06 March 2019 Posted By : Bethanne Patrick

Women Show The Faces Of War In 'The Huntress'

Kate Quinn's The Huntress runs on a bit too long, but once you've read her Author's Note and understand that many of her characters are based on real people, real people who include the craven and the heroic, you'll understand why Quinn has stuffed her book with plot.

You'll also see, I hope, that The Huntress reads like the best World War II fiction, stories in which that war means many people had to inhabit gray areas even after it was over. What works best here is Quinn's juxtaposition of a Nazi war criminal known as Die Jägerin (The Huntress), and a Russian "Night Witch" pilot who considers herself a true huntress — one who stalks prey as part of her very nature. These women show two faces of war, two bleak faces, and when was the last time you saw that in fiction? Quite often, even when they are brave, their experiences important, war fiction relegates women to the home front, the sidelines, the shadowlands. Quinn discovers and portrays women whose actions mirror those of the men more frequently given space in these books. (The Huntress herself is based on two real women, one a female camp guard named Hermine Braunsteiner, the other an SS officer's wife named Erna Petri; more on both of them in Quinn's Author's Note, as well.)

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