His­tor­i­cal fic­tion a fas­ci­nat­ing read

The Hun­tress By Kate Quinn, Harper Collins, $35

Havelock North Village Press - - News - Mar­garet Reilly

Kate Quinn is a New York Times best­selling au­thor of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion. She has been a life­long his­tory buff and has writ­ten seven his­tor­i­cal fic­tion nov­els, all of which have been trans­lated into mul­ti­ple lan­guages. The Hun­tress, her lat­est, has been writ­ten in three sto­ries.

The first sets the scene, 18-year-old Jor­dan has a long wid­owed fa­ther who runs an an­tique shop in Bos­ton. He falls in love and mar­ries a war refugee from Aus­tria whom he met sell­ing her jew­ellery to make ends meet. Jor­dan, an ar­dent pho­tog­ra­pher, feels there is some­thing not quite right al­though she falls in love with An­neleise’s 5-year-old daugh­ter Ruth who seems very shy and al­most with­drawn.

The sec­ond story fea­tures Tony and Ian, a jour­nal­ist and an ex sol­dier in­tent on track­ing war crim­i­nals, the Hun­tress, in par­tic­u­lar is driven by a per­sonal in­ter­est. The Nurem­berg tri­als are over, the money is run­ning out and there is a gen­eral feel­ing that the world should put the past be­hind us and move on, but for Ian and Tony hunt­ing down the Hun­tress is a mis­sion they are not pre­pared to aban­don.

Then en­ter Nina, an ex Rus­sian bomber pi­lot stranded in Poland who es­caped the Hun­tress only by man­ag­ing to in­flict a wound to her neck. She can iden­tify her.

The Hun­tress is well writ­ten. It does go back­wards and for­ward with the three sto­ries. I pre­fer a straight story, but per­haps a writ­ing tech­nique to give the reader more in­for­ma­tion. The Hun­tress is fic­tion based on fact, a story about the track­ing of the lesser known war crim­i­nals. Quinn bases the Hun­tress her­self on a com­pos­ite of a bru­tal Nazi prison guard and the wife of an SS of­fi­cer who found six Jewish refugee chil­dren hid­ing near her home in the Ukraine. She took them in­side, fed them, then took them out­side and shot them.

I found the au­thor’s notes, all 12 pages, even bet­ter than the book. There was no fic­tion there. She has re­searched this novel thor­oughly.

I am hop­ing she could write a non fic­tion story about the Rus­sian women pi­lots who flew the bomber planes sup­pos­edly made from ply­wood against the Nazi ad­vance in the Ukraine. I found Nina’s story fas­ci­nat­ing.

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