Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

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 truth…no matter where it leads.

5 stars

Historical Fiction | Romance | Adult Fiction | War

I have many genre loves that will be still my speckled heart, and honestly Historical Fiction is one of those genres that has and will always tugged me by my heart, pleading for me to read. Obviously I obey. What are my favorite settings? A little history for you, (because whether you are curious, I am going to say…) my father is military and growing up we would watch countless hours of history channel; this is something I have yet to fade on in my adult life, Band of Brothers, Full Metal Jacket – my favorites. I am generally captivated by any fiction that is either historically twisted or completely alternated by the author during a war atmosphere premise. Ergo The Alice Network.

Set between two time frames and two perspectives. Charlie during 1947 and Eve 1915. Two women, during two very different times yet so very similar struggles. So how does this come together to make our story that I fell in absolute love with? Easy…

Charlie runs away from her mother while on a trip to take care of her ‘Little Problem’, which during this time period was illegal but for women of money not uncommon nor unheard of to find a safe procedure for abortions especially to keep a wealthy family name from being tattered; Charlie is desperately looking for her cousin Rose who disappeared during the WWII and was never heard of again, but for some reason has a connection to Eve. This is how our unconventional team meet, and oh how they are a pair to witness.

For me, Charlie was absolutely a gem to read. Young women in her stature during this time period was not uncommon in the least, she was brilliant and overlooked, she was beautiful yet taken for granted, she was numb and taken advantage of… As Charlie started connecting to Finn, and more to Eve (scary enough, the old bat) you realize how sad of a human Charlie was, how her home life was, school. She was truly drowning. I literally shed tears as she opened her soul and heart to the group, especially as she connected to Finn. And on my goodness, Finn. The Scottish dish. Thirty-something vet who had a bit of a secret himself made me swoon and demons that made me cringe with the want to just reach out to hold him. He was a balance between Charlie and Eve, almost like the glue honestly in the dynamics of the banter.

Eve on the other hand was something of a mystery until the end. Everything I learned from her past 1915 personality as a female espionage detail to her 1947 drunken personality was a complete one eighty devastatingly different spectrum. Eve is a heroine, like Charlie, beautiful yet taken advantage of, brilliant and overlooked, powerful yet seemingly broken. Her entire story was ground breaking, going behind enemy lines and being a spy – risking her life for the greater good. The web connections between Eve’s War (as she called it) and Charlie’s War was catastrophically heart pounding. The old bat surprised all of us… 

Something that Charlie said that really stuck with me when I reading the book. Really between Charlie and Eve, as I know it was their story to tell, Finn being in the middle, I really feel it was their story, all three. The story of people who are broken who do not and have not had a voice – 

I know my brother wasn’t bad when he punched walls and screamed curses and panicked in crowds! He wasn’t bad, he was broken. So are you. So is Eve. So was I when I flailed my time away in school either crying in bed or sleeping with boy I didn’t like. What’s broken does not have to stay that way. 

Bottom line – this was amazing. The Alice Network is the perfect blend of two perspectives between two women who lived the same type of life yet very different eras. It is a breath taking narrative, as a reader you live each scene with Charlie and Eve, you shred each emotion as they do during their enthralling adventure. One of the best historical fictions that captures essences of female struggles; the time periods were so vivid and descriptive. I was captivated from the start.

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