The Alice Networkby Published 06 Jun 2017
|The Alice Network.pdf|
|Publisher||William Morrow Paperbacks|
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.
"The Alice Network" Reviews
Traveling Sister Group read with Brenda, Susanne, Lindsay and JanB
I found this book to be a very interesting and fascinating read that was quite enjoyable although there was some issues that I had with the authors portrayal of one of the characters. I so enjoyed learning about the remarkable women of the Alice Network and really appreciated that there was some truth to this story. Would recommend!
The full Traveling Sisters Review can be found on our sister blog:
Charlotte "Charlie" St. Clair is an American college student that gets in a bind when she becomes pregnant out of wedlock. Belonging to a prestigious family, her parents arrange for Charlie to get rid of her "little problem" in Europe. Once there, however, Charlie separates from her mother and starts looking for her cousin Rose, who dissaperead during the war. Her search leads her to London, to the residence of one Evelyn "Eve" Gardiner. Though reluctant at first, Eve agrees to help Charlie track down her cousin and in the process, mend her own war time wounds.
Wow! Novels like this are the reason why I love historical fiction so much. Resonant, powerful and hard-to-put-down this novel is easily one of the best books I have read this year. Dealing with female espionage, war and role of women, this novel was very well crafted and has a beautifully written prose. Told in tandem by Charlie and Eve, from 1947 and 1915 respectively, this novel is foremost about one of the most successful ring of spies out of France called the Alice Network. Employing mainly female recruits, this organization infiltrated the German ranks and obtained very valuable intel. Because the women had an "outward innocence" but "inward courage", they passed unnoticed. This novel is about endurance, about the resiliance against adversity. While Alice was not a main protagonist, she is a vital part of the story. The leader of the organization, she is linked to both Eve and Rose. The connections are not obvious and the build-up was done masterfully.
The best aspect of the novel are the true heroines that inspired it: Louise de Bettignies (aka Alice Dubois) and Leonie Van Houtte (aka Violette). These woman are nothing short of admirable and worthy of the upmost respect. Alice was the head of the organization while Violette was her second in command. These woman were not physically threatening nor was their presence dominating. Quite the opposite actually: Alice was petite and Violette doned glasses that made her resemble a school teacher more than a spy, yet they created havoc among the Third Reich. The Alice Network had about 100 spies and until discovered, had an amazing run. Bettignies is dubbed "Queen of the Spies" and for good reason. She was able to fool most that crossed her path. Sadly she was caught (along with Van Houtte) and taken to a labor camp. Even as a prisioner, though, she was a thorn at the German's side, a fighter til the very end. Now that is what I call a true act of bravery. A great novel inspired by even greater women. A must read.
2.5 stars. I'm disappointed in myself for not enjoying this more than I did. I really thought I would love this book, yet I barely even liked it.
I really enjoyed learning about The Alice Network and that amazing piece of history involving female spies. These women were brave secret agents leading double lives during WWII aiding their country in uncovering highly classified information. These unsung heroes risked their lives as much as any soldier on the battlefield and I have so much admiration and respect for them. The Author's Note at the end of the book was wonderful in explaining a lot of historical detail and once I read that, I decided to round up to 3 stars instead of down to 2 stars.
While I enjoyed the educational piece of this novel, I had a very hard time connecting with the storyline and characters. The 1947 storyline centered around Charlie who I had a very hard time with. Her character was highly unlikeable and unrealistic to me, her actions often making me cringe in disgust. She was very selfish and immature and I couldn't find even one ounce of sympathy for her. There were a few things about her character and storyline that I wondered why the author chose to include - they seemed unnecessary and took away from the seriousness of the story for me. I grew to dread reading Charlie's chapters after about the halfway mark. She really took away from my overall enjoyment of this novel.
I know I am in the minority with my feelings toward this book, so please read the numerous other raving reviews before making a decision and please visit the Traveling Sisters link listed below to see how our group had varying reactions and opinions of this book. It was an incredible experience to read this along with my Traveling Sisters Brenda, Norma, Susanne and JanB.
To find our full Traveling Sister Read review, please visit Norma and Brenda's fabulous blog at:
“Facing a pistol-wielding murderer does tend to put parents further down the list of things to be intimidated by.”
― Kate Quinn, The Alice Network
This is a very short review, but I couldn't stay completely silent on this book. The Alice Network is excellent, and I might go so far as to say it is among my favorite this year, or even among my favorite historical fiction novels ever. It had everything I wanted - mystery, history, adventure, drama, romance, wit - and though it is quite long, I was never bored. I borrowed this from the library, but will buy a copy now, because I just liked it so much. Highly recommended, Kate Quinn has a new fan!
Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Books set during WW2 are my favourite type of books to read and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Not once was there a time when I felt the book to be slow. I felt for these characters and what they went through and when I read the Author's Note and found that it was based on true events, I loved the book that much more!