At the end of the second world war, Charlie — a young aimless woman, arrives in Europe with her mother and the need to sort out a Little Problem. She also has cousin missing in WWII France and a name and address in London that might point her in the right direction. Charlie bolts from her mother’s carefully planned solutions to her problems and begins an odyssey that leads from London to various corners of France in the company Eve, of an eccentric former spy, and her ex-con majordomo. The Alice Network is an adventure that explores the nature of heroism and duplicity. Beginning with a ring of female spies in WWI and the results of betrayals that carry over into WWII. This is the story of the search for the man responsible for Charlie’s loss of her cousin and Eve’s loss of, well just about everything.
There is a moment in the middle the book where you have gotten some bad news and the author is foreshadowing some pretty gruesome scenes so hard that you can barely see the sunlight for the shadows. At that moment you might just want to stop. I almost did. It had the feeling of an ending, an unhappy ending but still an ending. I persisted and enjoyed the rest of the book — except for the gruesome scene that I knew was coming. (I don’t do torture scenes well. Especially not anything involving hands.) Still
Note that the WWI spy network, The Alice Network of the title, is based on historical fact and several of the secondary characters are real. It’s an interesting look into a bit of history that isn’t often mentioned when studying The Great War.
* a tidy package of history and love story *