Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!
This week’s pick is a backlist favorite from one of my auto-buy authors, Kate Quinn! She had a brand-new book hit shelves this week (The Diamond Eye!) that I just picked up and I can’t wait to read, but I’ve enjoyed her past three novels and they’re all worth checking out!
Content warning: War violence, racism, attempted murder and murder, threats of assault.
The Huntress by Kate Quinn
This hefty novel unfolds in three points of view, in three timelines. Nina Markov is a young woman growing up in the Soviet Union who dreams of flight. Although war brings terror and uncertainty, for Nina it’s a chance to join the Night Witches, an all-female force that wreaks havoc on the Nazis…until she’s stranded behind enemy lines. Ian Graham is a former war correspondent who is plagued by nightmares of the horrors he witnessed, and now that the war is over and the Nuremberg Trials have concluded, he decides to devote his life to tracking down Nazi war criminals who’ve escaped in the chaos at the end of the war. But one in particular eludes him. And finally, Jordan is just a teenager living in Boston in the early 50’s, and she’s shocked when her widower father remarries a quiet, reserved German war widow with a young daughter. She wants her father to be happy, but there’s something not quite right about her new stepmother and her reticent new stepsister.
All three of these timelines and characters converge in a really breathtaking way, and tell a comprehensive and epic story that you’ll race through. I get a bit weary of all the sanitized World War II fiction, but what sets Quinn’s writing apart for me is that she doesn’t just linger in the war, and isn’t afraid to show the fallout afterwards. Only Nina’s perspective actually takes place during the war, and the other point of views are all about how people had to remake themselves and their lives afterwards, and how hard that it when you’re plagued by PTSD and horrific memories. Quinn also doesn’t shy away from the fact that just because the war ended, justice was served—in fact, it’s usually quite the opposite.
Another thing I like about Quinn’s work is that her novels usually contain some diversity. In this novel, Nina is (presumed) bisexual and the great love of her life is a woman. Her other work also includes characters of color and queer characters, and I appreciate the inclusion of multiple perspectives, especially since WWII books tend to be pretty white and straight.
Definitely pick up this book if you want a sweeping historical that reads like a thriller, but has some gorgeous writing and wonderful character building! And if you like this one, I recommend checking out The Rose Code and The Alice Network next!
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