REVIEW – The Huntress by Kate Quinn

This is probably the best WWII-based piece of historical fiction I have ever read. The story jumps around a bit – we read from the perspective of three characters, jumping from the late 1930s to 1951.

Kate Quinn’s characters are unforgettable. I loved learned about the varying roles of women during the war, that didn’t include being wives/mothers or prisoners. I honestly didn’t know a thing about the Night Witches until picking up this book.

Nina’s story was the most interesting in my opinion, but I liked each character and never felt bored (and this is a longer book, more than 500 pages).

[slightly spoilery comments ahead]

Even knowing right from the start (or being 99% sure) that Anna was the Huntress, I still found myself liking her, feeling bad for her and appreciating the advice she gave to Jordan.

I also really appreciated the brief glimpses into post-war attitudes in both Europe and the US. My grandpa fought in WWII and I never got the chance to ask him about the war and ask about shifting back to civilian life once the war was over. I think I enjoy novels set in WWII because I was close with someone who lived through it.

REVIEW – The Hearts Invisible Furies by John Boyne

I didn’t know what to expect heading in to this book and I’m honestly not sure how I would explain it to someone else because I wouldn’t want to spoil anything.

Cyril isn’t a “real” Avery. He’s reminded of that his entire life. We follow him from his birth in 1945, meeting up with him every seven years until 2015.

At times this book dragged a bit for me. Some of the more dramatic plot points hit all at once, which isn’t really necessary for a book that’s almost 600 pages. That being said, it’s still worth a read.

A lot of people say this book made them cry, but I would like to add that this book made me laugh more than anything. Even when covering heavier topics, Boyne was still able to weave a little bit of humor between the sadness (and appropriately, nothing felt forced or out of place).

[major spoilers start here!]

I wasn’t shocked when Julian ended up being one of the patients with AIDS, and although I found that part of the book sad, it wasn’t what stuck with me.

I’ll preface this by saying I am not an emotional reader by any means. I assumed the saddest part of the book was Julian’s death. Then Bastiaan (which just made me so angry – not at the author, but because it’s grounded in reality and just so horrific and unfair). Still, I didn’t cry throughout the entire book. Until the very last page…which definitely made me tear up a little.

Overall, this is a wonderful story about a man’s life over the course of 70 years. It’s amazing what changes and what stays the same.