The Huntress by Kate Quinn
For those that love a good WWII story, this is a great book to fufill that need. It follows three very different people in various stages of the WWII. The end of the war, the lives of those left behind after, and the early 1950’s in the US.
The Huntress referenced in the title is the notorious Nazi war criminal who was found to have killed men, women, and children as the war was coming to an end. Ian Graham is a Nazi hunter who has been searching for her ever since finding out his brother was one of her victims. And while he searches for “The Huntress”, he has to confront truths of his own.
The Huntress is also the former Soviet pilot, Nina, who was with Ian’s brother in the final days of the war. She is one of the notorious women pilots known as the “Night Witches.” During the war, the Soviets were the only ones to allow women to fly combat missions. This little it of history I didn’t know, and it was fascinating. Nina, forced to leave due to false accusations, crashes in Poland and ends up with Ian’s brother. As they make their way west, Nina ensures they survive. They are drawn to the Huntress’ cabin on a lake where she takes them in under the guise of helping them. Nina never trusts the woman, and leaves with a promise to return for Ians’ brother the next day. She witnesses his murder and vows to avenge his death. Through circumstance, her and Ian end up married in order to get her over to England and safety. The reconnect five years later on the hunt for the Nazi.
Finally, Jordan is the average fresh out of high school teenager in Boston, MA. Living with her dad and dreaming of a photography career, she is thrown for a loop when he introduces a new woman and her young daughter into their lives. Jordan, naturally suspicious, finds herself not quite able to trust the new woman. After her father dies unexpectedly, she bonds with her new stepmother in a deeper way, but still can’t shake her suspicions.
The book really picks up in the final parts, as Ian, his partner Tony, and Nina follow leads to Boston on their hunt. Jordan becomes an unknowing part of their search but in the end is indispensible to their search.
I enjoyed this book, although sometimes it did drag a bit. The historical note at the end of the book really helped put a lot of this fictional work in historical context. Unfortuantely, we see some of the same facist tendancies cropping up now, so this book was weirdly affecting in that way. After her novel, “The Alice Network” I couldn’t wait for this one, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.
Can’t wait to see what she does next!