The Huntress by Kate Quinn
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on February 26th, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
“Moments like this should have been glorious, and they never were. The monsters always looked so ordinary and pathetic, in the flesh.”
I read The Alice Network in 2017 and absolutely fell in love with it. I loved that it weaved together narratives from World War I and World War II so seamlessly. And it somehow slipped my mind that another book from Kate Quinn was coming out this year!
As someone who loves Quinn’s work and historical fiction, I had pretty high expectations for The Huntress. I didn’t know too much about the book before starting it and I think that’s how everyone should go into it.
It’s a story about Nazi hunters — those who track down the villains of WWII. In this case, the hunted was once known as The Huntress who has escaped to America and is living under an alias. She was the mistress of an SS officer who took her own sick delight in killing Jewish women and children. She’s tracked by a former newspaper correspondent and a female Russian bomber pilot who survived her encounter with the Huntress.
And that’s all you should know. Don’t look up anything else about this book or else you’ll spoil everything!
As per usual, Quinn does an excellent job doing her research and giving a detailed account of the Night Witches, an all female group of pilots who flew for Russia. Nina’s perspective was, by far, my favourite out of the three. I had never heard of the Night Witches before and now I want to try to find more literature about them.
Quinn also does a great job of exploring the attitude of everyone after the war — not just the Germans, but also the Americans who all have a desire to put it behind them.
As with any other literature about WWII, it’s a difficult subject matter to read about in one sitting. But Quinn had me completely engrossed in the story. It’s pretty obvious who the Huntress is from the very beginning, but it didn’t matter.
The readers got to see Ian and Nina’s personal reasons for hunting the Huntress and their emotional journey throughout the war and after. I have to say, I didn’t appreciate the romance in the novel. It felt unnecessary and boring compared to the rest of the plot.
I understand why we needed Jordan’s perspective, but she was the weakest point in the novel for me. Compared to the exciting adventures of the female pilots, Jordan’s story felt trite.
Another small issue I had with the book was the length. Even though the book overall was interesting, I felt like it didn’t need to have three parts with over 50 chapters. If my mind was wandering in chapters, it was always Jordan’s.
But I recommend this book to those who loved The Alice Network and for those who love historical fiction about WWII. Even though the catalyst for the story is about the war, taking a look at the aftermath was a new and fresh perspective that we haven’t seen in awhile.