By Kate Quinn
Review by Virginia Garrett
New York Times and USAToday’s bestseller, The Alice Network is a fictionalized story based on the real Alice Network. The Alice Network is a novel based on the actions of a female World War I spy, Louise de Bettignies. Ms. Bettignies went by the code name Alice Dubois. Louise was a British woman who spied on the Germans in France.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn is the story of two women, one in 1918 and a member of The Alice Network’s ring of female spies and one in 1947 on a hunt to find her cousin Rose who disappeared in France during World War I. Charlotte (aka Charlie) has only an address, a name, and a compelling desire to find her cousin. The name, Eve Gardiner, is a fictitious character penned for the books alone and not history, was a member of The Alice Network and was there when Ms. Bettignies was killed by the Nazis. This book is their story and it reveals much of our own.
That alone should suffice to give the book literary merit. This book has not won numerous awards, in fact, I can find none other than it was on both the New York Times best seller list and the USAToday best sellers list. The book details some of the crimes against humanity that were meted out by those in power in Germany during World War I and those of the Nazi Party during World War II. At the time of this writing, we are in the midst of worldwide pandemic and for those of us in the United States of America are slowly watching freedoms being stripped away under the guise of safety. Much like those in power in 1940’s Nazi Germany told both the Germans and the Jews they were being separated for “the safety” of all, we are being kept in quarantine for our “safety”. Life has changed for all and some are pushing back on those changes and restrictions.
That is not the point of this writing. There are so many parallels between then and now that makes this book a must read, at least in my eyes. You see, I don’t want to repeat history, at least not that history in my own nation. During the times of World War I and II, hope was in short supply, much as it is, in some circles, today. Many are finding the truth of this statement from The Alice Network, “Hope was such a painful thing, far more painful than rage.” This resonates deeply. Rage, so prevalent in our social media driven age, is often in abundance when hope is in short supply.
“Many a gem lies hidden in darkness and oblivion.” This book fits that category. It is a fairly new release (published in 2017 by HarperCollins), and yet has been widely unnoticed. You can watch the trailer for the book here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gQJR53kG0w) You can read more about the author Kate Quinn here, (https://www.katequinnauthor.com) and you can read an interview with Kate here, (https://www.amazonbookreview.com/post/509ca494-8c93-4dbc-b076-54ea2874b765/working-for-the-queen-of-spies-kate-quinn-and-stephanie-dray-discuss-the-alice-network).