'The Alice Network' Author Returns to WWII with 'The Huntress'

Posted by Cybil on January 31, 2019
Kate Quinn has written several historical fiction novels and is best known for 2017's breakout bestseller The Alice Network. She's following up on that success with her latest book, The Huntress, where she returns to World War II.

Quinn talked to Goodreads about her research for the new novel and recommends five of her favorite novels set during the era of the Second World War.

Goodreads: Summarize your book for us.

Kate Quinn: A battle-haunted English journalist, a Russian female bomber pilot, and a teenage budding photographer in Boston come together in a search for the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in postwar America. That's The Huntress in a nutshell!

GR: What did you learn from the process of writing your novel?

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KQ: My librarian mother has a degree in classical and medieval history, so as a child I was getting bedtime stories about Elizabeth I rising to the throne and Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, not Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. Given that background, it felt very natural to gravitate toward the past when I began telling stories of my own. I was seven when I wrote my first short story (all about the assassination of Edward II—seriously!) and ten when I wrote my first novel (121 double-spaced pages of pure melodramatic awful about a medieval Irish girl and her horse. Pure wish fulfillment!). I've been writing ever since, and I doubt I'll ever stop.

GR: What sparked the idea for The Huntress? And tell us about your research for the book.

KQ: I came across the fascinating story of the first Nazi war criminal to be extradited from the United States for war crimes: a housewife living in New York City who had a secret past as a brutal camp guard. Her American husband and neighbors were apparently stunned by the news, and I wondered what would it be like to find out you had been living with someone who had such a terrible dark side. And who could track someone like that down, across the years and around half the globe, from war-torn Europe to postwar white-picket-fence suburban America?

But that was only half the story I ended up telling, because even as I was researching war criminals and Nazi hunters, I came across the stunning real-life story of the Night Witches, an all-female regiment of bomber pilots who flew against Hitler's eastern front. A more badass collection of heroines I have yet to find, and they positively begged to be written about! It took a great deal of research—everything from war crimes trial records to Soviet pilot memoirs to learning how to virtually fly a Po-2 in a computer flight simulator—but eventually I figured out how the story of the Nazi murderess gone to ground in America, the team of investigators trying to track her down, and the former Night Witch flier who is the key to the hunt could all come together in one novel.

Quinn Recommends Her Favorite World War II Novels

"There's so much great World War II fiction out there, and more being written every year. Some of my favorites across the years..."

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"The best book bar none about a female spy. Linda Voss is a Jewish-German secretary from Queens with a foul mouth, a wry sense of humor, and enough steel in her spine to build a bridge cable—and her perfect German lands her undercover in the Third Reich, spying on a Nazi official as D-Day approaches. An unforgettable portrait of Hitler's Berlin; the gritty, unglamorous reality of the intelligence business; and an ordinary woman gutting her way through impossible danger on common sense and sheer toughness."

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"Another female spy book, and a wonderful one. Captured English spy 'Verity' is spilling her guts to the Gestapo, eagerly telling them all about her past, her mission, and her dear friend Maddie, a female flier responsible for dropping Verity into occupied France. The facts coil in on themselves, making you doubt every word: How reliable a narrator is Verity? Is she really cooperating with her captors or is she playing a deeper game? And where IS Maddie? A book to read at white heat, turning the pages feverishly to get at the real truth."

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"A classic war novel that spans from World War I to Vietnam, although since the author fought with the Marines in the Battle of Guam, the World War II segment has a particularly visceral pull. Sam Damon is an idealistic boy who joins the Army in 1916; wins the Medal of Honor and an officer's commission in France during World War I; stays in the Army through World War II, where as a two-star general he leads a division in the Pacific; and ends finally as an observer and an old man in Vietnam. A gutting, wrenching, heart-stopping book about friendship, leadership, and courage under fire."

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"A squadron of RAF fighter pilots makes its way first through the idyllic boredom of the 'Phony War' and then is plunged headlong into the hellish Battle of Britain. Tragedy, humor, and spine-tingling action run side by side; Robinson pulls helpless laughter out of you with the high jinks of his adrenaline-junkie young heroes, then turns the pace on a dime and has you mopping your eyes as the cruel odds of aerial combat against enemy Messerschmitts sends the irrepressible fliers you've come to love spiraling one by one to their deaths. A classic of the genre."

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"A lighter WWII novel, and a wonderful one. James Gould is your typical well-behaved Englishman, stationed near Naples during World War II and stuck with the job of discouraging English soldiers from marrying their Italian girlfriends. Even more difficult when he starts falling in love with an Italian girl himself: Livia, the prickly and gifted barracks cook. There are sobering third-act twists when James goes off to fight and Livia is deported and takes refuge with Italian partisans, but humor and love triumph over all. A book that will have you vowing to move to Naples, or at least eat a lot of pasta."

Kate Quinn's novel The Huntress will be available on February 26. Don't forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf. Be sure to also read more of our exclusive author interviews and get more great book recommendations.

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

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message 1: by Sally (new)

Sally Rowlandson It sounds absolutely wonderful , Kate researches her books so well ... I counting the days till the release

message 2: by Connie (new)

Connie Yousofi Looks like I’ll excede my goal of books to read again this year! Can’t wait for the release! Looking forward to reading The Huntress!

message 3: by Linda (new)

Linda Romer Loved the Alice Network!

