5 reviews

The Huntress: A Novel
by Kate Quinn

Published: 2019-02-26
Paperback : 560 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 5 of 5 members


"...compulsively readable historical fiction…[a] powerful novel about unusual women facing sometimes insurmountable odds with grace, grit, love and tenacity.” - Kristin Hannah, The Washington Post 

One of Marie Claire's Best Women’s Fiction Books of ...

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"...compulsively readable historical fiction…[a] powerful novel about unusual women facing sometimes insurmountable odds with grace, grit, love and tenacity.” - Kristin Hannah, The Washington Post 

One of Marie Claire's Best Women’s Fiction Books of the Year

One of BookBub's Biggest Books of the Year

If you enjoyed “The Tattooist of Auschwitz,” read “The Huntress,” by Kate Quinn." The Washington Post

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. 

Editorial Review

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Discussion Questions

1. All the characters begin the book standing on different lake shores—Nina at Lake Baikal, Anneliese at
Altaussee, Jordan at Selkie Lake, and Ian at the lake in Cologne. Nina and the Huntress clash for the first
time at Lake Rusalka in Poland, and everyone comes together ultimately at the lake in Massachusetts.
Discuss how the idea of the lake, and the rusalka lake spirit, weaves through The Huntress as a theme.

2. Ian states that the life of a Nazi hunter is about patience, boredom, and factchecking, not high-speed
glamour and action. Do you agree with him? What preconceptions did you have about Nazi hunters?

3. Jordan’s drive to become a photographer clashes with the expectations of her father—and almost
everyone else she knows—that she will marry her high school boyfriend, work in the family business,
and relegate picture-snapping to a hobby. How have expectations of career versus marriage changed for
women since 1950?

4. The Night Witches earn their nickname from the Germans, who find their relentless drive on bombing
runs terrifying, but the men on their own side haze them, mock them, and call them “little princesses.”
How does prejudice and misogyny drive the women of the Forty-Sixth to succeed? Did you know
anything about the Night Witches before reading The Huntress??
5. Nina calls herself a savage because of her early life in the wilds around the lake with her murderous,
unpredictable father. How did her upbringing equip her to succeed, first as a bomber pilot and then as a
fugitive on the run? Does her outsider status make her see Soviet oppression more clearly than Yelena,
who accepts it as the way things should be?

6. When Jordan first brings up suspicions about her stepmother at Thanksgiving, her theories are
quashed by Anneliese’s plausible explanations. Did you believe Anneliese’s story at Thanksgiving, or
Jordan’s instinct? When did you realize that Jordan’s stepmother and die Jägerin were one and the

7. “The ends justify the means.” Ian disagrees strongly, maintaining he will not use violence to pursue
war criminals. Nina, on the other hand, has no problem employing violent methods to reach a target,
and Tony stands somewhere between them on the ideological scale. How do their beliefs change as they
work together? Who do you think is right?

8. Ian and Nina talk about lakes and parachutes, referencing the bad dreams and postwar baggage that
inevitably come to those who have gone to war. How do Ian and Tony deal with their post-traumatic
stress disorder and survivor guilt, as opposed to Nina and the Night Witches?

9. Throughout The Huntress, war criminals attempt to justify their crimes: Anneliese tells Jordan she
killed as an act of mercy, and several witnesses tell Ian they were either acting under orders or ignorant
of what was happening. Why do they feel the need to justify their actions, even if only to themselves?
Do you think any of them are aware deep down that they committed evil acts, or are they all in denial?

10. Jordan sincerely comes to love Anneliese, who is not just her stepmother but her friend. After
learning the truth about Anneliese’s past, Jordan is perturbed that she cannot simply switch off her
affection for the one person who encouraged her to chase her dreams. How do you think you would
react if you found out a beloved family member was a murderer and a war criminal?

11. In the final confrontation at Selkie Lake, the team is able to capture Anna instead of killing her or
allowing her to commit suicide, and she later faces a lifetime in prison for war crimes. Were you satisfied
with her fate, or do you wish she had paid a higher price for her actions?

12. By the end of The Huntress, Jordan has found success as a photographer, Tony is a human rights
attorney, and Ian and Nina are still hunting war criminals. Where do you see the team in ten years? Do
you think Ian and Nina will remain married, or will Nina find a way back to Yelena, her first love? Do you
think Jordan and Tony will stay together, or drift apart as friends? What about Ruth?

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