“Aged 12, 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 that she cannot return and so turns to her one true skill.”
This is a good story and, as it is a long book (609 pages in paperback), makes good holiday reading. A real page turner, with many layers, the book includes love, betrayal, espionage, and contrasts of poverty and glamour. Set in the 1930s and 1940s, the book includes factual elements and colourful, real characters which add to its fascination historically, as do the insights into Spain both before and after the Civil War, under Franco’s regime.
There are different settings including Spain, Morocco and Portugal. The exotic locations and how the Second World War touches the lives of the main characters living there bring many strands to the story, but all these elements are pulled together satisfactorily in the end.
With engaging characters, absorbing plot, love and intrigue as well as covering a period of history not often known or written about, this makes a very suitable choice for a book group.
Recommendation: A compelling book to read, ideal to enjoy on a beach holiday.