Saturday, 27 January 2018

Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

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.

Paperback, 520 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Terri's Thoughts

Those who follow my blog and read my reviews know that without question my favorite genre is historical fiction.  In particular, if I can find a good wartime story to pull at my heartstrings I am a happy girl.  While this story did not necessarily pull the heartstrings for me, it did encompass the rest and really made me think.

I won't spend too much time regurgitating the story as I can see that it has pretty much been covered when I was researching to see if this book was a good match for me.  I don't normally read other reviews until after I finish a story so I do not go in with expectations but for some reason it did and for once I am glad I did.  What I saw in a few of the reviews was people saying they did not like the character of Eve.

Are you even kidding me right now?

I don't think the reader is supposed to like Eve.  It is kind of the premise of the whole story.  I can't explain it fully without spoilers but to me the whole purpose of the story is the journey that cause Eve to become the person she is on 1947.  Let me tell you it is easy to judge sitting in our cushy homes reading the story on our expensive devices but I am perfectly willing to admit in her shoes I would be the exact same or worse.  I have seen people become bitter and jaded over a lot less than what she went through.

Charlie's story was not really as captivating however I looked at her story as the vehicle in which we learned all of Eves story.  I liked how her journey from the first to the last pages made her a completely different and independent person.  I must admit that I was relieved when she finally stop seeing her cousin in the crowds.

Missing from this story is the epic love story that tends to come hand in hand with these types of stories.  That is ok.  I feel like the story was more to tell of the female spy network, and story namesake, The Alice Network and that there was already enough to tell without complicating it with another layer.  I admit that I plead ignorance to know if any of this is based off of any actual true historical events whether loosely or not or how much research was involved.  I imagine that things like this did go on during the war and I must admit that I would not have a quarter of the courage of the ladies in this book.

I apologize if this review does not make any sense to those who have not read the story.  For those who have, I think I may have gotten my point across.  All I can say is that although I think I am late to the party with picking up this book, fans of historical fiction who have not yet been introduced to this story should pick it up now and read it.

About the Author

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written seven historical novels, including the New York Times bestseller "The Alice Network," the Empress of Rome Saga, and the Borgia Chronicle. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

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