The Alice Network by Kate Quinn


History was always my favorite subject in high school and college. This love for history is probably why I am a fan of historical fiction novels, especially ones that teach me about an unfamiliar part of history. This was the case with Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network, a Reese’s Book Club selection based on the true story of a group of women who worked as spies in German-occupied France during World War I.

My hand holding a paperback copy of The Alice Network by Kate Quinn in front a pink hued wrapping paper.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The book opens in 1947, just after WWII, with nineteen-year-old pregnant, unwed Charlotte “Charlie” St. Clair deciding to sneak off to London while en route with her mother to a Swiss clinic to “take care” of her little problem.

While looking for her beloved missing cousin Rose Fournier, Charlie tracks down Evelyn “Eve” Gardiner, whom she thinks may be able to help find out what happened to Rose. Eve reluctantly agrees to help, and along with traveling companion Finn Kilgore, the women go on a journey through several French towns. The book alternates between the present-day 1947 timeline and 1915, where we are thrust deep into Eve’s work in the Alice Network, a troop of female spies led by Lili.

Charlie got on my nerves a bit, and her sections weren’t as interesting to me. However, the stammering, aloof Eve Gardiner, with her disfigured hands and hard-drinking habit, was a compelling character. Her determination and dangerous, heartbreaking storyline made up for Charlie’s annoying traits. And Charlie does grow during the course of the novel. 

I enjoyed how the two stories connected, reading about how the women outsmarted German soldiers and learning about a part of history I didn’t know beforehand. Be sure to read the author’s note at the end to learn which characters in the book overlap with the true story.

I recommend The Alice Network for fans of WWI and WWII novels and for those who love unique stories centering on strong female characters.

One thought on “The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

  1. Thanks for your review – I also like reading historical fiction! I haven’t read this, but now I’d like to – I particularly like WW2 fiction and don’t know anything about these women!

Leave a Reply