Hey Book Readers!
Today I am reviewing this month’s buddy read pick The Alice Network by Kate Quinn!
Full disclosure, I LOVE historical fiction; it is my favourite genre. So I had really high hopes for this book; the story sounded really interesting and I loved that it included a strong female narrative. However, having completed the book, there was much left to be desired.
Quick synopsis: 1947- Charlie St Clair, a pregnant unmarried America socialite finds herself in Paris looking for her long lost cousin Rose. 1915- Evelyn Gardner, a young British woman who joins a network of female spies in France during WWI. The two cross paths and embark on a mission that change their lives forever.
Let’s first discuss the positive aspects on the novel. It has an alluring plot, The Alice Network was a real network of spies that conducted very important work during WWI. As well as reading the journey that Evelyn takes from naive spy to drunk old woman was equally interesting.
I appreciate the strong female narrative, these women hardly relied on men, were clear in their ambitions and did not take no for an answer. However, given the time period and their position in society, I do not feel their actions are true to what women would have experienced in the 1910s and 1940s. It is difficult for me to believe that Charlie St Clair- underage, pregnant, unmarried, could so easily defy her affluent parent’s wishes and run off to Paris and suffer zero consequences (I am keeping my reviews spoiler free in case you wish to read the book). For me, she was a useless character, I would have almost preferred that the book solely focused on Evelyn and her time in 1915 in the spy network.
I also had issue with the pacing of the novel. It was too long (and not in the “oh I do not want to read a 500 novel” type long), to reach any sort of climax. I was about ready to give up on the novel until I reached the last few chapters. Honestly, the ending saved the book for me. It was both climatic and satisfying to know what became of the characters after all they endured.
My overall takeaway from this novel was I liked it, but would not be recommending it to friends and family (and you guys!) as a must read. I am not in anyway saying this was a bad book, it was good, and I know that people in the bookstagram community have read and loved this novel! Which I think is so wonderful! However, after reading so many stellar books this summer, it is hard for me to show great love for a novel that did not blow me away.
Rating: 4/5 Stars.
Had I stopped reading this book halfway through I would have given it a 3/3.5 stars but that ending was so great that I had to bump it up to 4!
Have you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!
***Disclaimer: These opinion are my own, in no way do I mean to harm or offend anyone. Thank you.