Monday, September 18, 2017

Book Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Pages: 503
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Library
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption. 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. 1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth ...no matter where it leads."

Charlie St. Clair's family has shipped her off to Switzerland to get rid of her unwanted pregnancy; after all, it's 1947 and unwed mothers aren't exactly celebrated.  Instead Charlie uses her newfound freedom to search for her missing cousin, Rose, who disappeared during World War II.  Every one thinks that Rose is probably dead as she went missing in France, which at the time was occupied by the Nazis, but Charlie wants to find out for herself.  Then there's Eve Gardiner, who was a female spy during World War I working against the Germans in France.  She works in a really extensive spy network and this is worth noting as Rose's last interaction was with this woman Eve.  Could Rose has been in the French Resistance? Kate Quinn weaves both stories very well in The Alice Network. If you like historical fiction, you won't want to miss this compelling novel.

All of the characters are especially memorable and well developed in The Alice Network. Charlie St. Clair is my favorite as I was invested in her story the most, but Eve's story was equally compelling though.   I was curious about her background and what secrets she was hiding.  There are many secrets that Eve's harboring, after all, she was a spy! What I especially appreciated about this book was the fact that both females are strong, smart, and unconventional for the time period.

All good historical fiction truly teaches readers something or inspires readers to learn more about a time period or a given topic. That was definitely the case with The Alice Network. I was definitely intrigued the real-life Alice Network of spies during World War I. I knew about female spies during the war, but the Alice Network was a new-to-me topic. I found it very fascinating; Quinn did a great job bringing it to life.

The mystery of what happened to Charlie's cousin, Rose, also really kept me engrossed in The Alice Network.  That's what is so great about this book. It has a little bit of everything. There's a mystery, some romance, some historical fiction, and truly compelling characters. If you enjoy smart historical fiction or stories about strong females, look no further! I can easily see why Reese Witherspoon would choose this novel for her bookclub.


4 comments:

  1. One of the librarians at my library was RAVING about this book the other day; she absolutely loved it. I love historical fiction, and this one is high on my list to read soon. Great review!

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    1. I hope you get to read it soon, Angela. It's very good if you enjoy historical fiction. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. Great review! I thought this was really good too. I think it would be a good book club book also and maybe someday I'll get to read it again with one of my book groups once the demand dies down at the library.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it would definitely make for a good book club selection! It was definitely one of my favorite historical reads of the year for sure. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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