Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // From Page to Plane with The Alice Network

"There are two kinds of flowers when it comes to women...The kind that sit safe in a beautiful vase, or the kind that survive in any conditions...even in evil."
--Kate Quinn, The Alice Network
The Alice Network & the French Countryside
My Thoughts

The Belle
When I found out Kate Quinn (an instant favorite author after I read Mistress of Rome and the rest of the series) had a new book coming out I instantly perked up. When I found out it took place in both WWI and WWII, I immediately emailed the publisher begging for a review copy, they took pity on me and thank the gods because it was hands down one of the best reading experiences I have ever had.
There are some books that take awhile to get into...this is not one of those books. I can safely say I was invested and intrigued in chapter 1. Dual timelines tell the story of Eve in WWI who is asked to be a spy in Lille, France and Charlie, a pregnant unwed young woman post-WWII looking for her cousin who went missing during the war in France. In post-WWII 1947, Charlie enlists Eve's help in finding her and while she does we get her story as well.

To say this book was inspiring is the understatement of the century. Reading Eve's story and how she was a spy in WWI in the very real Alice Network was beyond moving to me. While the character of Eve is fictional, the women she works with are not. I love reading about real-life women and their stories. I love reading about women making history. I love reading about women. They inspire me. They empower me. They make me believe in myself. This story did all those things and more. Reading about women who risked their lives, went behind enemy lines, and played a role in order to help the war effort was infinitely inspiring. I cannot put into words how moved I was by this book.

The espionage was not the only element I loved about this book. The female friendships portrayed were fantastic. Charlie, while looking for her cousin Rose, recounts many memories of her and how close they were. Eve works under Lili who starts off as her inspiration and later becomes her friend. I deeply appreciated the portrayal of Eve and Lili's relationship. Eve wants to be the best, Lili is already the best, and when she meets Lili she doesn't work to bring her down in order to be number 1, she looks up to her. She acknowledges her strength and ingenuity and uses her as an inspiration for her own work. I loved that such positive representation of women's relationships was such a huge theme and element in this book. It made me love it that much more.

The strength of women is also a huge element. What I loved most about how Quinn did this is that she explored different kinds of strengths. Strength is not all fire and might and loud. I love reading about different kinds of strengths that women possess. Eve's strength was not loud or obvious but her core is all steel and she is one of the strongest women I have ever read about. She also has a stammer which has caused problems for her her entire life with people underestimating her. Her stammer is what proved to be a strength in her espionage and I love, love, love how Quinn took something that the majority see as a weakness, and she turns it into a unique strength.

While Charlie in 1947 may not have been a spy, she also had her own strength to find. Strength to believe in herself and know her worth. Again, I loved that Quinn explored so many different kinds of strength that possess and sometimes the biggest obstacle we overcome in our lives is ourselves and discovering that we deserve happiness and love and joy. Charlie had a steel core of her own even if it wasn't always so obvious to find. I loved that she had a fierce determination to find her best friend and cousin and would not take no for an answer. I loved her story and her journey and the other secondary characters involved weren't too shabby either *wink*.

The setting is incredible which is why I decided to include it in my From Page to Plane feature. I felt completely transported by this story to WWI and post-WWII France. Having never been to Lille in person, I felt like I have been there nonetheless. The ambiance Quinn builds in her storytelling makes you feel like your'e sitting right inside the cafe where Eve works and sitting right beside Charlie in the Lagonda. The surroundings of the story are so vivid that I couldn't not include it in this feature because it also makes me want to travel back to France and explore the smaller towns and countryside immediately.

There is so much more I want to say about this book but I don't want to spoil anything so I will cease. But know this, if you're looking for a book to inspire you; if you're looking for a book to empower you; if you're looking for a book to get lost in, look no further. In a world obsessed with celebrity and Kardashian fame, this is a book that is so needed for women and people in general. THESE are the women we should be telling our young ones about and who they should look up to. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn will transport you to France in WWI and post-WWII and you will be a changed person for it.

If you love female empowerment, strong friendships, and kickass women spies...this book is for you.

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 528
Publication Date: June 6th, 2017
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon 

1 comment:

  1. I immediately added this one to my TBR because it sounds AMAZING! I really hope I get a chance to read it before the end of the year :D


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