The Alice Network: A Novel
By Kate Quinn
Charlie St. Clair has travelled to Europe with her mother for purposes she’d rather not think about. What she does want to think about is the whereabouts of her beloved cousin, Rose Fournier, who has been unaccounted for since before World War II ended. Rose had been living in her native France, and her family has assumed that she is dead, but Charlie is certain that cannot be true: after all, the girls were as close as cousins could be, and wouldn’t Charlie “know” in her heart if her Rose was indeed gone?
It’s 1947, and the Continent is still in the throes of post-war recovery. Charlie has a scrap of paper with a name, “Evelyn Gardiner” and an address in London, miles from where Charlie has landed after sailing from the US. Eve Gardiner is Charlie’s one and only hope of finding resolution regarding her cousin, but Eve isn’t the least bit interested in helping. Charlie is nothing if not persuasive, however, and Eve finally relents and agrees to help Charlie, more for her own purposes than for Charlie’s.
Eve Gardiner had been part of a highly important, very secretive spy ring developed by the British during WWI, and the price she had paid for her involvement in those efforts was more than her driver, Finn Kilgore and Charlie could ever begin to imagine. The three set off on a journey to France with the purpose of finding Rose, dead or alive, but Eve has her own mission in mind, one that she’s not willing to disclose to Charlie and Finn….not until she’s ready.
Told in a series of chapters taking place In WWI and 1947, from Eve or Charlie’s perspective, The Alice Network is a fantastic piece of historical fiction that recounts the true story of some of the female spies who were part of an actual spy ring called “The Alice Network.” Author Kate Quinn has done an outstanding job of blending actual facts with fictional details that bring the reader right into the heart of the story, whether it’s a French restaurant full of Nazi soldiers or the narrow streets of a bombed out village. The situations in which Eve especially finds herself are gut-wrenching and tense, making this a book that is quite difficult to put down. The Alice Network, as the Brits would say, is absolutely brilliant, a very well written story about a little-known chapter of 20th century history that Kate Quinn has dramatically captured and put to paper. Don’t miss this gem!
Joyce Greenfield, ReaderToReader.com