Kate Quinn’s THE HUNTRESS narrated by Saskia Maarleveld

How I loved THE HUNTRESS, Kate Quinn’s study in evil! We are in Boston, Massachusetts. It is the spring of 1946. The Second World War has just ended, when Jordan McBride is introduced to her stepmother-to-be Annaliese Weber, a pretty woman with a chic taste in clothes, a warm smile and a charming 4-year-old named Ruth. But 17-year-old Jordan is suspicious. A young photographer, she is used to looking very carefully at the people around her, and one day she surprises Annaliese in a photo with a wolfish expression at odds with her usual warm smile. Who is she?

Ian Graham, a 40-something British War Correspondent who has witnessed the horrors of Omaha Beach,  lost the brother he loved to Die Jägerin, the huntress, a woman notorious for murdering people (including 6 children.) Ian is on a mission to find this woman, and so he hunts the huntress to bring her to justice, with multilingual sidekick and professional flirt Anthony Ratmonovsky.

Nina Borisovna Markova grew up trapping animals and surviving the brutal cold of Lake Baikal, Siberia. At 19, she sees a plane for the first time and falls in love. By the time the war is nearly over, she has become a Soviet pilot with  600 bombing raids under her belt. Despite her stellar service, despite all of her awards, she is denounced, because her out-of-control (and mad) father says unflattering things about Comrade Stalin. Facing arrest, Nina takes her beloved plane Rusalka and flies west, eventually running out of fuel over Poland. There, she burns the plane to cover her trail and sets off into the woods, where she meets escaped prisoner Sebastian Graham, who has injured his leg.

Kate Quinn braids these three narratives together into a complex and wonderful novel. Her characters literally jump off the page. How I loved Nina, who is so wild, so primal, and who, under her glowers and prickles, suffers from a broken heart. Then there is very proper Ian Graham, who possesses, under his starched collars and ties, a wild heart. Lastly, there is Jordan, who is far too observant and candid for anyone’s comfort. Jordan, who destroys Thanksgiving with her trenchant observations, and nearly destroys her father’s marriage.

Highly recommended for its stellar research and complex characters. Five stars. #katequinn #thehuntress