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The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: A Book Review

The Alice Network
Author: Kate Quinn
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Pages:  528
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 Synopsis: 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 matter where it leads.

     My Review: Charlie St. Claire has arrived in Europe from America. There, she decides to look for her cousin, Rose.. The only person she knows that could find her is Eve Gardiner. Eve was once a spy in WWI. When she appears on Eve’s doorstep, Eve refuses to help her. Eventually, she agrees to help because she wants to find the person who has destroyed her life. Together, Eve, Charlie, and Finn, who is Eve’s driver, set out for France to find Rose. As their search continues, Charlie slowly learns about Eve’s past.

     The story alternates between Eve’s life as a spy in WWI and Eve, Charlie, and Finn looking for Rose in post-WWII. The story is told in first person by Charlie in the present timeline, and third person in the past timeline. I really liked how the author intertwined these stories together, and slowly unlayered Eve as a character. Eve is a strong woman on the outside, but underneath the toughness, there is a vulnerableness to her.

     Eve starts off as a naive young girl with a stutter. She has a job typing papers. When Captain Cameron recruits her for The Alice Network, she is excited at the prospect. However, she learns that being a spy isn’t as great as she first believed. There is danger all around, and Eve must make sacrifices for the good of the country. I really admired Eve. She was a woman of resilience and courage. I was enthralled by the sacrifices she made for the good of The Alice Network. She went through many tragedies, and I empathized with her. I alo loved her loyalty to her friend Lilli and to The Alice Network. She went through many extremes to stay faithful to them. She was also a very clever girl, and I was fascinated with how she used her stutter to her advantage. Thus, readers will adore Eve’s story and root for her as she tries to come to terms with her past.

   While Charlie was not as fascinating as Eve, she was still a likable character. She is unmarried and pregnant. Her parents are on the verge of disowning her. Nevertheless, Charlie is a strong woman. She wants to make choices for herself and wants to be in charge of her own life. One choice that she made on her own was to search for Eve. As Charlie learns about Eve’s past, she comes away with an appreciation for her. As she helps Eve comes to terms with her past, she also examines her life and future. Thus, Charlie is also a strong woman and readers will be intrigued to see how she grows as a character.

    Overall, this book is about friendship, loyalty, and redemption. The Alice Network is about coming to terms with yourself. The message of this book is to forgive yourself. The characters are all well-rounded and lovable. You will come away from this book feeling as if you have known them for years. I also loved the settings of WWI and post war-WWII. This book is very well-written and is meticulously researched. I did think that the present storyline dragged, and I preferred the past storyline instead. Still, there is enough suspense, mystery, action, and romance to keep you entertained. There was some violence in this book that I found uncomfortable. Still, I felt it was important because it showed Eve’s sacrifices as a spy. The Alice Network is a book that will linger with you long after you have read the last page, and you will be moved by  the stories of the two main characters. I recommend The Alice Network for fans of The Fire by Night, Somewhere in France, and We Were the Lucky Ones.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is the official book trailer for The Alice Network:


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