14 June 2017

review of



“Both funny and heartbreaking, this epic journey of two courageous women is an unforgettable tale of little-known wartime glory and sacrifice. Quinn knocks it out of the park with this spectacular book!”—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter


 





 

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.




I've really been into books set in this time frame recently.  I've never read a book by Ms. Quinn before and I can say after reading The Alice Network, I will again. 
This is actually two stories in one for lack of a better way of putting it, but nothing suffers in the telling and both are equally as well written an compelling. 
There is a tremendous amount of wit, and heart here that makes/helps to transform  The Alice Network to much more than just a "spy" novel.  That tag doesn't do this book justice. It's got some the edge of your seat moments, yet it's not over the top. There's a delicate balance here that makes the novel shine.
The setting and plot are beautiful and haunting and I freely admit to a few tears with my laughs.  I found the (main) characters to well developed and likable. Their personal journeys kept me intrigued and wanting to read late into the night.

 




 




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