Wow, where do I even start? You know that moment where you have a genre, or even an idea of a genre, that you really fancy reading? Well, you finally find it and hope that it delivers, even if it is just a fluffy entertaining read… and it does… In fact, it more than delivers, it smacks you and brings you back for another smack! This is a bit like how I felt when I recently finished reading The Alice Network.
For a while now, I’ve wanted to read some good French Resistance/WWI/WWII fiction, and after many a “wasted” hour spent trawling Amazon, GoodReads, et al, I found this title and thought I’ll give it a go. I didn’t read any reviews (no, that’s not a hint that you should stop reading this one!), and I delved straight in.
Now, I am going to warn you that this story is split/dual narrative and timeline/setting. I know some people find that really jarring, but here, it seems to work well. We have Charlie in 1947, looking for her cousin who disappeared in WWII, and then we have Eve, in 1915, who is approached to become a spy for the French Resistance in German occupied France.
Charlie is given Eve’s name as someone who may be able to help her, and therefore goes to find the now older spy. From there begins a journey that neither character, or reader, could have predicted.
Now, I haven’t read any of Quinn’s previous novels (from what I’ve seen, Quinn seems to stick to Roman and medieval style Historical Fiction), so I had no expectations of her writing style, characterization, pace, etc etc… The writing in The Alice Network is stark, to the point and realistic. There is little unnecessary flowery language that tends to get used as filler. The characters, for the most part, are three dimensional, believable, and not cliched. I even really enjoyed the side characters, and each one could have easily warranted their own story in another book.
What I liked best about this book is that Quinn doesn’t patronize the reader; the actions of the characters are genuine and realistic. While there were a couple of times that I would have taken a particular story thread in a different direction, overall I was really satisfied with the eventual traveled path.
I would have no hesitation is giving this novel 5 stars, and/or recommending it (as I have been) to anyone that likes to read. See for yourself and pick up a copy!