Book Review: The Seamstress by Maria Duenas
The Seamstress by Maria Duenas
This is a novel that has won multiple awards and it has been translated into many languages. I thought it was superb, and well deserving of all its acclaim.
Opening in 1935, Sara is young and poor, working as a seamstress with her mother in Madrid prior to the Spanish Civil war. She is caught up in a whirlwind romance with Ramiro and they leave to start a life together in Morocco. But is not long before her lover abandons her and leaves her penniless. She has to rely on the one skill she still has: sewing. With the help of a kind-hearted boarding house-keeper she sets up her own couture business, sewing for the most glamorous English and German women in Tatouan. As World War II threatens everyone, she becomes a spy for the British Secret Service back in Madrid, sending codes in pattern books under the noses of everyone around her…
This is a World War II novel unlike any other, combining danger, romance, espionage, intrigue and war with an unforgettable character who is constantly reinventing herself in the course of the novel. Maria Dueanas is a magnificent storyteller. I look forward to her second novel!