Tag: adult fiction

Nazi War Criminals & Night Witches: THE HUNTRESS (2019) by Kate Quinn

The Huntress by Kate Quinn
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on February 26, 2019
Pages: 560
Goodreads
five-stars

Are you looking for an intriguing historical novel set at the end of WWII, featuring a plethora of fascinating characters including a Nazi war criminal hiding out in America and one of the Night Witches—an all female regiment of bomber pilots who flew during WWII in opposition to Hitler? Then THE HUNTRESS by Kate Quinn is the choice for you!

I was so excited when I saw that Kate Quinn had a new book coming out. THE ALICE NETWORK is one of my absolutely favorite historical novels!

Thanks to William Morrow Publishing, I read an advanced copy and was immediately hooked by the multiple POVs. I also appreciated that the bulk of the story didn’t just take place during WWII, but after it. The narrative gives attention to the challenge of how Nazi war criminals were brought to justice after the war. This was something that was actually very complex and challenging.

A SPIRITUAL DIMENSION

If you have followed my blog in the past, you’ll remember that I’m interested in how spirituality can be illuminated in fiction. There is definitely an in-depth dimension to explore here in terms of the spiritual dimensions of life–when people or groups of people act in inhumane ways towards other people, how do we hold them accountable? This is one question that surfaces in THE HUNTRESS.

MY THOUGHTS

One of the central character is Jordan, whose father meets and falls in love with a German widow in Boston. I loved following Jordan’s journey, as she harbored dreams to become a photographer, but was also affected by the cultural constraints at the time. She is suspicious of her new stepmother’s history, and struggles with how to reconcile her love for her father and her anxiety about what this German widow might be hiding. I think that Kate adeptly navigated the different POVs and the conflicts among and within the different characters.

I highly recommend any book in which I become so invested in the characters. And that definitely happened with this one. In fact, I wish we were going to get a sequel as I would love to know what lies in store for each of the characters at the end of the story.

And the Night Witches! I don’t see how anyone can not be fascinated with this all-female group of bomber pilots who fought against Hitler during the war in the air. These Russian women were so courageous and braved the harsh elements in order to fight. Whereas other countries held their women back from taking part in the war effort, the Soviet Union put them in the sky. Following Nina’s journey in the story was a treat—she is not a character you will easily forget.

THE AUTHOR’S NOTE

One of my favorite parts of this book, and many other books like it: THE AUTHOR’S NOTE! I absolutely adore when authors share their research journey for a novel, and they illuminate the truth behind what they wrote. Kate’s author’s note is no exception—this girl did her research! And as someone greatly interested in WWII history, this was a real reward for me.

Needless to say, I think you can tell that I loved THE HUNTRESS and give it all the stars. Like THE ALICE NETWORK, I’ll be recommending this one a lot in the near future and beyond! I hope you’ll check this one out. Please tell me what you think!

What Katie Read

#TopTenTuesday: Ten Books I Love and Haven’t Talked about In Awhile…

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It’s the day to discuss the books we all adore but just haven’t chatted about enough lately…this isn’t hard to do and I hope you enjoy my post on ten books that are close to my heart…and now…not far from my mind.

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish—check out their blog and join in the TOP TEN TUESDAY FUN!

Here’s what they have to say about Top Ten Tuesday: “Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up in the community where we provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in on it with their own top ten list. Feel free to have less than 10 or more if you need to at times and put a spin on the topic if you need to! Just please link back to us if you are participating :)”

The Book Thief

THE BOOK THIEF

When this book came out, I purchased a copy from The Strand in NYC, and I’ve never looked back. I fell in love with this book hard and I went on to make it required reading for my Freshman Composition course I taught for many years. My students loved it, as I suspected they would. I adore Liesel and this story makes me laugh and cry every time. I’ll never stop having it as a favorite. It celebrates the power of words and the redemption of story and the price of courage.

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WHEN YOU REACH ME

It is no surprise to me that Rebecca Stead’s Middle Grade novel won the Newbery Award, and if you haven’t read WHEN YOU REACH ME, you’re in for a treat. This is a lovely story that qualifies as both historical fiction and fantasy! But I won’t say more–it’s just too good.

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THE LOVE SONG OF MISS QUEENIE HENNESSY

I actually read an e-ARC of this on my kindle while in Jerusalem a few summers ago and it was such a delightful experience to be reading it while abroad. I adored THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRYE, and this represented a companion novel of sorts. I loved it just as much, perhaps even more, and than HAROLD FRYE.

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THE MEANING OF NIGHT

You probably know I love the British author, Wilkie Collins. Well, THE MEANING OF NIGHT is by a contemporary author who created an absolutely fabulous mystery with a flavor similar to Collins’ work. I was swept up into this book, and the good news is that there is a sequel (which I’ve started but haven’t finished yet!).

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CODE NAME VERITY

There’s too much to say about this book, and this story brings up all the emotions! And it’s so GOOD! I really need to re-read this because the first time I read it, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards. These characters will stick with you for awhile. And that’s a good thing.

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ROSE UNDER FIRE

This is a companion novel to CODE NAME VERITY, and I loved this one just as much. Maybe even more. Elizabeth Wein’s historical fiction is top notch, and I can’t get enough of it.

