Best Literature & Fiction
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller
An NPR’s Best Book of the Year
A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick!
The 2017 Girly Book Club Book of the Year!
A Summer Book Pick from Good Housekeeping, Parade, Library Journal, Goodreads, Liz and Lisa, and BookBub
In this enthralling novel from New York Times 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.
In gobbling up the books written by this author, it was inevitable I would chance on this audiobook. I’ve come to love the heroic women of both WWI and WWII (most read of the latter lately) and figured this would be the same. To a large degree, it was.
Written using the real-life memories of Alice Dubois from WWI, The Alice Network uses her story and expands to include a character of the second world war, Charlie—not a hero—but one looking for her long-lost cousin, Rose.
From a well-to-do family, Charlie is being whisked out of the US to take care of her “little problem” in 1947. She comes to feel she cares more about discovering what happened to Rose than eliminating the problem that appears greatly more her family’s embarrassment than would seem her own. Having frittered her college experience away being a spoiled, immature girl who slept around until it caught up with her, she is suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling she must know what happened when her cousin got caught up during the war years. Now that she is in France, it may be her own chance to find her.
When Charlie escapes the clutches of her mother, she blunders into the home of Eve using the few clues she has. Eve, now a senior and veteran of the Network named after her superior in the war during which she was groomed and proved an exceptional plant in France to spy on the Germans.
Eve’s backstory is revealed slowly when she and Charlie team with Finn, a Scotsman who has been employed by Eve to help her oversee her house and to a large extent herself. She proves a hard-drinking, extremely colorful, and outspoken profane leader as they first find Rose, then proceed to look for the profiteer who so cruelly ended Eve’s war experience.
Yeah, I didn’t like Charlie’s character at all and was at a bit of a loss as to the intensity of emotion regarding her cousin (well, okay—like a sister to her). Eve was twisted, said to experience PTSD, certainly could have been. Her experience was tension-filled and violent.
The conclusion was a bit much, predictable regarding Charlie, but at least satisfying regarding Eve. The book is a long one, but the narrator does a terrific job, and it’s really not too hard to breeze through—especially those chronicles involving Eve.
Am I the last to read or listen to this one? I see it was quite popular and as always with these stories, many disliked as well as appreciated at least the research and the story of the network. Have you already enjoyed this book? Did you love it?
A bit of a departure from my last Kate Quinn, The Diamond Eye, I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.
Genre: Military Historical Fiction, War Fiction, Espionage Thrillers
Listening Length: 15 hrs 7 mins
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Alice Network [Amazon]
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
The Author: Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with “The Alice Network”, “The Huntress,” “The Rose Code,” and “The Diamond Eye.” All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with three rescue dogs.
The Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld is an experienced audiobook narrator and voice-over actress based in New York City. Raised in New Zealand and France, she is highly skilled with accents and dialects, and many of her books have been narrated entirely in accents other than her own. In addition to audiobooks, Saskia’s voice can be heard in animation, video games, and commercials. She attributes her love and understanding of reading books aloud to coming from a large family where audiobooks were the only way to get through car rides without fighting! Visit saskiamaarleveld.com to learn more.
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