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The Huntress

The Huntress, March 2019
by Kate Quinn

William Morrow
Featuring: Nina Markova; Ian Graham; Jordan McBride
560 pages
ISBN: 0062740377
EAN: 9780062740373
Kindle: B079DPN9S4
Paperback / e-Book
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"The life and times of a Soviet woman airplane pilot"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Huntress
Kate Quinn

Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted February 10, 2019

Women's Fiction Historical | Suspense

The most notorious Nazi war criminals were tried at the Nuremberg trials, while the small fry went free. So after WWII, former journalist Ian Graham formed the Vienna Refugee Documentation Center, a small operation dedicated to the prosecution of Nazi criminals. In order to capture THE HUNTRESS, first, he must find Nina Markova, the only survivor to escape the elusive murderess. Is it a coincidence that Boston teenager Jordan McBride has become suspicious of her new German stepmother?

Based on the book description, I expected a taut thriller, but THE HUNTRESS is in fact Women's Fiction, more specifically Nina Markova's life. As a story on the Soviet women pilots - the Night Witches - thus Nina's, it is stellar. THE HUNTRESS takes place mostly in 1946 and 1950, going back in time when needed; this works very well, and the transitions are smooth. Kate Quinn's research into Soviet women pilots is impressive, but it feels like the author got carried away with her research, and Jordan's and Ian's storylines merely act as a background for Nina's story.

The several characters are exceptionally well drawn, the writing is solid, and the dialogues really stand out, particularly Nina's. The pace is steady, but it took an excruciatingly long time to get anywhere. It seemed like the purpose of the book was to stretch Nina's story for as long as humanly possible and, in my opinion, it backfired as far as the suspense is concerned. A crucial plot point seemed highly implausible; some events, when exposed in the minutest details, lost their credibility and the fabric of the plot unraveled. One character made an unfortunate decision that caused the story to drag even more. Several romances, and various superfluous details padded the narrative. I also wondered if a character's bisexuality was to make the novel "trendier" and add to the page count; other than that, it brought little to the story. What I found most disconcerting is that THE HUNTRESS is partly based on some real people. Ultimately, as a thriller, THE HUNTRESS left me frustrated, exasperated, and wholly unsatisfied. Had I expected a Women's Fiction novel focusing on the life of a Soviet woman pilot, I might have enjoyed it more.

Learn more about The Huntress

SUMMARY

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 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.


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