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The Huntress by Kate Quinn is an exciting novel full of depth and intrigue. The following book club questions will have spoilers so if you haven’t read the novel yet, check out my spoiler-free review.
Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, and only Nina’s bravery and cunning will keep her alive.
Transformed by the horrors he witnessed from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials, British war correspondent Ian Graham has become a Nazi hunter. Yet one target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina. But a shared secret could derail their mission unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.
Growing up in post-war Boston, seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride is determined to become a photographer. When her long-widowed father unexpectedly comes homes with a new fiancée, Jordan is thrilled. But there is something disconcerting about the soft-spoken German widow. Certain that danger is lurking, Jordan begins to delve into her new stepmother’s past—only to discover that there are mysteries buried deep in her family . . . secrets that may threaten all Jordan holds dear.
In this immersive, heart-wrenching story, Kate Quinn illuminates the consequences of war on individual lives, and the price we pay to seek justice and truth.
Let’s get into the discussion questions
- The story features three timelines: Nina’s backstory and time with the Night Witches; Ian’s mission to find the Huntress and Jordan’s self-discovery journey that ties all the storylines together. Which storyline were you most engaged with? Which one the least? Why do you think it was important to feature all three storylines?
- What did you think about Jordan’s first interaction with Anneliese? How did it set the stage to eventually reveal she was the Huntress?
- Let’s discuss Ian and Tony. Why do you think they both decided to get into the line of work of hunting down war criminals? Was it always about the Huntress for Ian and bringing his brother’s killer to justice or was it something more?
- How did Nina’s harsh upbringing help shape who she became? Why did she become so enthralled with flying? What did flying represent to her?
- What did you think about the sections dedicated to Nina’s flying and joining the Night Witches? What stuck out the most to you? How does historical fiction help bring women’s history to life?
- Nina falls in love with Yelena. Yet, they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the Soviet government. Even if Nina hadn’t been pretty much exiled, do you think they would have lasted?
- Jordan has huge suspicions about Anneliese (Lorelei) and it all comes to a head their first Thanksgiving. Jordan tells her dad that “pictures don’t lie” and she believed what she saw. Let’s discuss what she meant by photos containing the truth. Why do you think Jordan’s dad still stayed with Anneliese after all of that?
- What did you think about Nina and Ian’s relationship? What makes them work so well? When did they both start to fall for each other? Do you think they are in it for the long-haul? What did Ian mean when he said they are both hunters?
- Why did Anneliese kill Jordan’s father? What was Anneliese’s end-goal? Simply just to survive?
- What did you think about the romance between Tony and Jordan?
- Even though Anneliese is a ruthless killer—she was there for Jordan in a sense of encouraging her to follow her dreams and not get tied down to a guy. Did Anneliese truly care for Jordan? And on the same token, while Jordan is horrified by her, she recognizes Anneliese’s role in helping Jordan get to where she was. What do you think the author was trying to say there about the complicated nature of their relationship?
- What did Anneliese mean by she was tired of running?
- Lorelei seems to have only one fear and it’s Nina. Let’s talk about their final showdown.
- Let’s now discuss the ending where the Huntress is finally brought to justice. What happens next for Jordan, Tony, Nina and Ian?
- Who would you cast to start in a movie or TV version of this book?
Don’t miss these reads
If you’re looking for more historical fiction novels, be sure to check out the following!
If you haven’t read theThe Alice Network by Kate Quinn yet—go get it now! This is an absorbing tale of two unlikely women brought together with a story full of intrigue, suspense and some heart too.
1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.
1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.
Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.
The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey is a moving story about a trio of friends who head to Europe in 1944. This one is inspired by the real-life Red Cross Clubmobile girls of WWII.
1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.
Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.
Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.
Feel free to discuss The Huntress below!