Description

The Alice Network was written by Kate Quinn, a bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a bachelor’s and masters degree in classical voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with The Alice Network and The Huntress. All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with two rescue dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

[From Amazon Books]


Review

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller; An NPR’s Best Book of the Year
A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick! The 2017 Girly Book Club Book of the Year! A Summer Book Pick from Good Housekeeping, Parade, Library Journal, Goodreads, Liz and Lisa, and BookBub.

In this enthralling novel from New York Times bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

[from Goodreads]


Study Questions

(If you want to make a comment about this book, please scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page.)

1. Female friendship is a constant theme throughout THE ALICE NETWORK. How does each friendship grow and change over the course of events?

2. How and when did you see the young Eve begin to change into her older self? What was the catalyst of those changes?

3. How do you think you would have fared working for the historical Alice Network?

4. Did you see Rene’ Bordelone as a villain or an opportunist? Do you think he earned his final fate?

5. How is Eve’s hatred for Rene’ complicated by intimacy?

6. How does Finn succeed where Cameron fails?

7. How did Rose’s fate change the goal of the search?

8. How have our sexual standards for women changed since 1915 and 1947?

9. Charlie decides to keep her baby, and Eve decides to have an abortion. Why did each woman make the choice she did?

10. How do you think the outcome will bind Eve and Charlie and Finn in the future.

11. How has knowing Eve changed Charlie’s life, and vice versa?

[From Reading group guides]


Discussion

This book could be called a “page turner”. At least one of the group said “I couldn’t wait to get back to it” or at least something close to this. Sandra Hamilton also pointed out that the author spun the story of the greatest massacre in WW II into the plot of the book. The city in the book was the site of the demise of the person the protagonist, “Charlie”, was searching for. She was not only searching; she was fulfilling a desperate need that fed her relentless pursuit.

The actual town in France was Oradour-sur-Glane. In 1944 around the time of the Normandy invasion the Nazis burned the town and murdered more than 600 inhabitants, the entire population less one or two survivors. This was done in retribution for the capture of an SS officer in another town. The ghostly remains of the surviving stone buildings including the church where the women and children were burned alive remain today as ruins -a shrine to the memory of this crime.

In the book the characters were developed with skill and their motives, shortcomings, and laudable characteristics were documented clearly. Even the curmudgeonly Eve was sorted out by the end. The relationships of the evil the virtuous and brave were clear and as challenging to the reader as they must have been to the characters. The people in this book did what they had to do.

There were many undeserved but fortunate survivals by the villainous, but resilient restaurateur who lacked any form of conscious. The reader might have been worried that he might “get away with it”. Not so. In the end the “bad guy” was put away neatly, almost poetically, and the cast of good guys moved on in life. For those who like a happy ending this book was just the right thing.

To learn more about the massacre click here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane_massacre

By Gene Helveston

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