The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
A story of female espionage spanning both World Wars laced with revenge and hope
"Welcome to the Alice Network." These words would change Eve's life,as she becomes part of a spy network during WWI.
At the end of WWII, Charlotte finds herself pregnant and unwed - a disgrace to her wealthy family. Her mother sneaks Charlotte away to secretly "fix" things, but Charlotte has other plans. Her dear cousin went missing during the war and Charlotte (Charlie) intends to discover the truth, no matter the cost.
Based on the real Alice Network lead by a woman named Louise de Bettignies, this book is told from dual perspectives of Eve and Charlie whose lives cross paths just after WWII. It is an emotionally gripping tale of female empowerment, espionage, revenge, hope, friendship and courage.
My thoughts/feelings: Holy wow! I co-host a book club and this was my co-host's book selection for September 2020. I knew the book was going to be at least okay because it's part of Reese Witherspoon's book club and she generally has good selections.
However, I was not expecting to be completely blown away by this book. One of the book club members (who also happens to be my dear friend) actually ended up reading this book "buddy read" style because the story is so emotional and we NEEDED someone to talk to as we read. I went into this book thinking it would be a feel good read about how amazing women were in the war efforts.
It did showcase how amazing they were. But, it was not a feel good read. I cried so hard at two specific points in the book. I really appreciated that this book show cased a realistic side of war. It's ugly. It's painful- emotionally and physically. There are consequences, and torture is very real.
This is one of my top 5 favorite books of all time because of all the realness in this book. I loved that the book explored PTSD in women soldiers, which is something that I feel doesn't get enough attention. I really enjoyed reading the author's note and extra bits after the book which shared a lot of information about the historical aspects of the novel. Overall, I can imagine this book might be triggering for some readers, as it is a very realistic depiction of war, but I highly recommend it for everyone who is interested in this exploration of The Alice Network
"Hope was such a painful thing, far more painful than rage." Pg 21
"Be afraid, but only afterward. Before that, it's an indulgence." Pg 108
"It's not a pretty story," she said. "And it lacks an ending." "So write the ending now." Pg 192
"What a lot of things I was learning today. And so many still to go." Pg 193
"Baudelaire. We are not flowers to be plucked and shielded, Captain. We are flowers who flourish in evil." Pg 228
"You know why none of us judge?"... "Because none of us have the Goddamn right to look down our noses at anyone else's sins." Pg 234
"...Steel blades such as you and I do not measure against the standards for ordinary women." Pg 247
"...everything was upside down;evil was delicious and good tasted like gall." (forgot to record the page number)
"Worry it is wasted time, little Daisy." Pg 298
"... they cannot find me. I'm a handful of water, running everywhere." Pg 298
"There are two kinds of flowers when it comes to women," Eve said. "The kind that sit safe in a beautiful vase, or the kind that survive in any conditions... even in evil. Lili was the latter. Which are you?" Pg 336
"What's broken does not have to stay that way." Pg 342
"Bullets, boredom , or brandy-that's how people like us go, because God knows we aren't made for peace." (forgot to record page number)