Russia, 1941. Katya Ivanova is a young pilot in a far-flung military academy in the Ural Mountains. From childhood, she's dreamed of taking to the skies to escape her bleak mountain life. With the Nazis on the march across Europe, she is called on to use her wings to serve her country in its darkest hour. Not even the entreaties of her new husband—a sensitive artist who fears for her safety—can dissuade her from doing her part as a proud daughter of Russia.
After years of arduous training, Katya is assigned to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment—one of the only Soviet air units composed entirely of women. The Germans quickly learn to fear nocturnal raids by the daring fliers they call "Night Witches." But the brutal campaign will exact a bitter toll on Katya and her sisters-in-arms. When the smoke of war clears, nothing will ever be the same—and one of Russia's most decorated military heroines will face the most agonizing choice of all.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ms K Cannon on 14-08-18
This is a beautiful, heart wrenching book set in a country and period I know little about. The characters are beautifully drawn and the story is gripping, poignant and remarkable. Incredible that such high honours were bestowed on a female flying unit and interesting to see that Stalin believed in equal rights.
At times the prose is over written, but this could easily be down to sounding authentically Russian. At times the book lacks tension, despite dramatic action in the story. I felt the narrator was trying to take the story to its conclusion, rather than expanding on the important individual events/scenes, which lost tension significantly.
The story is so well researched and authentic it's hard to believe it isn't autobiography, which is a sign of a brilliant writer. The end has a sudden, unexpected plot twist.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jake's Handler on 16-02-18
Narrator sets the scene
fascinating look at World War II from a completely different angle. The narrator made it easy to distinguish characters and follow with all the confusing Russian names. The only thing I didn't like was the very cliched ending. it is as if the author had an appointment she needed to get to, so just closed the book.
27 of 27 people found this review helpful
By Tanya M. Spiegel on 02-03-18
This is the amazing story of an even more amazing all women Soviet pilots serving in WW2. I had never heard of them and found the whole story simply incredible. So much of history we just never hear about. Theses amazing women trained and used old planes made of Little More then paper and some metal. The faced freezing temperatures in oversized men shoes and uniforms because no one took the time to make a women’s uniform. Just a fabulous portrayal of determination by womenfolk help their country. How sad so few know of their courage. Narrator did wonderful job with names. Easy to hear the difference in characters. So impressed looked up the “night witches” now that’s a good book when you can’t get enough.
56 of 58 people found this review helpful