Have you ever read a Kate Quinn book? She writes some of the best historical fiction books ever. I just finished “The Alice Network” by her. Not only do I jump on all her books as soon as they’re out- but as well, this one came highly recommended by Reese Witherspoon for her book club. Reese raved about it. I love Quinn’s books, so here I am to rave about this one myself.
Set about a few years after 1945, The Alice Network (the renowned network of women spies who helped fight the Germans and end WW1), is brought to us through the retelling of Eve’s own life as a spy in that First World War. Eve, somewhere in her late 50’s when she meets the young and pregnant Charlie ( Charlotte) while the latter is on the search for her lost cousin- who is presumed to have died in WW2 ( Charlie is on a mission to prove she isn’t).
The book portrays Eve as a bitter and angry woman for all the danger, abuse and horrors she suffered as a spy. Could the retelling of the history and incidents in her life help Charlie solve the puzzle to find her cousin? There’s much that Charlie learns- about herself, life, the baby she is not sure whether she will keep…she may even find love…enter the Scottish rake, Finn;) And, finally, I can’t omit another pivotal character, the horrible and retched Rene Bordelon.
Running the lives, thoughts and experiences of both these women, by switching back and forth between characters and eras, is Kate Quinn’s specialty. This adds so much tension and need to read more. Quinn sails us through their lives from past to present while we relive both wars and the twists of fate and danger; Let’s just say it makes for an incredibly exciting read. I was totally hooked.
But what grabbed me the most though, was that network of spies that Eve was a part of. Women who dedicated their lives, their being and self for true patriotic commitment to their country; Especially the ring leader who is the focus of The Alice Network. A commemorated and glorified heroin, Louise de Bettignies, a real historical figure, is highlighted by Quinn throughout the book. In fact, most of the characters in The Alice Network are based on true historical figures. Most of the scenes that help tell the story are also factual; taking you back to the times, making you feel like all of it really did happen.
I became obsessed with this book, which led me to doing my own researching afterwards. It fascinates me when I think about the power and strength that can grow within a network of women committed for a truly good and heroic cause. Dismissed as frail and feeble minded, they trudged on and fooled everyone by becoming the greatest spy network ever -still talked about today.
A quick and fast-paced read- You gotta get this book.
#confessionoftheday: snuck downstairs in the middle of the night to finish those last twenty pages.