Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
  • ISBN-10: 0062654195 - Paperback $16.99
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 6, 2017), 528 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

The blurb:
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 networks of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.  

More than 30 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 matter where it leads.

I enjoy historical novels but am particularly drawn to British heroines, so the brave spy in The Alice Network broke my heart.  I expected to enjoy the espionage, the adventures, the risks that these women spies undertook but was fully drawn into the world of Eve, Lilli, and their comrades.  

As Kate Quinn describes England and France after World War II and during the German occupation of World War I, it is easy to understand how the period remains such a large part of cultural awareness even as we are nearing the 100 year anniversary of World War I.  

As Quinn deftly shifts from the two periods, Eve and her past shine through.  Her companions during the "present day" 1940s are strong, determined and finding their way. The characters of The Alice Network stayed with me long after I'd finished the story.  If you enjoy period mysteries and spy novels, lose yourself in the brave women of The Alice Network.

About the Author:
Kate Quinn is a native of Southern California.  A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome saga, and two books on the Italian Renaissance.  All have been translated into multiple languages. She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia.

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