The Seamstress, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Maria Duenas's million copy best-selling tale of adventure, tragedy, love and war, "The Seamstress", a Richard and Judy 2012 book club pick.

Spain, 1936 and the brink of civil war. Young, poor Sira Quiroga is swept up in a whirlwind romance with her wily love Ramiro.

Fleeing Madrid together for Morocco, her love blinds her to his real failings.

Soon abandoned, left penniless and in debt to the authorities, she has to rely on the one skill she still possesses: sewing.

Taken under the wing of the bullish but caring housekeeper Candelaria, Sira is able to sew for the glamorous foreign English and German women in Tetouan.

Privy to their unbridled gossip, Sira becomes invaluable to the British secret service, a position that is filled with untold risk.

A story of danger, espionage, romance and war, "The Seamstress" is a WWII tale like no other. "Maria Duenas is a true storyteller. Read this book and prepare to be transported." (Kate Morton, author of "The House at Riverton"). "A wonderful novel with intrigue, love, mystery and tender, audacious and clean-cut characters." (Mario Vargas Llosa). "A magnificent novel that flawlessly brings together history and intrigue."(Juan Gomez-Jurado, author of "The Moses Expedition").

Maria Duenas holds a PhD in English Philology and is currently a professor at the University of Murcia.

She has also taught at American universities, is the author of several academic articles, and has participated in various educational, cultural and editorial projects.

She is currently writing her second novel.




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I nearly gave up on the book quite near the beginning, but I'm glad I didn't -- it picks up rapidly. Sira spends the first few chapters running away to Morocco with her obviously awful manipulative boyfriend, and the book only really gets good once he leaves her with nothing and she starts having to live for herself. I was quite happy reading about Sira's life in Morocco but it was once she returned to Madrid as a spy for the SOE that the story takes a more a exciting turn which kept me gripped until the end.Once finished I enjoyed reading about which characters were fictional and which were real -- I knew nothing about the setting so everything was new to me. Sometimes some of the characters, especially the politicians, got a bit confused in my head, and I found the lengthy expositions about the politicians and their backgrounds and allegiances interrupted the flow of the story a bit.Overall, well worth ploughing through the slow start.

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