⇝ Alyssa ⇜ I absolutely loved The Alice Network and I cannot wait to get my hands on another novel by Kate Quinn! Her research and time she puts into her work shows and the writing is stunning.

message 5: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Huether Thanks for the background of The Huntress. I really liked reading about books about World War II. I have marked as a too read book.

message 6: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Hart I have already preordered my copy of The Huntress. Can't wait for it to get here. Really enjoyed The Alice Network.

message 7: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Young I have already pre/ordered The Huntress! Loved the Alice Network, can't wait to read the Huntress!

message 8: by Patty (new)

Patty Killion I was lucky enough to win an ARC of The Huntress on Goodreads. I have devoured it AND gave it 5 stars!!!

message 9: by Daniella (new)

Daniella Bernett Kate,

I loved "The Alice Network" and can't wait to read "The Huntress."

message 10: by Carla (new)

Carla Thomas Can't wait for this one...books about WWII are my go-tos as my father was interred in a German POW camp as a US soldier. Have never heard about the Night Witches...sounds like a fascinating read!

message 11: by Dianne McMahan (new)

Dianne McMahan Really enjoyed "The Alice Network" am really looking forward to reading "The Huntress"
Thank you for listing your 5 favorites.Have read 2 of them so far.

message 12: by Charmaine (new)

Charmaine A As an Alice Network enthusiast I'm really excited about The Huntress. Just hoping it will be available as an audible book. Sitting around reading is not my thing. Walking in the park, hanging the laundry, mopping the floors, cleaning the windows, ironing with a story unfolding in a beautifully-read rendition is!

Cathie (ClassyLibrarian) The Alice Network is on my "keeper" shelf so I just absolutely cannot wait for The Huntress to drop!!! Kate Quinn's writing and research is just perfect. I always end up purchasing a piece of clothing to wear that in my mind is similar to what the character wore so I can take part of Kate's creations with me to work!

message 14: by Živa (new)

Živa Šorn I've read most of Quinn's novels, and some have instantly become my cover-battered, much discussed and friends-must-read favourites.

I'm really looking forward to The Huntress and have pre-ordered it as soon it was possible :D

message 15: by Karen (new)

Karen Enjoyed The Alice Network and have recommended it to friends. Looking forward to The Huntress. Very interesting to read how your love for history began at such a young age. Your mother did well!

message 16: by Bev (new)

Bev Looking forward to this book's release date!

message 17: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth I am so looking forward to ‘The Huntress’ as I truly loved ‘The Alice Network’

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* I've heard heard of Night Witches either, how absolutely fascinating. I will need to look further into this too. As for the book, it sounds very interesting, I'll have to check it out.

message 19: by Deb (new)

Deb Looks wonderful. I love the way She brings history to life.

message 20: by Macoffkilter (last edited Feb 07, 2019 03:05AM) (new)

Macoffkilter Loved the Alice Network and am absolutely looking forward to the Huntress. Also thanks for the recommendation of a few other books. This was such an interesting period (WWI & WWII). I love the information about the females that participated. Thank you for being such a good author.

message 21: by Tami (new)

Tami Bartshe Looking forward to reading The Huntress. Sounds interesting.

message 22: by Richard (new)

Richard Samuel Sheres Keeping Gideon by Richard Samuel Sheres

Another WW II offering: In Keeping Gideon, Daniel Gideon, an American physician and pacifist is trapped in World War II Italy, where he and his family have been betrayed. Forced to live on the run with partisans who saved him, pacifist Gideon struggles as his deepest convictions are challenged by grief, rage, and a desire for revenge as he pieces together the events that led to his family's tragedy.

message 23: by Janet (new)

Janet I learned of the Night Witches when I read THE LAST CITADEL by Davis Robbins. I look forward to THE HUNTRESS. This is my kind of book.

message 24: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl I loved The Alice Network and can hardly wait for The Huntress to be released.

message 25: by Si-Osiri (new)

Si-Osiri There is another book on WW II, that is most important, titled, "Occult Causes of the Present War," by Lewis Spence, pub. 1940: the book brings forth, the true 'esoteric' nature of Nazi Germany, and the Nazi SS: this book, is an introduction to Himmler's Witch Library---unless, one is a true 'esoteric' Researcher, having mastered the "Symbols of Alchemist Power," and fully experienced and educated in Alchemy and ether-space Occultism e.g., H.P. Blavatsky's "Secret Doctrine of 1888," my 'suggestion' to the general public is, "don't go beyond Lewis Spence's book above": go to Wikipedia.com for Lewis Spence information; he is the Founder, of what is currently the Scottish Nationalist Party of First Minister, Nicole Sturgeon.

message 26: by Mary-martha (new)

Mary-martha Johnson I loved The Alice Network and The Huntress sounds intriguing because the hunted is a housewife living in NYC and we don't usually read about a female as the war criminal.

message 27: by Sharlene (new)

Sharlene I was blessed with an early copy of The Huntress. One of my favorite books I have read this year and definitely going on my Favorite War Genre list.

message 28: by Karen (new)

Karen Hildebrand I have read them both and can hardly wait for her next book.
Great topics. Good reading. Well researched historical fiction.
I appreciate fiction based on fact.

message 29: by Sally (new)

Sally Diamond I really liked the Alice Network
I recommend it highly
I have the Huntress but haven’t started it yet

message 30: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Wetterstrom I recommend The Alice Network and The Huntress to everybody!

message 31: by Elaine (new)

Elaine I read The Alice Network last Feb and I just finished reading The Huntress. I thought both of these books were very good. The history of World War II and the horrendous acts of Hitler and the Nazi Party are not easy subjects to read about, but in these two books, Kate Quinn helps bring to light the stories of those who risks their lives to fight against evil and those who work to bring justice to Nazi War criminals.

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