The Huntress
by Kate Quinn
Discussion Questions:
1. All the characters begin the book standing on different lake shores-Nina at Lake Baikal, Anneliese at Altaussee, Jordan at Selkie Lake, and Ian at the lake in Cologne. Nina and the Huntress clash for the first time at Lake Rusalka in Poland, and everyone comes together ultimately at the lake in Massachusetts. Discuss how the idea of the lake, and the rusalka lake spirit, weaves through THE HUNTRESS as a theme.

2. Ian states that the life of a Nazi hunter is about patience, boredom, and fact-checking, not high-speed glamour and action. Do you agree with him? What preconceptions did you have about Nazi hunters?

3. Jordan's drive to become a photographer clashes with the expectations of her father-and almost everyone else she knows-that she will marry her high school boyfriend, work in the family business, and relegate picture-snapping to a hobby. How have expectations of career versus marriage changed for women since 1950?

4. The Night Witches earn their nickname from the Germans, who find their relentless drive on bombing runs terrifying, but the men on their own side haze them, mock them, and call them little princesses. How does prejudice and misogyny drive the women of the 46th to succeed? Did you know anything about the Night Witches before reading THE HUNTRESS?

5. Nina calls herself a savage because of her early life in the wilds around the lake with her murderous, unpredictable father. How did her upbringing equip her to succeed, first as a bomber pilot and then as a fugitive on the run? Does her outsider status make her see Soviet oppression more clearly than Yelena, who accepts it as the way things should be?

6. When Jordan first brings up suspicions about her stepmother at Thanksgiving, her theories are quashed by Anneliese's plausible explanations. Did you believe Anneliese's story at Thanksgiving, or Jordan's instinct? When did you realize that Jordan's stepmother and die Jagerin were one and the same?

7. "The ends justify the means." Ian disagrees strongly, maintaining he will not use violence to pursue war criminals. Nina, on the other hand, has no problem employing violent methods to reach a target, and Tony stands somewhere between them on the ideological scale. How do their beliefs change as they work together? Who do you think is right?

8. Ian and Nina talk about lakes and parachutes, referencing the bad dreams and post-war baggage that inevitably come to those who have gone to war. How do Ian and Tony deal with their PTSD and survivor guilt, as opposed to Nina and the Night Witches?

9. Throughout THE HUNTRESS, war criminals attempt to justify their crimes: Anneliese tells Jordan she killed as an act of mercy, and several witnesses tell Ian they were either acting under orders or ignorant of what was happening. Why do they feel the need to justify their actions, even if only to themselves? Do you think any of them are aware deep down that they committed evil acts, or are they all in denial?

10. Jordan sincerely comes to love Anneliese, who is not just her stepmother but her friend. After learning the truth about Anneliese's past, Jordan is perturbed that she cannot simply switch off her affection for the one person who encouraged her to chase her dreams. How do you think you would react if you found out a beloved family member was a murderer and a war criminal?

11. In the final confrontation at Selkie Lake, the team is able to capture Anna instead of killing her or allowing her to commit suicide, and she later faces a lifetime in prison for war crimes. Were you satisfied with her fate, or do you wish she had paid a higher price for her actions?

12. By the end of THE HUNTRESS, Jordan has found success as a photographer, Tony is a human rights attorney, and Ian and Nina are still hunting war criminals. Where do you see the team in ten years? Do you think Ian and Nina will remain married, or will Nina found a way back to Yelena, her first love? Do you think Jordan and Tony will stay together, or drift apart as friends? What about Ruth?

(Discussion Questions by Author)


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