Monday, May 11, 2020

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network
Kate Quinn

Historical Fiction - 2017 (William Morrow)
Audiobook (Paperback - 503 pages)


The Alice Network is a historical fiction novel working on a dual timeline with a coordinating dual narrative. 

1947. Charlie St. Clair. Charlie is the college-aged daughter of a wealthy American couple who has found herself unmarried and pregnant. Her mother absconds her to Europe, planning to rid her of her "little problem". Instead, Charlie escapes her mother's control and flees to London in an attempt to find her missing cousin, Rose, who went missing under French Nazi occupation during World War II. 

1915. Evelyn Gardiner is recruited as a spy for the English against the Germans. She is stationed in a small town in France, where she is given the code name Marguerite (little Daisy) and is trained by the "queen of spies" Lili, also known as Alice. Lili is the mastermind behind the real life Alice Network, a collection of spies working together to help bring down the German forces.

Charlie and Eve's timelines connect in 1947, when Charlie finds herself hoping that drunken and possibly unbalanced Eve can help her locate her missing cousin. 


The Alice Network had been recommended to me quite a while ago by my friend, Patti, and I put it off much longer than I should have. I loved this book so much. The dual narrative and dual timelines weave together flawlessly and the characters are so incredibly distinct. I was completely wrapped up in the story and felt truly invested in nearly everything going on.

I enjoy historical fiction, but this was such a unique read for me. The war is present in the narrative, but it's more of an outside force. It's obvious and definitely plays a part in why the entire book actually exists, but the focus was SO ingrained in the characters that it was easy to let that fade somewhat into the background. It was an interesting blend, but it was a good thing. I think this serves to make the book more accessible for those who maybe want to try historical fiction, but shy away from "wartime" novels. There is a lot of historical content present, but it is beautifully combined with wonderfully imaginative storytelling.

The characters were amazing. Eve is a total badass and I adored her. She is so dynamic and such a factor of her experience and I loved every little bit of her. The inclusion of the stammer (taken from the author's husband's life experience) was a brilliant touch and made her even more unique and marvelous. The growth that is seen in Charlie is also great and I love that the female characters in the book are so incredibly strong.

The only flaw for me was I slight one. The ending wrapped up a little too quickly when compared to the rest of the book, but I still felt it was well done. Part of my disappointment in this construction was honestly due to the fact that I didn't want the book to end.

I can easily say that this is among my favorite historical fiction reads of all time. So much good writing and good story and just fantastic experience in these pages! I will be picking up more of Kate Quinn's work in the near future...I particularly have my eye on her novel, The Huntress.


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