The Alice Network by Kate Quinn is an award winning novel published in 2017. It is the 2017 Girly Book Club Book of the Year, a Reese Witherspoon's Book Club pick, and a New York Times and USA Today best seller. Depicting the lives of two women, in 1915 and 1947, Kate Quinn brilliantly brings to life people that actually existed and sheds light on events that occurred during World War I and in the aftermath of World War II. This novel is about love, conviction, and loyalty, to not just people, but to a cause that seeks morality, peace, and justice. The Alice Network truly lives up to its expectations from beginning to end as not only a historical fiction novel but as a literary treasure of 2017.
The Alice Network's two main characters are Eve Gardiner and Charlotte "Charlie" St. Clair. After Charlie's cousin Rose has gone missing after World War II in Nazi occupied France, Charlie sets off on a journey to find out what happened to her. Though her family has searched and considered it a lost cause, Charlie is not ready to call off the search. However, finding Rose isn't the only thing on Charlie's mind, as she is pregnant, unwed, and at odds with her parents over the proper way to handle her "little problem". In the search for her cousin, Charlie is given the name of Evelyn Gardiner as a potential source for information. When Charlie ventures to London to seek help, she knocks on Eve's door to find that she may be in for a journey she never expected.
After yearning for more than the life of a secretary, Eve Gardiner was unexpectedly recruited to be a spy for England during World War I. Eve was trained by the lead spy of the Alice Network, Lili, who managed to run one of the most successful spy networks of World War I. With her quick wit and intuition Eve thrived as a spy in the Alice Network in German occupied France. Though Eve was successful at relaying important information retrieved from her undercover work, she is forced to push the boundaries on how far she is willing to go. Years later, now in her fifties, Eve is haunted by a past betrayal that tore the Alice Network apart. One night, a drunken Eve hears a knock on her door to find a flustered but eager Charlie St. Clair. From there, as Eve and Charlie begin their journeys together, the truth they seek may be more than they could have ever imagined. Both women's struggles, secrets, and personalities come together to make for a beautiful and heart-breaking experience.
The female characters in this novel are strong and empowering, which truly bring to life the women who put their lives on the line in World War I and II. Lili, the "Queen of Spies", was one of the main characters who was actually a part of the French resistance in World War I. Her stories, both in the novel and in real life, are truly mesmerizing and heroic. The beauty of this novel is in the characters and the historical accuracy, making for an even more touching experience. This novel reminded me at times of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, which are both phenomenal books. The Alice Network is brilliantly written, and easily became one of my favorite historical fiction novels. The characters, both fiction and non-fiction, are so elegantly and intricately written that they are easily brought to life. This novel will surely be a favorite for all readers who choose to read this fantastic novel.
Book: The Alice Network
Author: Kate Quinn
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 6, 2017)
Purchasing Information: Books-A-Million Retail Price $16.99; Amazon $10.89