! That was surely unnecessarily detailed. Other descriptions are interesting, for example how life was in Spain at the start of WW2 and that had an impact on the story, more than what she was wearing and who was helping her with her makeup.
I also gave the book 4 stars because some of the things described were interesting, especially her spy work. I found those fascinating.

The Seamstress by María Dueñas

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Penguin
Year it was published: 2012 (first published in 2009)
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Pages: 615

About the author: María Dueñas Vinuesa was born on 1964 in Puertollano, Spain. She is a professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Murcia, and is also an academic author and has worked at different universities in North America. She came into the spotlight in 2009, achieving great success in Spain thanks to her first novel, El tiempo entre costuras, published in English language as The Time in Between and The Seamstress, a historical espionage novel, which sold more than a million copies. It has already been translated into more than 25 different languages.
María Dueñas has seven siblings and lives in Cartagena.
Website & Social Media Links: mariaduenas



4 thoughts on “The Seamstress by María Dueñas”

  • Despite its length, this does sound interesting. I think I’ll look and see if it’s available through my library app.
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    • I think you might like how she was coding her messages. That was really fascinating and I don’t want to talk about it because it would be a spoiler.

  • Hi Anca,

    Ooops! I was already reaching for the ‘Want To Read’ button on my Goodreads page (do you belong to Goodreads by the way?), when I noticed the length of the book and I’m afraid you lost me at that point!

    My SIL is a seamstress, so that aspect would have interested me and I do enjoy fictional wartime stories, especially as I know little about wartime conditions in Spain. I also love really descriptive writing I can lose myself in.

    But 600 pages + does seem a bit excessive and not something I could contemplate right now. All power to you for slogging your way through it and I am pleased you enjoyed the read.

    Have a good weekend 🙂

    Yvonne xx

    • Yes, it’s a long book. 🙂 I’m on goodreads, I have a link on the right side of the blog with the reading challenge for this year. I’ve added you as a friend now.

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