Monday, February 26, 2018

The Alice Network

The Alice Network, Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn’s writing has grabbed my attention again with The Alice Network covering the lives of women over two world wars.

Evelyn is a spy recruited by Britain to work in German-occupied Lille, France in 1915. She combines forces with other women including Lili and Violette, all key players ensuring that gathered information makes it back to their superiors. Eve is willing to do whatever it takes for the war effort, putting her body and life on the line.

The concurrent story line has Charlie St Clair searching for her cousin, whereabouts unknown since the end of WWII. A vague report on her last known details was signed off by Evelyn, and Charlie sets out to confront her to determine more details. As their stories unfold, they find increasing links to people of their past.

Because Eve is introduced very early on as having extensive hand injuries that were purposefully inflicted, there's a tension over the whole book as you wait for the inevitable to happen. And while the scene is indeed unpleasant, I had probably built it up more in my head in expectation.

The resolution when it comes is quick and not quite what I expected. It has made me reflect on the difference in denouement when a story is based around revenge or when redemption is the key theme.

I do prefer it when themes of redemption and forgiveness break through. I don’t expect it from authors, but in the end, resolution through revenge is rarely as satisfying. I realise that puts my faith perspective over my reading and I can sometimes hope for themes that authors aren’t going to write about. However, it’s been helpful for me to realise why I find some endings more satisfying than others.

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