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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn


The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
E-Book, 528 pages
William Morrow
June 6, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection

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.

I have been a HUGE fan of Kate Quinn’s throughout her writing career having read almost all of her works (still trying to find time to finish Empress of the Seven Hills and start The Lion and the Rose). Her heroines always have this spunk and sass to them, that comes through when you meet the author as well, that instantly draws me to them. I’ve been a bigger fan of her novels set in the ancient world and had hesitantly taken interest in The Alice Network only because it is SO far removed from the era that I think Quinn excels in. The time period between and surrounding the World Wars hasn’t traditionally been my thing and I haven’t openly embraced it despite the shift in interest of the publishing houses to this arena lately. However, after hearing from successive bookish friends and bloggers just how much they loved The Alice Network, and finding myself with a big gaping hole in my reviewing schedule, I jumped at the opportunity to pick up a copy and get to it!

Each chapter alternates between the WWI period told from the perspective of Eve and the immediate post WWII period told from that of Charlie. There are parallels that can be drawn here between these ladies who are similarly aged but seemingly so different for so much of the book, however deep down, they are more alike than they realize. For awhile I was much more into the Charlie chapters. While I loved the behind-the-lines, spy storyline of Eve’s, I felt that Charlie’s internal narrative was more of a personal struggle and I loved watching her grow over the story. I also loved that Charlie’s narrative is where the pieces start to come together and resolve.

The characters were all fabulous. Eve is so unusual a heroine, but that would be why she was so effective a spy: she was easy to overlook, but she had so much going on under the hood and she was passionate and daring. She gave up so much of herself for something so much bigger than herself. Charlie is a girl in trouble, but also a girl on a mission. She is trying to redeem herself and escape from the shadow of her parents expectations and money. This makes her and Eve such a hilarious foil of each other. And throw Finn into the mix and they are one interesting road trippin’ trio. Really, I found Finn to be one of the only truly likable male characters, despite his background, and I LOVED his character development throughout the story and how he effected the other two ladies. And his relationship with his car is something else! This trio was phenomenal to read.

Kate’s writing is always fun to read and she throws in some humorous scenes throughout, even little moments that just take the edge off some of the deeper, more tension fraught scenes.

I very rarely read a book a second time (has only happened twice) or own a book in multiple formats, but simply based off my enjoyment of the book and the sample of the audio I have listened to, I am very interested in going through this one again as an audiobook (I also might need to get it in print because…deckle edge!!)

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Kate Quinn:

Mistress of Rome
(Empress of Rome Book 1)
[My Review]

Daughters of Rome
(Empress of Rome Book 2)
[My Review]

Empress of the Seven Hills
(Empress of Rome Book 3)

The Three Fates
(Empress of Rome Book 3.5)

Lady of the Eternal City
(Empress of Rome Book 4)
[My Review]

The Serpent and the Pearl (The Borgias #1)
[My Review]

The Lion and the Rose
(The Borgias #2)

A Song of War
(Short Story Collaboration)
[My Review]

A Day of Fire
(Short Story Collaboration)
[My Review]

A Year of Ravens
(Short Story Collaboration)
[My Review]

Find Kate Quinn: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court


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