In which I send my readers over to Books4Spain to read my review of Maria Duenas’s blockbuster The Seamstress

*brushes cobwebs off blog*

Well hello again. Did everybody have a good Easter? Mine involved Scotland, snow, a(nother) massive Kindle binge, and a disappointingly small amount of chocolate. On the other hand I did spend a lot of time reading up about Sugar, Cod and Salt, (yes, I was on a commodities kick), so maybe there’ll be time for Chocolate yet…

Now, as regular readers may recall, I teased you all a couple of posts ago with the briefest mention of my upcoming collaboration with  Rod Younger’s new online bookshop and web resource Books4Spain. In my (only very slightly biased) opinion, it’s a great initiative, with a team of enthusiastic and very knowledgeable contributors, and should become an essential bookmark for anybody who wants to know more about Spain in all of its rich and multilingual diversity. Not to mention the adorable editorial assistant JJ, whose exploits you can follow via the Books4Spain twitter feed.

Rod’s mission is to help readers discover that

Books4SpainSpain is not just about sun, sea and sangria, it’s about the Moors, the Reconquest, El Cid, Hernan Cortes, conquistadors, the Golden Age, Don Quijote, the Camino de SantiagoflamencoRioja,Ribera del Dueropaellaseafoodthe Alhambra, Real Madrid, BarcelonaVelazquez, Goya, MurilloAndres SegoviaJoaquin Rodrigo, Carmen, NapoleonWellington, the Spanish Armada,Catalunya (Catalonia)Andalucia, or Andalusia if you prefer, Rafael Nadal, Fernan Adria – the list goes on and on.

And it’s about great contemporary fiction too, so if you head over to the reviews section, you’ll find my first collaboration with Books4Spain, which is my review of the new English* edition of Maria Duenas’s blockbuster novel The Seamstress (orig. El tiempo entre costuras). Here’s a taster, just to give you an idea, but seriously – head on over, read the whole thing, enter the competition to win a free copy, and then stay and have a look around:

Madrid, 1936. The young seamstress Sira Quiroga ekes out a living with her single mother. Poor and frustrated, her only chance of escape is to pass the civil service exams and become a typist. When Ramiro, a dashing typewriter salesman, erupts into her life with promises of wealth and luxury in Buenos Aires, Sira scandalises everyone by abandoning her respectable fiancé and moving in with him. Then her long-lost father, a wealthy married businessman, makes contact and hands her an inheritance, and it is too much for Ramiro to resist. He persuades Sira to leave Madrid and her mother for the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco, and in March 1936 they set sail for Tangiers, where Sira’s life, set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War and the European conflict that followed, takes an unexpected turn. Read more…

And now … back to your regularly scheduled programming. I’ve a post brewing about my latest cookery acquisition, Claudia Roden’s The Food of Spain, but apparently I need to test some more of the recipes before I can write about it properly (not quite convinced I got the full measure of that chocolate-almond cake first time around). All in the name of research, you understand…

* As I mentioned back last July, the US edition was out at the end of last year . Not sure why, but the US and UK editions have different titles. US version is The Time Between: A Novel.



  1. nazarioartpainting · · Reply

    Thank You for the information. I am a newborn baby writer. I write in Spanish.

    Also I want to share with you my new book. I finished and published at barnes and noble as a ebook.

    If you want to see go to
    The title is Un Regalo Secreto.
    The author Nelly Nazario

    The story is about a girl call Catalina who recently moved to a small town in where live an strange woman that nobody knows anything. The woman is excluded from society except for the recent arrival girl Catalina. Between both creates a strong bond of friendship. Catalina receives from enigmatic woman a very peculiar gift that will not only help her purpose in life and but that reveal their destination.

    I really appreciate found your blog because have great information to helped me a lot to grow up in the letters world.
    I love the Spanish but I hope someday writing my books in English too.

    Nelly Nazario

  2. robinnis · · Reply

    Yes I too have recently discovered the Books4Spain site which I would recommend to those wishing to explore books on Spain and much more besides.

  3. […] Of course you do. It’s been inescapable in Spain for the last couple of years. I even reviewed the English translation over at Books4Spain, although I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the TV series yet. And its author, María […]

  4. […] Of course you do. It’s been inescapable in Spain for the last couple of years. I even reviewed the English translation over at Books4Spain, although I haven’t had the opportunity to watch the TV series yet. And its author, María […]

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