My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well this was disappointing 😐
Not long into The Alice Network I started to seriously question why Kate Quinn didn’t just set the story in 1915 during the Great War. This would have easily been a 5 star read if she did, but alas the 1947 storyline dragged it down to a 3 star read instead.
Before this I had never heard of queen of spies Louise de Bettignies, former governess who took the code name of Alice Dubois and turned her facility with languages and her organisational flair to the intelligence business. The result, the Alice Network, was one of the war’s most spectacularly successful spy rings.
The Alice Network is a dual perspective story narrated by Eve Gardiner, a spy in the Alice Network and Charlie St. Clair, a dull American looking for her cousin. There are many historical books that use the perspectives of two characters, especially one older and one younger, but for that to work both characters and storylines need to be interesting (e.g. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate). While Eve’s story was absolutely fascinating, Charlie’s was absolutely dull and repetitive. Her chapters had the same tedious drivel: Oh, I’m a slut. Oh, my cousin. Oh, the Little Problem. Oh, my inner voice. Oh, equations. Here’s an equation for you Charlie: x (your character) + y (your storyline) = Zzz (total snooze fest). I cannot reiterate enough that this book would have been infinitely better if the story had focused solely on Eve, Lilli (LOVED HER 😍) and the rest of the Alice Network. Charlie’s story didn’t add anything worthwhile to the book and her chapters were nothing but a dull, repetitive buffer between Eve’s fascinating chapters.
I also did not care for the romance, which I found unnecessary and boring. And that’s saying a lot considering romance is my favourite genre. One half of this book is a thrilling and terrifying historical adventure; the other half is a love story and an overlong journey across France. The ending pulls the two stories together, but by then it was too little too late.
** A guide to ratings **
1 star – did not like it
2 stars – it was okay
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing