Review of The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
May 1947, Southampton. “The first person I met in England was a hallucination.”
I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must-Reads" and those are the first lines in one of my latest favorite historical novels. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn has parallel narratives. One of Charlie, a young unwed pregnant woman who, on her way to Switzerland to take care of what her mother calls her “little problem,” detours to follow leads to the whereabouts of her lost cousin.
The other narrative takes place during World War I and revolves around the life of Eve Gardiner and her work in a women’s spy network in Lille, France, a stretch of the German front. It’s based on a real WWI women’s spy network led by a woman christened the Queen of spies. Taking the code name Alice Dubois, she turned her facility with languages and her organizational flair to the intelligence business which resulted in one of the war’s most successful spy rings.
The fictional character Eve Gardiner is recruited to be one of Alice’s spies. Eve has a stutter that she uses to her advantage appearing to be slow and thus deemed a good choice for waitressing in a French restaurant owned by a mercenary Frenchman who catered to German soldiers. Eve eavesdrops on German conversations and passes along information.
The lives of Charlie and Eve intersect when one of the only clues to Charlie’s cousin’s whereabouts is Eve Gardiner.
If you appreciate historical fiction, you must read The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.