Books

Kate Quinn’s THE ALICE NETWORK narrated by Saskia Maarleveld

Kate Quinn’s THE ALICE NETWORK is superb. Like many historical novels today, this one has a braided narrative, alternating between 1915 and 1947.

Nineteen-year-old Charlotte “Charlie” Sinclair is looking for her much-loved cousin Rose, who disappeared in 1944. She travels all the way from New York to Limoges, France, to a restaurant called “Le Lethé,” where Rose worked.

Twenty-two-year-old Evelyn “Eve” Gardner is bored with being a woman in 1915 England, and so applies to be a spy in Northern France. Once there, she talks herself into a job as a waitress at “Le Lethé” in Lille, France.

Both places are frequented by German officers, so Eve can gather scraps of information in 1915 Lille, and Rose can garner tidbits for her friends in the French Résistance in 1940s Limoges.

Unlike many readers, I found both threads of the story strong. I enjoyed getting to know Charlie and the disreputable friends she finds in London on her way to France: Finn, an ex-convict with empathy and a charming Scottish burr, and Eve, now a 54-year-old drunk suffering from PTSD. This thread of the story, in which these three unlikely characters wander through France, provided much-needed relief to the unrelieved tragedy of the 1915 story, in which 22-year-old Eve faces unspeakable hardship, abuse and grief as she struggles to do her duty for the country she loves. Five stars. #katequinn #thealicenetwork