The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Historical Fiction at its finest!  Using the real-life spy network (The Alice Network created by Lois De Bettignie – one of her pseudonyms was Alice Du Bois) during World War I, the author creates a thrilling story of female courage and self-definition of appropriate gender roles.  The story is told from alternating viewpoints.  Charlie St. Clair is a young, single pregnant American on her way to Switzerland with her mom to “take care of” her “little problem.”  But Charlie breaks away from her mother to seek assistance from a drunken recluse, Eve Gardiner, in finding her French cousin Rose, who went missing during World War II.  Meanwhile Eve’s story begins during the First World War when she is recruited by the English military because of her language skills to become part of the Alice Network in France.  When Charlie starts asking questions about a man Eve had thought long dead, they ultimately join forces to find out what really happened to that man, and to Charlie’s cousin rose. 

My description does NOT do this book justice.  The author has created a gripping story using many real people and events of Works War I that should be better known – especially the women who refused to be constrained by so-called “appropriate” societal roles in a time when the didn’t even have the right to vote!  (Partial female suffrage was obtained in 1918 for British women over 30 and in 1928 for all people over 21.  In the US the 19th Amendment to the Constitution giving American women the right to vote was not ratified until 1920.)

A Reese Witherspoon book club selection.

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