‘There are two kinds of flowers when it comes to women,’ Eve said. ‘The kind that sit safe in a beautiful vase, or the kind that survive in any conditions… even in evil.'” -THE ALICE NETWORK
If you’ve been following my blog, you know I love historical fiction. It should come as no surprise that I’m raving about another histfic this week, THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn.
THE ALICE NETWORK follows Charlie St. Clair, a pregnant college girl who travels to Europe to find her cousin, who went missing during World War II. Her journey leads her to Evelyn Gardiner, a cantankerous, elderly drunk who curses too much and takes every opportunity to wave her pistol around. The unlikely duo team up to find out what happened to Charlie’s cousin and track down a man Eve hasn’t seen or heard from in years, but with whom she has unfinished business.
The story takes place between World War I and World War II and is told from Eve and Charlie’s perspectives. My favorite chapters were Eve’s. When World War I breaks out, she desperately wants to contribute, and she’s recruited as a member of the female espionage group, the Alice Network. She works as a waitress named Marguerite in Lille, France and gathers information on German activity. Eve speaks with a stutter, and she uses this to her advantage while undercover. Eve is intelligent and courageous, but Marguerite is slow and demure. Her bravery, commitment to her character of Marguerite, and loyalty to the Alice Network is enthralling. It was so intriguing to see how the eager girl from the start of World War I transforms into the bitter, damaged old woman Charlie meets at the end of World War II.
Charlie is an American from a proper family who is pregnant and unmarried, but she doesn’t let societal pressures dictate where her life goes from there. Charlie is determined to find out the truth about her cousin’s fate. Despite the likelihood that her cousin, Rose, did not survive the war, Charlie refuses to give up. She’s strong and independent, and she and Eve bring out so much in one another.
THE ALICE NETWORK showcases the horrors of war, the brokenness it leaves, and the strengths that arise in its wake. Eve and Charlie are everything readers could want in strong female protagonists, and I was captivated by both of them. I’ve realized I’m drawn to historical fiction which centers around unsung heroes, so I loved learning about the brave women of the Alice Network. Due to language, violence, and adult content, I would recommend this book to all adult readers, especially historical fiction fans. I laughed, I cried, I was on the edge of my seat, and Charlie and Eve are two incredible women I won’t forget.
‘Welcome to the Alice Network.'” -THE ALICE NETWORK