Enter: this novel, the ‘break glass in case of emergency’ novel, the “I’ve been assured that we won’t have any issues with this novel” novel. And did it deliver? Why yes, it did!
Quinn has the formula down: find set of stubborn, sparkling, lovely women in a sluggish war. Have Something Terrible happen that irreparably fractures the lot, as evidenced by a time jump framing mechanism. As the present-day characters attempt to forgive and forget one another (and take some revenge), have the past storyline hurdle towards a dramatic denouement with all the subtly of a steam train. Add it all together, be reasonable about length, and ta-da. Literary catnip.
Nothing in this book deviates from the storyline I wrote above. Compared to The Alice Network I’d say this book is even better, lacking as it is in a present day character with a fraction of the spine/wit showed by our historical dames. Since we know that there was a spy at Bletchley and that the war was eventually won, we’re left with a delicious mystery of sorts–who knew what when? What is the final secret that tears it all down? How can you go from the highest high to the lowest of lows, and what’s the middle ground available to you once the glitter and glam is over?
I wanted to live in the world that Quinn created for much longer than the book gave us. If anything, the final third act (when the traitor is revealed, etc etc) is a bit of a let down after the sparkle of the earlier days. But I’d have taken any time with our sparkling lead characters by that point.