Alice Network, TheQuinn, Kate
Unconventional American socialite Charlie St. Clair is determined to find out the fate of her cousin Rose who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France. Her only clue is a London address that offers up Eve Gardiner, an embittered WWI spy, drinking herself into an early grave, but someone prepared to help her in her search. For Eve has her own mystery to solve: what really happened to the (real-life) Alice Network, a web of female espionage agents that she had been part of.
Moving between 1915 and 1947, this is an exciting, historically accurate story of nail-biting intensity and vividly drawn characters. [Larger font]
Every one of our members enjoyed reading this book. The changes in viewpoint from Eve to Charlotte, the easy, flowing writing style, and the focus on strong women facing danger and challenges while showing amazing resilience were all features that appealed. Being based on a true situation - WWI and the spy network operating in France and England - gave extra depth. A page turner!
Quite an interesting book, although a bit too long. Good sized print and worthwhile explanatory notes at the back. Learning about the women spies and how they operated made you think how different life was, all those years ago. The descriptions of France were good to read about, especially the countryside of Grasse where the flowers are grown, and the perfume produced. It was interesting reading about the British nurse, Edith Cavell - she has a building named after her in Christchurch. A bit too long a book to recommend to others to read.
A good discussion on war, women, bravery and many other topics!
Well liked by all. The multiple points of view were a good method, the mystery aspect was compelling and we learnt about a history of the war different to the usual perspective.
Seamless weaving of fact and fiction. Do not be put off by the number of pages, as the small chapters helped to keep the reader engaged. The group was really enthusiastic about this book and really loved the way it was written. We were unanimous about the 5 star rating.
An easy and enlightening historical read with an absorbing mix of harshness and warmth. The two eras wove together well. A great read.
Weaving of history through a women's spy network in WWI and a young woman just after WWII with a little romance thrown in. It is a real page turner and most of us enjoyed every minute of the journey, even though it does cover some dark, sad historic events.
Mixed reaction, from one member who loved it and thought it deserved 4 stars, to one who found the writing style annoying and would give it a 2. Most found it a good holiday book, although one thought parts too tense and violent for it to be a relaxing read. Most agreed that while it was entertaining, it was somewhat one-dimensional, most also found the story about women spies in WWI interesting.
Interesting discussion around friendships and betrayal. Some thought everything was tied up too neatly at the end, but overall the group did enjoy the book. Lots of discussion about PTSD and how support is still lacking for our military.
This was by far our group's favourite book of the year. The interwoven characters and linkages made for a fascinating read. Loved by all!
Our group thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it a relatively easy read. Good to know it was based on real-life characters from the first war. Horrific times of torture and death were well told. Reminded us of the Nancy Wake story from WW2. Recommended.
We all enjoyed this book. Horrified by some of the details.
A ripping good yarn. Interesting treatment of historical facts and fiction.
Our group as a whole really enjoyed this novel. There was a slight reservation about Charlie's character not entirely ringing true, a sense of stretching her to fit the space that would join the pieces. The historical aspects of female spies in WW1 was a revelation and we like a context of historical fiction based around fact.
Everyone read the book, some rated it very highly, and there was general agreement we had learned new information. No one thought they could be a spy! Several members commented that the book was in two halves, with the first half authentic and the character of Eve very well drawn. Charlie was described by some as annoying and her story less compelling.
Opinions were very diverse and ranged from 1 to 5. Most thought it was contrived and not very authentic. It generated a lot of discussion about the commonly used formula of past tense and present tense narratives that come together at the end.
Great holiday read. Generated a lot of discussion about abortion etc.
Everyone enjoyed it! Surprisingly easy to read - even flicking back and forth between time periods. Enlightening about female spies etc and sobering to be based on some real people. Nice balance of dark and light.
This book was very popular with our group - a real page turner, with its basis in real events and places an added bonus. It deals with dark subject matter in a readable way, and Charlie's romance - though perhaps included for this reason - made the outcome of events less sad. Most liked the way humour was used, though some thought it was an odd addition to a story about such terrible events.
Can see why this book has been so popular. Great character portrayal, depicts so well another side of life in those particular darker times. Another view of women's roles and aspirations. Highly recommend.
Most of our group thoroughly enjoyed this book and were fascinated to find it is based on real war heroines. For some it took them back to their teenage years when anything about spies and war was eagerly devoured.
Not quite what we were expecting, this book was disappointing in many respects. Based on fact, well researched, but spoilt by the introduction of Charlie and her romance. It didn't ring true. We felt it could have been better edited. However, as a result of reading this book we certainly have a better knowledge of The Alice Network itself.
Generally enjoyed with much discussion on whether we could have been spies. (Answer - No!) We were impressed with the authenticity of the times, especially the burning of Oradour-Sur-Glane. We had never heard of it but Google confirmed the facts. However we all felt that parts of the story were contrived in order to make the main characters' lives similar. We all agreed that it was gripping book - couldn't put it down!
A great story of meshing the two World Wars together. it was interesting that along with the fictional characters in the story, it included interaction with real life people who were actually active in the 'resistance movement'. It would make a great film.
A relatively "big read" but universally enjoyed by members. Some members struggled a little with the 'back and forth' chapters. One of the better war stories we've read.
A unanimous decision - everyone really enjoyed this book and the way it was written. A lot of us couldnt put it down . It was a fantastic choice for our Holiday read.
With school holidays, grandchildren visiting etc, we only had half our club members here for the discussion. The enthusiasm for 'The Alice Network' was palpable however. An added bonus was to discover in the author's notes that many of the events actually did happen, as described in the novel. It was 100% thumbs-up for this one. And everyone read it in record time! " A real page turner".