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"So it goes."

Ella Mc's book blog. Brand new 2018 - Only books read after 1st January 2018

Currently reading

The Witches of Eastwick
John Updike
Progress: 100/307 pages

The Alice Network -- a great spy story and an a poor romance book

The Alice Network - Kate Quinn

There are two books here really. While the author pulls them together, it didn't work for me. Charlie, a young pregnant American, spurs Eve - a former spy from the real life Alice Network - to go ahunting for someone she knew during WWI when she worked as a spy. Surely there was another way to get to the story of the fascinating women who made up The Alice Network in WWI.


Theirs is a fascinating story pulled from history, and I am going to try to find an actual historical nonfiction book about the Alice Network, because it's a worthy story about some very courageous and strong women. I have read so many books about the male spies of both World Wars, but never have I read much about female spies - unless they were peripheral to the male main character. This is different.


I only wish Kate Quinn had left Charlie out completely. She is half the book, and she took away rather than added to the story. Perhaps it was the strong contrast with Eve, but if the book had been her story alone, I would probably not have picked it up, and I certainly wouldn't have finished it. I found myself dreading her chapters. I also did not need a love story in the middle of a wonderful read about strong women who didn't need men to get through their daily life. Without Charlie, this book would have passed the Bechdel test and all the other feminist tests with flying colors. Because of Charlie, it doesn't pass any.


If the book had been purely about Eve and the Alice Network women, it would have rated much higher for me. Charlie's story and her character brought the entire thing down, with yet another woman who only finds herself in the eyes of some man. Love is wonderful, but it took up space and time in this book that would have been better devoted to the story that mattered.