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FIVE CHILDREN AND IT

This classic fantasy was a childhood favorite, and I still adore it today. This one needs a re-read, especially because I’m getting ready to dive into my ARC of FIVE CHILDREN ON THE WESTERN FRONT, which you’ll find, is related to Nesbit’s classic. A sand fairy that grants wishes?!?! Yes, please!

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MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH ENGLAND

The first time I read this book, I was getting ready to travel to England myself, and I truly fell in love with the story. I have a used copy and it is well read and worn…and I love it! I often pull this one off the bookshelf just to gaze at the cover and flip through it, remembering all my favorite parts. This charts the journey of the author during her first visit to England, and her subsequent travels there. She fell in love with England (as many of us do) and she never looked back!

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WITHOUT RESERVATIONS

This is another travel memoir that I loved–and this author travels to Europe, sharing her adventures and experiences as a solo woman journeying abroad. It’s fantastic, and there’s a sequel as well.

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THE NIGHT CIRCUS

I need to re-read this adult fantasy soon–I loved THE NIGHT CIRCUS so much, and it was such a unique story. I hadn’t really encountered anything quite like it before. There’s fantasy and romance in this one, and the world of this story is one you can get lost in– I would love for this author to write something else–I guarantee it would be a highly anticipated novel.

What are some of your favorite book that you haven’t talked about in awhile? Are any of mine on your list?

What Katie Read

Falling in Love with Books: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Falling in Love with Books: The Secret Keeper by Kate MortonThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Published by Pan on January 1st 1970
Pages: 602
Goodreads

During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.
Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

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Welcome to Callie from Of Life and Literature, who is joining us for Falling in Love with Books today. She has a very special choice for her book today–ENJOY!

Let me start by asking you a question.

When someone says the words historical fiction to you, what do you imagine?

Give it some thought.

The historical fiction genre, for me, conjures up a plethora of images in my head.

From sword wielding soldiers, medieval castles, tales of war to an insight into the domestic times of days gone by. Historical fiction encompasses so many different types of stories that it can be difficult to pick a book out of the swathes on offer, feeling confident that it will be the read you are searching for.

Step into any bookshop and you could spend hours searching the shelves, baffled by the options before you.

Three years ago I was in that very situation.

Having spent a good few months ploughing my way through the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series by George. R. R. Martin I was more than ready for a break from the bleak world the Stark’s and the Lannister’s. I needed something that would offer me a different kind of escape to that of the fantasy realms of King’s Landing, Winterfell and the danger of the Wall.

So I visited my local Waterstones and spent a few hours wandering its many floors. One book caught my eye and I kept going back to it. It had a dazzling green front cover, the promise of escape entwined within its depiction of a young lady hiding herself from view in a picturesque garden and the title ‘The Secret Keeper’ gave the novel an air of mystery that I just couldn’t resist. The author was Kate Morton; a writer I was familiar with. I had enjoyed her book ‘The Forgotten Garden’ so I was sure that ‘The Secret Keeper’ was going to be a good choice.

I took it home and I read the book in three days. I adored it. I thrust it into my Mum’s hands straight away and recommended it to every person I could.

‘The Secret Keeper’ follows the journey of Laurel Nicolson as she tries to unravel her elderly mothers past. It is sparked by a catalyst in Laurel’s young life, an event that she had managed to hide away in her mind until she realises that, with her mother’s health deteriorating, she may never get the answers she needs. What follows is a mesmerizing journey through the life of Dorothy Nicolson, with so many twists and turns that I can promise you just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you won’t have.

Kate Morton is an exceptionally talented writer. She has a knack of drawing you in and making you fall completely in love with her characters. Her books are typically set in different eras, with each section flitting back and forth in time. She brings each time period to life in such a beautiful and nostalgic way that you cannot help but feel a connection.

And that is why ‘The Secret Keeper’ is the perfect book to make any reader fall in love with historical fiction. It strikes the perfect balance between historical, mystery, romance and family saga. It encompasses all of these different genres with the historical aspect lying at its heart.

This book is for anyone who wants to escape to a different time but doesn’t want the heavy, fact laden tombs that are normally attributed to the genre. Morton paints the 30s and 40s in ‘The Secret Keeper’ in a way that belies the in-depth research she puts in to every single one of her books. Whilst you are reading it, it almost feels as if you are staring through a window, watching the events unfold. The past doesn’t feel as though it is held at arms-length as it can with some historical novels. You feel as though you are surrounded by history, transported to the time period, with the characters as real to you as the people you know in real life.

What’s even better is that Morton’s novels are full of twists and turns. The jaunts back to the past inform what is happening in the present. She showcases just how important the past can be whether it is on a large or more personal scale. You cannot help but keep turning the pages, urging the story on as there are twists and turns in every section. Morton keeps you hooked until the very end.

‘The Secret Keeper’ by Kate Morton is a perfect representative for the historical fiction genre.

Once you pick it up you won’t be able to put it down.

Thank you, Callie! As many of you know, I adore Kate Morton and all her books, and I was very excited when I discovered that Callie chose to highlight THE SECRET KEEPER for her guest post! What a wonderful glimpse into the delight of THE SECRET KEEPER. If you enjoy historical fiction and you haven’t encountered Kate Morton’s books, you simply must sit down with one of her stories ASAP!

What Katie Read
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