Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Book Review & Giveaway: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

First line: The first person I met in England was a hallucination.

Everyone, this book. This book!! Plot, characters, place, era, details, drama, villains, heroines, and wonderfully compelling storytelling -- everything was there that I wanted, unfolding in that delicious way that makes me just want to skip meals and read.

The novel follows Charlie St. Clair, a pregnant college student shipped to Europe to get an abortion, who yearns to find her beloved cousin who went missing during World War II. She meets Eve Gardiner, an pistol-wielding woman with a drinking problem, foul attitude, and destroyed, mangled hands. In alternating chapters, we learn Eve is recruited to work as a spy during World War I, part of the famous Alice Network, and her important but dangerous work changes her life.

Normally I'm not a dual narrative fan, but Quinn sucked me in with both stories/heroines and I really can't say which was my favorite. What I loved most about this book was its depiction of female friendship and emotional relationships between women. There's a scene between Charlie and Eve in which they're doing some hardcore emotional bonding while Eve teaches Charlie how to field strip and clean a pistol (!!!).  The scene was so incredible I had to stop and marvel -- never never have I read a book or seen a movie where two women are vulnerable in this manner.

Quinn's narrative style is magical; I wanted to read this book with an eye toward learning craft, but I kept getting lost in it. She manages to offer all the details one wants in a historical novel without it feeling clunky or awkward; she sketches up people in a manner that makes them clear, vibrant, and real. There isn't a wasted word, an overdrawn or rushed moment, or sloppily sketched caricature to be found. And she's funny, so funny -- which is welcome in this story because it is messed up and stressful (in the best way).

Quinn's readers are passionate fans for a reason: she tells a great story. This book runs about 528 pages and I'm pretty sure I downed it in two and a half days. I wouldn't have minded it being double the length. This is another top ten read for me this year and it left me with quite a book hangover -- so get it and prepare yourself to do nothing until you're done.

Title: The Alice Network
Author: Kate Quinn

Genre: Fiction (Historical / WWI / Post-WWII / Espionage / Female Friendship / Historical Figure Fictionalized)
Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow Paperbacks (6/6/2017)
Source: TLC Book Tours
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction

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I'm thrilled to offer a copy of The Alice Network to one lucky reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US readers only (sorry!); ends 7/7. Complete rules here.


  1. I love a dual narrative so this sounds right up my alley.

  2. This review is lovely. I want to read this book even more now!

  3. I absolutely loved this book! I cannot recommend it enough.

  4. I cannot wait to pick up this book - everyone is raving about it, and it is exactly the kind of book I most love (historical fiction in the World War era)!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  5. I've now ordered this one from the library. Thanks!