The Alice Network

The Alice Network

by Kate Quinn

Overview: 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.

Elaine Marlin (08/22/18): I thought this was well written. I learned a lot about women spies during WW I. I had no idea. I especially was interested in the author's notes and "voices of the past" at the end of the book, which wove the real people who spied, to the fictionalized characters.

Some scenes were brutal, and hard to read. Even though I thought it was a good novel, the character of Charlie, the 19 year old character, was less than interesting to me. Some of the escapades were not that believable and I had trouble with that. However, each reader must make their own mind up.
Rating: ****

Faith Bowers (07/29/18): I listened to the book in mid June and labeled it a thriller historical fiction. It had its scary parts with the antagonist and all the spying. I learned a lot about the German war machine of World War 1 that was overshadowed by the atrocities of World War II.

By going from 1947 to 1917 back and forth, you can get through the thrilling parts if you are not too much into thrillers, like myself. I am glad that Debbie wrote about her reading this novel so I can concur.
Rating: ***

Debbie Weiss (07/27/18): Charlie St. Clair has been brought up in an upper class "proper" family. It is 1947 and off she goes to Bennington College and finds herself pregnant before the year is out. Her parents are besides themselves and insist that she take a trip to Switzerland to "take care of the little problem."

Charlie heads to Europe with her mother, but she has other plans. Her cousin Rose, who she loved with all her heart, had disappeared during WWII and Charlie wants to search for her. She sneaks away from her mother and begins her search. She contacts a woman named Eve Gardiner, who might possess a clue to Rose's whereabouts. Eve is a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, older woman who had been a spy in the Alice Network for Great Britain during WWI. (The Alice Network really did exist during the first world war).

Charlie and Eve and Eve's Scottish driver, Finn, take off searching for Rose. Eve is also searching for someone from her past at the same time --- but who is this person and what is his significance in Eve's life? The chapters in the book alternate between the search taking place in 1947 and a detailed description of Eve's exploits in 1915. Little by little we understand why Eve is so miserable and self-destructive and we learn about the man she is looking for.

The book is eloquently written and exciting. The fact that the Alice Network truly existed, makes the book even more of a must read.
Rating: *****

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