Book Review: The Alice Network

Book: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Genre: Historical Fiction
Print Date: June 2017
Goodreads Score: 5

Short ReviewA captivating suspense filled story!

Book Summary 

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.

Long Review: I developed a love for stories set during wars at a young age. My Dad reads a lot of Historical Non-fiction so I thought I would give it a try when I was in Junior High and thus my love of Historical Fiction was born. I love learning about history, even if it is laced with fiction, so when I saw the summary for The Alice Network I knew I had to read it. I made the suggestion to my book club and thankfully they were all just as excited as I was to read it.  I highly recommend that you go out right now, or quickly grab your Amazon Kindle, and order this book immediately.

The characters are amazing. Amazing doesn’t actually even come close to describing them. They are spies, former soldiers, young girls searching for lost ones after the war, and evil French men. Each chapter goes back and forth between the two main characters, Charlie and Eve. You spend half of your time neck deep in 1914 during World War I and the other half just after the end of World War II. At the end of each chapter you hate to leave your heroin yet you can’t wait to get back to the other. I honestly can’t pick just one favorite character from this book. I love Eve and Charlie’s determination, fearlessness, and strength and the depth to each character. I even fell in love with some of the smaller characters. You also are introduced to an evil character that you obviously don’t love, but who you know makes the story as powerful as it is.

What I loved about this story was the emphasis on strong women. Yes, the story is laced with strong men, both good and evil, but mainly it is about the strength of women. I loved learning about the Queen of Spies, Louise De Bettignies. This is a a real story. A story of a woman that ran a large network of spies in German occupied France during World War I. Her fate in the book was her true fate in life that earned her the name Queen of Spies and I loved reading every word of it!

There is so much suspense throughout this book that you will literally be on the edge of your seat as you read. You will feel like you are right there being scrutinized as a spy is asked to present their papers at a border crossing, right there as Charlie discovers another clue to her cousin’s whereabouts, and right there as bombs are dropped and bullets are fired. Kate Quinn did an amazing job with this book and I can’t wait to read more of her work!

“Fleurs du mal,” Eve heard herself saying, and shivered. “What?” “Baudelaire. We are not flowers to be plucked and shielded, Captain. We are flowers who flourish in evil.” 
~Kate Quinn, The Alice Network


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