My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network recently and fell in love with her ability to tell stories about strong women in World War I and II. She has a knack for finding untold stories of brave women during wartime and spinning fictional tales based on true events. In The Alice Network it was the story of a network of female spies. In The Huntress it’s the story of a female pilot who flies for the infamous Night Witches, a group of Soviet women who flew bombing missions in WWII and were feared by Nazi Germany.
In addition to the story line following the Night Witches, there is a story line about a man named Ian who essentially becomes a bounty hunter after WWII. His mission is to track down Nazi war criminals and bring them to justice. His target: The Huntress. A woman who is said to have murdered innocent children during the war.
And finally, the story of a young woman coming of age in 1950 post-WWII. When her father comes home with a new fiance and her daughter she is excited for her family to be complete again. But there is something about her soon-to-be stepmother that makes her a tad uneasy.
So if those feel like three totally different stories, it’s because they are. For a lot of the book, I felt like I was reading three separate and distinct books. I couldn’t see how they related to each other and how they were going to tie together. By the end of the novel, the stories eventually converge and they ended up meshing well. But I will say there was a portion of the middle where I started to lose a little bit of interest. I found that there was somewhat of a lull in the story. That also may have been due to the book’s extensive length which was a tad too long in my opinion.
That being said, I did really enjoy the story overall and very much enjoyed Kate Quinn’s writing and storytelling ability. The characters were vivid and had distinct personalities that I enjoyed. I felt invested in their individual outcomes. And very much appreciate learning stories of WWII that I’ve never heard (in this case about the Night Witches).
I struggled a bit with the audiobook in places because there is a lot of authentic German or Soviet terminology and nomenclature throughout the book. I’m very much a visual learner and would have found it easier to keep the names straight if I had read the print version as opposed to listening to the audiobook despite the narrator being fantastic.
While I enjoyed The Alice Network more, I did like this one as well and think if you’re a fan of Kate Quinn’s previous work you will probably appreciate it as I did. Would highly recommend but would probably recommend that you read in print as opposed to listening to the audio.