Review ~ The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn.

img_0335Wow, 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!

~ Pegasus.

The Alice Network

Review: The Nightingale (revisited) by Kristin Hannah

21853621So are you a fan of Kristin Hannah? Read this book! Wait! You’re not a fan of Kristin Hannah? Oh well, read this book!!!! This is a book worth reading. From start to finish it had me completely captivated.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a customer about the War. I now live in England and of course the War still has a presence here. Sometimes you run into people who remember what it was like. Having to take in strangers that were forced from their homes…and their lives….This customer was one such lady…It was just a random conversation that comes up unexpectedly…but leaves you pondering the entirety of the conversation…voicing my thoughts about what people had to go through…well, it has left me to wonder about life for long hours after the conversation ended. See here’s the thing I pointed out to her….it’s not Hitler I wonder about….it’s the every day people….we are so quick to judge….so quick to say, “I would NEVER do that.”…however…..how can you ever know? If your child is near death and hasn’t a drop of milk and you only have to nod your head when a neighbor’s name is mentioned…what would you do? If you only had to pretend to not hear the knock at your door of a person in need of hiding to protect your family….would you turn a deaf ear? If you were starving and there were five bites of sawdust bread for your entire family, would you be tempted to eat two bits of the bread? How easy would it be to walk away and close your eyes to Jews being marched down the street to their deaths? How hard would it be to take a step forward and show your support knowing you might be forced to join them?

Here is that story that attempts to give you some insight to these hard questions. Here you have two sisters and a father…a father that has already come home from one war and now finds himself watching another….two sisters that each have different views of how to get through this war…Even though all three might have different ways of “living” during this time….who is to say which is the right way? As they perhaps judge one another for the choices they are making it is soon apparent to them all that there is no black and white in such circumstances.

The only clear truth one can surmise is that even though the three all take different courses of action to survive….that there isn’t a right or a wrong choice…

I don’t know what else to say….I love books like this…..because they make me realise how your life can change in an instance….it makes you realise just how bad and just how evil people can be….and just how pure people can be…it makes you realise that everyone has reasons why they make the choices that they do….it makes you realise that no matter how simple it is to judge someone by their actions that in reality you have no idea what is powering those choices…

Such a wonderful read…..not a comfortable read….but a wonderful one…

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah