The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Before Reece Witherspoon made The Alice Network by Kate Quinn her summer online book group selection, my fellow barista was pointing it out to me on lists of anticipated summer novels. Delighted to have The Alice Network in my vacation book bag earlier this summer, I eagerly began reading. What I discovered was that though I was sold on advanced reviews, the cover and the World War I & II setting, I was quickly drawn into the story and especially the characters. Charlie is a Bennington College student in a family way, traveling with her mother to Europe to visit a clinic for an abortion. She ditches her mother somewhat easily and searches for her cousin Rose, who is lost in France. In her hotel, she meets Eve, a bitter and gruff World War I spy who may be able to help her find her cousin Rose. Eve comes with a driver and personal assistant named Finn. The three set out to search for Rose, as well as to find a piece of Eve’s past–a piece she would like to resolve once and for all.
The story of their courage to search for answers, to exorcise their internal and external demons, and to resolve the injustices of both past and present, is gripping and quite moving. If historical fiction is written to give you a feel of the time, Kate Quinn is a very successful author. To read this book is to walk next to Eve and Charlie, your skin tingling with their pain, their frustration, their retribution, their acceptance, and ultimately redemption. This is a novel with teeth and staying power. I highly recommend it!
The Alice Network is based on a real network of spies and people resistant to the Germans in the First World War. Eve is based on Louise de Bettignies, a real resister. You can read more about the Network and its heroes here:
For more information about Louise de Bettignies, the person Eve Gardner is based on, visit: