Review: The Huntress by Kate Quinn

by Heather Caliendo

The Huntress by Kate Quinn is an action-packed novel about finding one’s inner courage. Packed with unexpected twists and turns, this one is well worth your time.

Quinn’s prior novel, The Alice Network, is one of my favorite historical fiction novel I’ve read (check out my review and discussion questions). It’s so well-written and a complete story. The Huntress is very different, however, it shares those same qualities!

This novel features three storylines at mostly different timelines. There’s Nina Markova who 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. Nina is quite the unique character.

The second storyline follows British war correspondent Ian Graham who has become a Nazi hunter. Both Ian and Nina have the same enemy: the vicious predator known as the Huntress. They join forces to bring her to justice. 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.

Lengthy but worth it

There’s so much to this story and the novel is quite long—about 530 pages. Part of me wondered as I read it if the story was too lengthy. But after finishing it, I do see why the author felt the need to include all the information she did. These three storylines are well-developed—you definitely really get to know each of those three main characters. If it was shorter, one or more storylines might not have had the same impact. I truly was engaged with all the storylines.

So I would not let the length deter you— give yourself time to read it. I feel all of us bookworms have such an urge to fly through books in order to read the next one. But sometimes a story warrants you to read it in sections. In fact, it can be a better reading experience when you allow the story to slowly unfold.

Historical details

Just like with The Alice Network, I learned about a new aspect of history. Quinn spends quite a bit of time exploring the Night Witches, the Russian all-female night bomber regiment. It reminds me of the fact that our history education is mostly dedicated to exploring famous men while women are hardly mentioned. I’m so grateful to authors like Kate Quinn who bring women’s history to life in these novels.

I also appreciated while WWII is very much covered—the novel mainly deals with the aftermath. It’s very much about bringing the Nazi criminals to justice post-war. In the ’50s, the world’s attention turned to communism and such so that many of those former Nazis were able to move to places like the U.S. and live “normal” lives. And without a government focus on bringing them to trial, it was up to smaller organizations to find them.

Be sure to read Quinn’s author’s note at the end where she goes more into detail about her research on both topics.

Full of adventure, a quest for justice with even some romance too—this is a great historical fiction one to add to your list.

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