The Blurb (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.
Some authors are must-buys, and Kate Quinn is now one of these for me. Her New York Times bestselling novel, The Alice Network, was one of my favourite books last year and I grabbed The Huntress the second I saw it. And it is just as good!
The book moves effortlessly backwards and forwards in time, between the points of view of Jordan McBride, a young woman in post-war American who dreams of being a photographer; Nina Markova, a reckless pilot from Siberia who join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female squadron of bombers who fly at night, undetectable by radar in their flimsy wooden planes, and wreak havoc on Hitler’s armies; and war-weary British journalist Ian Graham who has become a Nazi hunter with one particular target always in his sights: the Huntress, a cold-blooded German woman who murdered his brother.
I had heard of the Night Witches before, but knew very little about them; and I’ve always been interested in the men and women who hunted down Nazis on the run after the end of the war. So The Huntress was always going to appeal to me.
It’s the shining quality of Kate Quinn’s writing that lifts her books out of the ordinary, however. Razor-sharp characterisation, whip-smart dialogue, and her deft handling of a complex plot with three separate time periods makes this one of my favourite reads of the year so far.
If you love character-driven thrillers set in World War II, this is definitely for you!