I am not usually a fan of a story that jumps back and forth in time. Mostly because it can become an exercise in frustration and confusion. But, in The Alice Network, Kate Quinn has woven the two time periods together like a master weaver. Two women and two world wars. One, a scarred and damaged spy from the First World War; the second, a young American in France looking for a childhood friend shortly after the Second World War.
France and its people are a distinct character in this book. A nation that endured a devastating and brutal occupation twice in a generation. The Alice Network is more than a story about spies. It is a story of the hearts of courage that faced evil and emerged unconquered.
The Alice Network was real, and the author has given us an intimate look into the lives of women who risked their lives to help the allied forces against German invaders. The author changed no names in this fictionalized account of actual people and actual events.
This is historical fiction from the pen of a master, who wastes not a detail of history nor a word in its retelling.
Here is an excerpt that so speaks to the brilliance of the author in its depiction of the childhood of a woman who would one day become a member of a network of spies which two nations later decorated and lauded.
“You were asking about my parents? My father lived and worked in Nancy; my mother kept house.”
“I went to school, home for tea every afternoon. My mother taught me French and embroidery, and my father taught me English and duck hunting.”
“How very civilized.”
Eve smiled sweetly, remembering the roaring behind the lace curtains, the course slurs and vicious arguments. She might have learned to put on gentility, but she’d come from something far less refined: the constant shrieking and throwing of china, her father roaring at her mother for frittering away money, her mother’s nipping at her father for being seen with yet another barmaid. The kind of home where a child learned quickly to slide unseen around the edges of rooms, to vanish like a shadow in a black night at the first rumble on the domestic horizon. To listen to everything, weigh everything, all the while remaining unnoticed. “Yes, it was a very instructive childhood.”
And here is a quote from the actual Queen of Spies, Louise de Bettingnies, the leader of the Alice Network:
When urged to be more careful, she laughed, “Bah! I know I’ll be caught one day, but I shall have served. Let us hurry, and do great things while there is yet time.”
In my novel, All That it Takes, the first book in the Where Can I Go? Series, I desire to bring awareness to the devastating occupation of human traffickers in today’s world. That desire continues as I write the second book in the series, What Justice Requires.
So, I say to you, dear reader; let us hurry and do great things while there is yet time.
Will you educate yourself on human trafficking in your community? Please go to my resources page for more information.