The Alice Network

January 20, 2023


Quinn loves history and she does a fabulous job of telling this story of hard won hope that streches from The Great War to the aftermath of World War II. In The Alice Network she gives life to two brave and brilliant women, in a memorable story filled with heartbreaking moments and lighthearted moments alike. Charlie St. Clair is a nineteen year old pregnant, unmarried American college girl in 1947 post WWII France desperately searching for her cousin Rose who disappered in Nazi-occupied France. Eve Gardiner’s story beings in 1915 as an English spy in German-occupied France. Charlie and Eve cross paths in 1947 on a mission to uncover the truth that eventually sets them both on the path to redemption.

The “wallflower to belle-of-the-ball” arc is a classic trope for women in fiction. But Quinn’s version of that trope has a twist- her women transform from duckling to swan not because of a prince, but because of a job— because they find something they are spectacularly good at, and it makes them flower into their full power and confidence. This makes the story of these women inspiring and uplifting.

I was in a reading slump for the second half of 2022, but The Alice Network changed that for me. I listened to the audiobook, which was well produced and I recommend it if audiobooks work for you. However, I don’t think you’d “miss out” if you just read the book. There is never a dull moment, and I was on the edge of my seat throughout the story. The tension is particularly palpable when the two women confront a common enemy at a cafe in France. For me, the story had the ending it deserves, I couldn’t have been more satisfied with another conclusion.

Narrating two different stories at two different points in time, unfolding only to collide in occupied France reminded me of All The Light We Cannot See which uses the same narrative device, it is a beautifully written historical fiction, I read in 2020.

The parts about the spies reminded me of The Spy and the Traitor, which I read in 2021. Both the books include real-life spies, both the books have spies who became spies thanks to their knowledge of multiple languages, and both the books add life and style to historical events. Even though The Spy and the Traitor is nonfiction whereas The Alice Network is fiction, both make for exceptionally thrilling reading.

Finally, some of my highlighted quotes.

  • “What did it matter if something scared you, when it simply had to be done?”
  • “That doesn’t mean you were boring, ma p’tite. Just bored. Most women are bored, because being female is boring. We only get married because it’s something to do, and then we have children and find out babies are the only thing more boring than other women.”
  • “Eve wondered how much it was possible to change in two weeks. Or was it not change, but becoming what she already was?”

Made with lots of ♥️ and