August 4, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
In this page-turner, a courageous female spy (Eve) who was recruited to work in the real-life Alice Network in France during World War l, and a young American college girl and socialite (Charlie) who is searching for her cousin after she disappeared in World War ll, join forces in 1947 to find revenge, redemption, truth, friendship, and a bit of romance. As present-day Eve and Charlie search for truth, the story alternates between two time periods (1915 and present-day 1947). In this complex and multi-layered narrative, the reader learns about Eve’s backstory as a spy right under the enemies’ noses and Lili, the “Queen of Spies,” who manages the spy network. In the present day, Charlie deals with a grieving and angry Eve and an unplanned pregnancy as they search for the truth in Eve’s past and the whereabouts of Charlie’s cousin, Rose.
Amazon rating (August): 4.7 stars
The Alice Network is a continued focus on female authors writing about strong female protagonists. The Alice Network is receiving a lot of buzz (as evidenced by Amazon ratings of 4.7) and it’s currently on the must-read list of many readers who love a plot-driven, fast-paced story filled with drama, intrigue, and suspense.
I would categorize this story as moderate intensity as compared with other historical fiction selections (placed between intense reads such as Lilac Girls, The Nightingale, Salt to the Sea, Underground Railroad, and Between Shades of Gray and lighter reads such as The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). My reason for rating it moderate intensity is because there’s one section that’s difficult (emotionally) to read and I chose to skim over; whereas, in more intense reads there are multiple sections that are difficult (emotionally) to read.
In my opinion, The Alice Network includes several gimmicky or coincidental similarities between Eve and Charlie and some less than smooth transitions between the two storylines. Overall, though, I loved the active role of Eve in both storylines and that it was a gripping, suspenseful, and engaging page-turner featuring two courageous women. All the drinking and smoking while pregnant was disturbing….but perhaps this was accepted in 1947? As with all historical fiction, I enjoyed the knowledge gained…in this case about female spies in WW1.
I recommend The Alice Network for fans of historical fiction who are looking for a plot-driven, page-turning, gripping, suspenseful, and engaging story about strong, independent women and a spy network.
Content Warning: some violence, a brief torture scene
My Rating: 4 Stars
Meet the Author: Kate Quinn
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 four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before moving to the 20th century with the “The Alice Network.” All her books have been translated into multiple languages. Find out more here.
Please share your reflections on The Alice Network in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Next week, I’ll be reviewing a favorite The Glass Castle (a memoir) by Jeannette Walls in anticipation of the movie release August 11th if you’d like to “buddy read.”
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