1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.
1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.
Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.
The Alice Network is some way out of my comfort zone but I must say that I really enjoyed this book. It is beautifully written and it captures the horror of war incredibly well, taking me to the various locations as I read. I could feel the pain, the sadness and even the happiness at times as the emotions radiated from the pages.
The novel focuses on two women, Eve and Charlie and the chapters are alternately narrated by them. They are both strong, intelligent women who struggle with the societal expectations of the time periods in which the book is set. I loved their heart and determination and I was rooting for them to succeed, even when their decisions were not particularly wise.
The novel is set in a dual time frame, in 1915 and 1947. I enjoyed seeing what had happened to Eve in the intervening years, but I found it particularly gripping when the link between the two women became clear. I really wanted to know how their stories would play out and was holding my breath as the situation became more dangerous.
The Alice Network is available from Amazon.