I first became aware of The Alice Network by Kate Quinn from Reese Witherspoon's book club, Hello Sunshine. I love historical fiction - but history is sometimes difficult to revisit and digest - so at the time Reese announced that she had selected #TheAliceNetwork, I took a pass for something, well, happier. I wasn't emotionally ready for a war-time read.
I could not have been more wrong about this book! The book spans both wars - The Great War, or World War I, and World War II - so it does have its fair share of graphic and difficult moments as stories from this time period are some of the most difficult to comprehend. But, I could not have been happier about how things end for the two main characters, Eve - a former WWI English spy - and Charlie - an unwed mother-to-be and college dropout in 1940s post-war America. Their stories intertwine in the most beautiful and interesting way as they search for answers in post-WWII France, which is why I'm recommending #KateQuinn and her novel to you this holiday season. It's a #wanderfulread that will have you rooting for the underdogs and believing in hope, an emotion that is so important during the holiday season. I actually squeezed in this read during the insanely busy part of early December by listening to the audiobook, narrated by the talented Saskia Maarleveld. Either version would be a great gift idea for your book-loving family and friends, too.
The quote that had me pausing to make a #mentalnote during this book is the one above that uses metaphor to describe our experiences as women to that of a flower. My only addition is that, hopefully, we experience both types of flowers: when she is forced to grow and thrive in harsh conditions and also when she shines in beauty and grace from a well-placed vase.
"There are two kinds of flowers when it comes to women," Eve said. "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
My struggles are eensy-teensy small compared to those of Eve and Charlie in the novel, but I do have them - have had them. And so have you, I'm certain. Let us all find beautify and confidence through life's difficult moments as well as our moments of repose, like the flowers of the field and the flowers of a palace.
Enjoy this one - it's a definite #goodread
As always... bon voyage et belle balade!