The Alice Network

The Alice Network

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
7
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"It's 1947 and 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 fervent belief that her beloved French cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive somewhere. So when Charlie's family banishes her to Europe to have her "little problem" take care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. In 1915, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance to serve when she's recruited to work as a spy for the English. Sent into enemy-occupied France during The Great War, 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 launching them both on a mission to find the truth ... no matter where it leads"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY :, William Morrow,, 2017
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062654199
0062654195
Characteristics: 503, 14 pages : map ; 21 cm

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l
lilypad_1
Oct 20, 2017

I was anxious to read about women spies in World War 1 as I didn't know there were any. Eve's story was fascinating. Charlie's and Finn's stories were contrived and the romance was unnecessary in this narrative. I am interesting in learning more about the real Alice Network thanks to this book. The first 3/4th of book was compelling. Author's note at the end with historical facts was helpful.

p
poodlegirl
Oct 03, 2017

I don't give many 5-star ratings but I loved this book. Very interesting...lots of action...it never let up. I'll be looking for more books by this author.

e
EconProf59
Sep 16, 2017

I really liked that it was based (but to what extent?) on a true story. France is a country that hasn't really addressed its dual role in WWII during the Nazi occupation so I am curious to learn more. The writing style wasn't exactly gripping but I could see this becoming a great movie. And it was a bit like Bletchley Park stories--if the Brits, on average, were anything like this and those stories than that was an amazing generation of men and women

GCPL_Angela Sep 01, 2017

Told in alternating chapters switching between the voices of WWI-era Eve and post-WWII Charlie, I'd give this one 3.75 stars if that were possible -- somewhere between "good" and "very good," with the "very good" being Eve's story.

To wit: Eve's chapters are evocative and effective -- at their best, fast-paced and tense, as any good spy story should be. They are also quite grim; the personal toll endured by Eve and her fellow spies is bleak, bleak, bleak, and the tone of the book (at least in Eve's chapters) was darker than I anticipated. That said, I had never before heard of Lousie de Bettignies or the Alice Network, nor given much thought at all to the roll of female spies during the World Wars, and for those reasons alone I think this book is a success in that it sheds light onto the extraordinary sacrifices that were made by those women. Eve is a compelling character, both fierce and formidable, and her journey from innocence to what you might call emotional ruin is intense and affecting. This novel makes clear that the horrors of war are not reserved for the battlefields alone, and the message that heroism can take many forms is an important one.

Now, the not-so-good:

I think that Charlie's chapters are almost entirely unnecessary, much weaker than Eve's, and that the book would have been much stronger and tighter without the dual perspective. As some other reviewers have said, I found myself hurrying through Charlie's comparatively dull chapters to get back to the real action with Eve. The character of Finn in particular seems extraneous (and borderline cliched) to me; the real star here is Eve and her journey and the rest is often a distraction from that.

My verdict: uneven, but worth the read for the Eve sections.

martins_mom Jul 26, 2017

A great story about the women who spied for England during World War II. At a time when this kind of participation in espionage was considered a male domain, and especially off-limits to well-bred young ladies, the characters here are brave, inventive and unstinting in their efforts to carry out assignments.

l
lola_jane
Jul 11, 2017

An inspiring, heartbreaking and compelling read.

After World War II, Charlie St. Clair (college drop-out, unmarried and pregnant) embarks on a mission to find her cousin, missing since the War. She meets Eve, a cantankerous middle-aged drunk, who Charlie believes has a clue to her cousin's disappearance. For reasons Charlie doesn't understand at first, Eve and her driver Finn agree to help her search.

Charlie's story is interwoven with Eve's flashbacks to the Great War and her time as a spy in enemy-occupied France. Both story lines are engrossing and it was interesting to watch the characters develop. I really came to care for all of them. It was fascinating to discover how many of the details about the female spy network were based in historic fact.

KHaney Jul 03, 2017

So good! If you love historical fiction, this is one of 2017's best so far in my opinion. Reminds me of Code Name Verity, which is one of my favourites.

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