Official Synopsis from Goodreads: From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, The Alice Network, comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.
In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…
Bold, reckless Nina Markova grows up on the icy edge of Soviet Russia, dreaming of flight and fearing nothing. When the tide of war sweeps over her homeland, she gambles everything to join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on Hitler’s eastern front. But when she is downed behind enemy lines and thrown across the path of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, Nina must use all her wits to survive.
British war correspondent Ian Graham has witnessed the horrors of war from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials. He abandons journalism after the war to become a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Fierce, disciplined Ian must join forces with brazen, cocksure Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. But a shared secret could derail their mission, unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.
Seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride grows up in post WWII Boston, determined despite family opposition to become a photographer. At first delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancée, Jordan grows increasingly disquieted by the soft-spoken German widow who seems to be hiding something. Armed only with her camera and her wits, Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past and slowly realizes there are mysteries buried deep in her family. But Jordan’s search for the truth may threaten all she holds dear.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: 1937-1951 mainly Vienna, Boston, and Moscow
My Copy Came From: I borrowed a copy from my local library.
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Review: Riveting historical fiction! The Huntress by Kate Quinn is a great historical fiction read set during and after WWII. Told by three narrators, our main characters are: Jordan, a young woman whose father marries a mysterious woman; Ian, a Nazi hunter who is hunting the illusive woman known as The Huntress; and Nina, a Russian who grows up on the shores of Lake Baikal and joins the Night Witches, a group of female pilots.
She made herself keep moving, putting one foot after the other. She did not know where she was going, only that she refused to huddle here paralyzed by fear until she was scooped onto the scales of their false justice. Step by step the resolved hardened inside her.
Told in a back-and-forth-in-time way, we see Nina escape her upbringing, learn how to fly, join the Soviet Air Force, and fall in love during WWII. Ian’s chapters are mostly all set after WWII, as he and his business partner, Tony, travel around Europe hunting Nazis and are always on the search for The Huntress. Jordan’s chapters are also set after the war, and she’s in Boston taking photographs, working in an antiques store, and dealing with her father’s new wife and discovering things that just don’t add up.
I liked all three of the main characters, there wasn’t one I preferred over the others, and the shifting in time was easy to follow. Nina’s chapters are perhaps the most exciting, as she’s flying planes, but her chapters also had an uninspired love story with a fellow Night Witch that felt a bit contrived. I never felt the love between Nina and Yelena, so I wasn’t ever truly invested in their love story.
“Where are you going?” he slurred.
“Home,” she heard herself say.
Nina sighed. “I’m not a rusalka, Papa.”
“Then where are you going?”
“The sky.” I never knew I could have the sky, Nina thought. But now I know.
Ian’s chapters were interesting, as he and his business partner, Tony, had an easy friendship that was fun to read about. They team up with Nina when new information about The Huntress surfaces, and I enjoyed reading the interactions between the three of them. The banter and friendship felt real.
Jordan’s chapters focus more on her photography, and her decisions about college and her boyfriend, Garrett, and meeting her new stepmother, Anneliese, and Anneliese’s young daughter, Ruth. Jordan starts to notice little things about Anneliese that don’t sit right with her.
I loved the way The Huntress unfolded, and was glued to the page while I was reading this! It was full of action and suspense, but also had quiet moments of humanity that I loved. The ending was a tad disappointing to me, I wanted more of an explanation that I didn’t get, but that is a minor quibble, as this was such a riveting read!
However, I will say that now, writing this review several weeks after finishing the book, I’ve found that it hasn’t stuck with me as much as I expected it to. I suppose in this case it might be a good thing, as I’m likely to re-read this at some point!
Bottom Line: Riveting historical fiction that you can’t put down!