The Alice Network

Written by Kate Quinn
Review by Viviane Crystal

1949 London: Charlie St. Clair is unmarried, pregnant, and unwilling to end her “little problem.” She is also dealing with the death of her brother and a determination to find her cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi Germany during WWII. Charlie refuses to accept that Rose is probably dead. Through a series of unlikely circumstances, Charlie becomes acquainted with Eve Gardiner, a hard, disgruntled woman with mangled hands. Eve has a passionate obsession as well: to find the man who was her boss, in 1915, in a restaurant catering to German officers.

This novel doesn’t have the usual plot about the Resistance in WWI and WWII. The “Alice” in the title is the head of a widespread female WWI resistance group. The bond and the passion of each spy’s work are the center and essence of the story. The reader comes to feel their fear before, during and after they complete each mission, as well as the exhilaration experienced with each success. The German enemies are shown as foolishly arrogant and careless in their conversations, which become fodder for the Resistance’s victorious actions. Seduction and pregnancy are volatile and dangerous acts that could easily end in a woman’s death as a collaborator. Advising and protecting each other become pivotal in surviving the numerous overt and covert ways a spy can be exposed.

The reader follows Charlie, Eve, and Eve’s driver Finn through a series of nerve-wracking events that end with a breath-stopping scene, and eventually an acceptable resolution that gives a form of peace to the characters’ numerous traumatic memories. Amazing historical fiction that this reviewer recommends as a must read!