Title: The Alice Network
Author: Kate Quinn
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: June 6, 2017
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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.
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.
My Two Cents:
"The Alice Network" is the story of two women. There is Charlie in 1947, a young woman who goes to England to begin searching for her missing cousin. Eve is a young woman in 1915 who becomes a spy during World War I as a part of the infamous Alice Network. Both of these women are haunted by ghosts. In Charlie's case, it is her beloved cousin Rose who is missing without a trace. Eve is haunted by Lili, the leader of the Alice Network. Both women desperately believe they may be able to change the outcome for Rose and Lili. This is a stunning story that has so many twists and turns. The way that Charlie and Eve's stories intertwine with each other is fantastic.
It's hard to know where to start with a book like this. There's no wrong place so I'll start with the standard - characters! The characters in this book are fantastic. Charlie is headstrong and committed to finding Rose even when Rose's family has seemingly given up. She is indecisive about keeping her baby even though she really doesn't know who the father is. As the story goes on, we see her mettle and what she is really made of. As a reader, it was so great to see this transformation. When we meet Eve in 1947, she is a grumpy old woman who seems quite bitter and really ready to be done with it. As the story unfolds, we see what led up to this. We see what transformed her from an unsure girl who seems relatively happy into an old woman who can't seem to find happiness anywhere. And these are only our two main characters! The supporting characters are amazing too. One thing that I love about Kate Quinn's books is that all of the characters, main and secondary, are so detailed and so stand out! They quickly begin to feel like people that you could possibly know in real life.
The story is filled with fantastic historical details. While many characters in the story are fictional or based on a collection of people, there are a lot of characters that are real like Lili. Her story as a spy during WWI is fascinating. I loved how the author went into some detail about how spying was done during WWI. That being said, with as much historical detail as there is, it never feels like the book is a laundry list of cool historical facts. They are truly woven throughout the story, which makes for a really rich read.
Perhaps one of the biggest marks of a great book for me is when I am alternating between reading as fast as I can because I have to see what happens and reading oh so slowly so the book doesn't end. It was hard to decide what to do. In the end, this book is one to savor. You savor the connection between all of the different characters. You savor the rich detail. You savor the ways the that events happen and how they are connected throughout the book. All of it is meant to be savored (as hard as it was for me to do that). This is such a good book and I have a feeling that it is quickly going to become one of my favorites to recommend to other people!