The Alice Network, Kate Quinn, William Morton, out June 2017. A Paperback Original
Do I like this book? Do I need air to breathe?! I really enjoyed this fine historical fiction, which I think will appeal to anyone who loved The Nightingale.
The time-period covered in the novel, is World War I and the years right after World War II. It draws heavily on real life events and characters. The Alice Network was a spy ring of women in World War I, run by the British, and it was extremely effective. It may well have been the best spy network during the war. The leader of the network was a small dynamo of a women, whose nom de Guerre in the book is Lilli. The book also features a great heroine of World War I, not widely known in America, Edith Cavell, a British nurse who helped over 200 Allied soldiers escape France. The World War II section includes characters drawn from real collaborators and uses true events, including a massacre of a village by the Nazis.
The story starts in 1947 when Charlie, a young American college student, scandalizes her family when she discovers she is pregnant. Sent to Europe to end the pregnancy, she goes London to start the search for her cousin, Rose, who has been missing since the end of the war. World War II. She enlists the services of Eve, an older woman who lives as a recluse in England, but who was central to the Alice Network. The search for Rose awakens Eve’s memories of her time in the Network and the women set out on the journey to France, both with their own goals in mind.
I was glued to this book, which deals with the harshness of the Great War in Northern France and Belgium, including the cruelty perpetrated in the occupied city of Lille. It is a tale of historical actions and realities; it is a story of revenge on a German collaborator and it also contains a romance.
In the end, the real question this book asks is, does anyone ever really get over war?
This could well be a surprise hit book this summer. It is good for home or travel.