Historical fiction based on the lives of the “Night Witches,” the women Soviet pilots who harassed the German Army during WWII. They flew old, flimsy bi-planes with great effect, bombing German targets through 1945, and were highly decorated for their bravery and destructive missions. I’d give it four stars simply for bringing these women to light and educating readers.
But it’s not straight history, it’s a novel.
This book focuses on one pilot and her journey through training and into combat. The main character is a little too good to be true most of the time, but her fellow pilots have interesting personas, and the missions are described well (as far as I know). There is a romance, of course, but nothing too distracting.
I did feel that the author was too easy on the harshness of war and of the Soviet mindset during Stalin’s reign of terror. The book skips over most of the terrible sights and sounds of the war. Yes, people die in the book and it’s sad, but the true horror of the situation was glossed over, IMO. That was obviously intentional, but I believe it could have been a more legitimate attempt to describe these women’s lives during war.
Kathleen Gati did a fine job with the narration of the audiobook, although I think she overdid the Russian accent. It would have been easier to understand and just as effective had she lessened that aspect. The pacing was a little slow for me, and I sped up to 1.25x.
To learn more about the Night Witches, start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_W…