Friday, June 23, 2017

The Alice Network Blog Tour and Review

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication date: June 6, 2017
Genre: Historical fiction
Source: Publisher for an honest review

Description:

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.



My Take:

It's hard to know where to start on this review of The Alice Network. The time covered is World War I through the turmoil after World War II.  The current action takes place after WWII and Charlie is searching for her cousin, Rose, who went missing during the war. Charlie meets Eve and her driver Finn and talks them into helping her with her mission.

Eve is a mystery to Charlie at first. She is difficult, is obviously traumatized by something in her past, but smart and interesting and funny at times. Charlie and Eve are more alike than either suspects. The novel is told in a back-and-forth style between Charlie's present and Eve's past during WWI. Eve's amazing story is told bit by bit as the reader follows Charlie's search for her cousin.

I found the character development to be very well done and was quickly pulled into the drama of Charlie running away from her parents' plans to take care of her "little problem" and take definitive action on her own. Even knowing the repercussions of her actions, she is determined to finally do something for herself. Charlie is a very sympathetic character and I thought she was easy to relate to.

Eve is a more difficult character - but once her story starts to come out, I was completely pulled into her life and her troubles. Without giving too much away, Eve is a real hero and such a tough woman. She had some very wild, dangerous, and ultimately traumatizing times during the war and she has the demons and ghosts to prove it. 

The story of The Alice Network itself is every bit as exciting and heartbreaking as the stories of Eve and Charlie individually. There is a section at the end of the book which describes which people and events are based on actual historical events. The stories of the amazing, brave women who worked in the spy network read like fiction - despite being based on actual events. After reading The Alice Network, I want to read more about them.

The Alice Network is all the buzz for a good reason - the book is highly readable, the story is intriguing, the tension is almost unbearable, and the characters are wonderful. This is definitely a book that I will be recommending to all my friends and to my book club.





About the Author:

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 turning to the 20th century with "The Alice Network." All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox