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A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war. 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 A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war. 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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A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war. 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 A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war. 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.

30 review for Daughters of the Night Sky

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lyuda

    dnf @10% “Logic has never been the strong suit of the Red Army,” Taisiya snapped, picking up the letter and placing it in her bedside table with the rest of his correspondence. “Stalin needs warm bodies, and I don’t think he cares how long they stay that way.” This passage ^^ among some similar ones, is why I not only had to dnf the “historical” fiction book but to rate it and I normally try not to rate books which I dnf'ed early on. This passage would not only expel the person from flying sch dnf @10% “Logic has never been the strong suit of the Red Army,” Taisiya snapped, picking up the letter and placing it in her bedside table with the rest of his correspondence. “Stalin needs warm bodies, and I don’t think he cares how long they stay that way.” This passage ^^ among some similar ones, is why I not only had to dnf the “historical” fiction book but to rate it and I normally try not to rate books which I dnf'ed early on. This passage would not only expel the person from flying school in 1941 USSR but get her straight to the Gulag. I understand taking liberty with history when writing historical fiction, but this and other similar passages is called 'taking artistic license too far', having no idea what kind of society 1930-1940 USSR was. I’ve been raised there. I was lucky to be born long after these times. I had it relatively easy in comparison to the stories I heard from people living through these times -the stories of NKVD coming at night for the university professor whose “betrayal” was to use a newspaper with Stalin’s face printed on it to wrap a piece of fish he bought on the market, of another one who told a lighthearted joke about a Communist Party member to their students, of factory worker who questioned some fictitious numbers of “the five-year plan”, and I can go on and on… The commonality among them? All these people ended up in the Siberian Gulag. Yes, these are the anecdotal stories from people I knew personally, but there are so much material out there that there is no excuse to get the history part so very wrong. I went straight to the Author’s note and got my explanation and more: Let me begin by confessing three things. I am no expert on Russia. I am not a pilot. I am no expert on the Second World War beyond a casual interest that many readers share. Despite these challenges, I had to write this story. One doesn’t have to be an expert on all these things but if one wants to write a historical fiction book, one has to at least read some history books, some memoirs of people who lived through these times to really understand the power of propaganda, the idealism of some, the evil of others, the sacrifices people made to know how unbelievable this from the heroine sounded: Then I thought of our own Stalin, who preached equality and the rise of the proletariat while extending his own grasp farther and farther west. I hoped Stalin wasn’t simply Hitler in a different uniform but dared not voice my concern. And I had a confirmation of my decision to dnf this book early on after reading this from the Author’s note: The biggest departure I make from history comes at the very end. Oh, I don’t even want to know what it is….

  2. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    Runyan has a gift for writing historical fiction about strong women that aren’t taught about in history class. In Daughters of the Night Sky, we learn about women who become pilots in the Red Army under Stalin in World War Two. I never knew that Stalin essentially advocated for something like equal rights for woman. They still faced discrimination and the dismissive attitudes of men, and they were not required to fight. They could return home at any time, unlike the men. Also, they had to be bet Runyan has a gift for writing historical fiction about strong women that aren’t taught about in history class. In Daughters of the Night Sky, we learn about women who become pilots in the Red Army under Stalin in World War Two. I never knew that Stalin essentially advocated for something like equal rights for woman. They still faced discrimination and the dismissive attitudes of men, and they were not required to fight. They could return home at any time, unlike the men. Also, they had to be better than their male counterparts. They had to be flawless. Through the point of view of Katya, we learn about how the women of the Red Army faced danger not only from enemy gunfire, but also sometimes from male soldiers they were supposed to be fighting alongside. Runyan did a great job with research on what it was like to be a pilot during that era. You really feel like you’re in the cockpit with those women, facing uncertainty not just about your own life, but about everyone you care about and even strangers. Fans of historical fiction will definitely want to add this to their to-be-read list. RELEASES JANUARY 1, 2018. Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union for the opportunity to review an advanced copy of this book. For more of my reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    The you-go-girl school of historical fiction is not one I typically partake of, but I was obliged to read Daughters of the Night Sky by an organization I'm involved in. Once I got past my resentment, I was entertained by this as one is entertained by an Oscar-bait war movie that misses the mark and is quickly forgotten rather than decorated come awards season (oh hi, Pearl Harbor!). I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the female pilots of Stalin's Red Army, but although they were on t The you-go-girl school of historical fiction is not one I typically partake of, but I was obliged to read Daughters of the Night Sky by an organization I'm involved in. Once I got past my resentment, I was entertained by this as one is entertained by an Oscar-bait war movie that misses the mark and is quickly forgotten rather than decorated come awards season (oh hi, Pearl Harbor!). I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the female pilots of Stalin's Red Army, but although they were on the right side of WWII, I felt conflicted rooting for them because of, you know, Stalin. (The introduction of one (1) character who spoke the truth re Stalin was not sufficient to ameliorate this conflicted feeling, regardless of what the author may have thought.) Still, as a novel of generic female bravery and tear-jerking manipulation, this was diverting enough. If you already know you like this sort of thing, you'll find this book delivers in a competent fashion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sonja Yoerg

    A lively and stirring tale of the brave vanguard of women pilots fighting for Russia and, as often, for respect from their male counterparts. My heart was in my throat as our heroine, Katya, took to the skies to live her dream and risk her life. As enthralled as I was by this dive into social and military history, it was the humanity of Daughters of the Night Sky that won me over: comrades, lovers, and families swept up and torn apart by war. Runyon delivers a well-paced and heartfelt story that A lively and stirring tale of the brave vanguard of women pilots fighting for Russia and, as often, for respect from their male counterparts. My heart was in my throat as our heroine, Katya, took to the skies to live her dream and risk her life. As enthralled as I was by this dive into social and military history, it was the humanity of Daughters of the Night Sky that won me over: comrades, lovers, and families swept up and torn apart by war. Runyon delivers a well-paced and heartfelt story that fans of WW II novels should not miss.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aura

    I received an advanced copy from Netgalley of this historical novel set in World War II Russia. I enjoyed this great novel about Russian women trained as pilots by Stalin to help defeat the Nazis. This novel is a timely novel in that women serving in the military today around the world perhaps do not get the same credit as their male counterpart. This novel was a reminder of some of the struggles these pioneer women endured and a testament to their courage and dedication. Katya is a likely hero, I received an advanced copy from Netgalley of this historical novel set in World War II Russia. I enjoyed this great novel about Russian women trained as pilots by Stalin to help defeat the Nazis. This novel is a timely novel in that women serving in the military today around the world perhaps do not get the same credit as their male counterpart. This novel was a reminder of some of the struggles these pioneer women endured and a testament to their courage and dedication. Katya is a likely hero, beautiful, strong and faithful to her cause, friends and loved ones. I really enjoyed this novel and recommend it to all historical fiction readers. I have one small criticism. Even though it is a pretty cover, I did not find it appealing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    3.5 stars Audio book narrated by Kathleen Gati 10h 15m I chose this 10% because of the story and 90% because of the Audio narrator( see The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower) Yes, Kathleen Gati is my easy recommendation if you've never experienced an Audiobook before. Second, I love historical fiction and Daughters of the Night Sky is a World War II period novel that tells the true story of the Soviet Red Army 's 588th Night Bomber Regiment that saw Russian Women join combat a 3.5 stars Audio book narrated by Kathleen Gati 10h 15m I chose this 10% because of the story and 90% because of the Audio narrator( see The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower) Yes, Kathleen Gati is my easy recommendation if you've never experienced an Audiobook before. Second, I love historical fiction and Daughters of the Night Sky is a World War II period novel that tells the true story of the Soviet Red Army 's 588th Night Bomber Regiment that saw Russian Women join combat as fighter pilots. These women were so feared by the German Army that they were referred to as "Night Witches" and any German that was able to shoot them down was automatically awarded the Iron Cross. Never having read any thing about these courageous and fascinating women before, I was very eager to give this book a try. Our main protagonist, Katya Ivanova, has dreamt since a child of doing something different and dreams of taking to the skies. Fast forward to the 1940's and as the war erupts throughout Europe, Katya is training to be a pilot. It is there at the military academy, Katya catches the eye of a young Soviet soldier and soon they are married. However, the young couple has no time to enjoy married life before Comrade Stalin announces the invasion of Germany into Mother Russia. My thoughts: I loved every scene between Katya and her fellow pilots as they dealt with combat and the results of war on the civilians they protect and the loss of fellow pilots. On the other hand, I was REALLY lukewarm over the romance portions of the book. Katya's husband served more as a distraction from the war and at times, I was tempted to fast forward through their long love scenes. But that's only my opinion! I would highly recommend Daughters of the Night Sky to other WWII fiction readers especially those who desire to see strong female protagonists.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    The biggest thing I kept lamenting all through my reading of this book is the distance between the reader and Katya, and between Katya and her world. I was getting zero emotional resonance. There was lots of telling rather than showing, from Katya's drive and motivation to be a pilot (she identifies her father more regularly as a university prof and violin player more than pilot) to how hard the girls study (always studying...what, exactly?) to the deaths of her various sisters-in-arms (the firs The biggest thing I kept lamenting all through my reading of this book is the distance between the reader and Katya, and between Katya and her world. I was getting zero emotional resonance. There was lots of telling rather than showing, from Katya's drive and motivation to be a pilot (she identifies her father more regularly as a university prof and violin player more than pilot) to how hard the girls study (always studying...what, exactly?) to the deaths of her various sisters-in-arms (the first pair of deaths was a couple of women who had been mentioned only once or twice, pages and pages ago). I felt like we were just drifting through her life, a tale told long in retrospect when the setting needed to be in-your-face and urgent. [There are a few statements that might be considered SPOILERS in the review that follows. I have not marked them because a)they're relatively small, and b)this is not a subtle tale of nuance and shock and surprise.] It's not even clear to me how/when Katya gets to pilot! They spoke of their academy graduation as "earning their wings," but she's only ever shown working as a navigator. In the war? Navigator. She finally pilots near the end, and she waxes poetic on the beauty of the night sky, but I was just wondering how she was qualified to be flying that bird since I can't recall her ever piloting before -- even in a supervised training scenario, she was so gaga over flying, that seems like it would have been a huge fulfilling moment for her. You know, complete with poetic descriptions of the sky so it'd be hard to miss. Weird. Second place peeve is a tie between how sickeningly saccharine every scene between Katya and Vanya is (my love! Darling! My Vanya!) and the tendency (at least in the first half of the book) to have the male chauvinists all be ugly. Katya describes his yellow teeth or that guy's weak chin or this dude's "walrus mustache." Vanya? Gorgeous, and the first to show her respect. This sappy Vanya adoration combines with the told-not-shown drive to be a pilot in how their relationship upgrades. Katya initially wants to stop after one date because Priorities. Obviously that doesn't stop it all together, and ultimately the two elope. It's only after they're married that Katya thinks to wonder if their marriage would impact her eligibility to fly. That is not the mindset of a driven, determined, and professional woman! There is occasionally a heavy hand with some faux feminism/hypocrisy: weighing on my mind is an example towards the end. Katya seethes quietly when a male character clucks over another woman traveling some distance by herself. A few pages later, her own mother cautions Katya about being careful when out alone, which Katya shockingly realizes is good advice, especially since she didn't have a service weapon anymore. Throughout, other female characters are torn down in order to make Katya look stronger, wiser, braver (see also: my comment below about her being a judgemental priss and how the narrative always suggests she is the correct one). E.g. lecturing her friend about being friendly to the squad when said friend is the only one of the two of them who bothered to meet the other women and learn their names. Despite all that, Katya still ultimately settled down to a domestic life. Her entire thing early in the book was all be a pilot, be good, be better than good so they can't deny you. She says she taught at an aviation school (again I wonder at her qualifications -- ambiguous actual pilot experience, limited anyway to training craft and leftover WW1 planes) but preferred to stick to her nest. She's set up with husband and kids and later grandkids, and though the author notes say she wanted Katya to be true to herself etc about seeing the world, it doesn't sound like she saw more than France! Now, in and of itself, that's all fine. I just think it's a sappy cop-out. She fits herself into someone else's life/family (a man/widower) rather than building one for herself that then included a man/family. And she just meh, gets bored of aviation after a few years, just like that? She had some PTSD-- it only would have taken a sentence or two for her war experiences and deaths endured to have sapped all the joy of it (not that that would be great messaging either, but it's all in the delivery). Another gripe: Katya is kind of a judgmental priss, and the narrative always takes her side. Most annoying example: the character Oksana is described as cold, joyless, kinda priggish. She's pragmatic, practical, and completely harbors zero illusions about warfare and their role in it. The early part of the book heavily hints (and then confirms) that unlike the rest of them, she had already seen the ravages of war up close. Also, she's just a more reserved person -- as a non-people-person myself, I get it. Oksana's my girl. So far so good. But! BUT! Later! Katya is deciding that Oksana's personality was a "churlish mask" that she used to hide/displace her grief (and really Katya should have reached out more). No! That's not at all what was indicated! You completely misunderstood her in this moment that's supposed to show you understanding and further appreciating Oksana! Further, due to all the other moments characters popped in to "hear hear!" Katya's advice or interpretation of a situation (sometimes actually naive or hypocritical, sometimes just equally good to the opposition's argument), there's not a precedent to suggest that's supposed to be a deliberate moment of misunderstanding. Later, Katya has a thought that she hoped the "joyless Oksana" would have enjoyed something, and again -- no! Not after we've seen her be human and even pleased aaaargh. You do not deserve to name any children after her, Katya. Anyway, in short: predictable characterization, no emotional intensity, occasional mild hallmarks of Mary Sue-ism around the protagonist.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs... Daughters of the Night Sky marks my third experience with author Aimie K.Runyan and represents a significant shift in the scope of her storytelling. Inspired by the real-life exploits of the female aviators of the Soviet Air Forces, the novel explores the experience of the Night Witches through the eyes of a young woman facing the dramatic realities of a world at war. Before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to note my ad Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs... Daughters of the Night Sky marks my third experience with author Aimie K.Runyan and represents a significant shift in the scope of her storytelling. Inspired by the real-life exploits of the female aviators of the Soviet Air Forces, the novel explores the experience of the Night Witches through the eyes of a young woman facing the dramatic realities of a world at war. Before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to note my admiration for Runyan’s gentle handling of the material. It’d have been easy to stereotype the Night Witches as a group of gung-ho feminists hell-bent on defying the patriarchy, but Runyan took obvious care to illustrate diversity within the ranks. Her characters are passionate, patriotic, and driven, but they are also emotional and exhibit a variety of traditionally feminine attributes and I loved the context and authenticity that lent her fiction. Katya enjoys a romantic relationship with Vanya over the course of the story and while the plot line is a central component of the narrative, I was pleased to see that Runyan never allowed it to define her heroine. This actually became quite important to me as the novel progressed as I feared the love story would eventually overshadow Katya’s personal ambition, but my concern was ultimately unwarranted and I found great appreciation for how Runyan used Katya’s love life to round-out and balance her character. Personally, I’d have loved to see more technical details in the fabric of the narrative, but that’s just me. Politically speaking, the novel is easy to follow which makes it ideal for those unfamiliar with the history and I felt the story itself a lovely compliment to the spirit of the women who inspired it. Recommended to fans of war-era fiction, particularly those who enjoyed The Beauty Shop.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tammy(PeaceLoveBooks)

    I received an advanced copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Historical fiction at it's finest! Daughters of the Night Sky has all the things I love...history and strong women overcoming adversity. I was instantly drawn into Katya's story as she found love and fought to become a night bomber. I raced through the book but didn't want it to end! I received an advanced copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Historical fiction at it's finest! Daughters of the Night Sky has all the things I love...history and strong women overcoming adversity. I was instantly drawn into Katya's story as she found love and fought to become a night bomber. I raced through the book but didn't want it to end!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joy D

    I enjoy reading history, and I read quite a bit of non-fiction about WWII. This book takes a fictional look at the regiment of “Night Witches,” a group of female Russian pilots. The regiment is based on historical fact. Unfortunately, the story Runyan has woven around it does not ring true. The author takes a broad-brush approach with little detail. We do not know any of the troop movements, logistics, strategy, or tactics, even when one of the main characters is in charge. The protagonist is su I enjoy reading history, and I read quite a bit of non-fiction about WWII. This book takes a fictional look at the regiment of “Night Witches,” a group of female Russian pilots. The regiment is based on historical fact. Unfortunately, the story Runyan has woven around it does not ring true. The author takes a broad-brush approach with little detail. We do not know any of the troop movements, logistics, strategy, or tactics, even when one of the main characters is in charge. The protagonist is supposedly a female Russian pilot, but she acts like a contemporary American. For example, she and her colleagues casually criticize Stalin, which would have been extremely risky behavior during Stalin’s reign of terror. A superfluous romance is included. The meetings between husband and wife during the war are unlikely to have been permitted. The ending includes an unnecessary and far-fetched epilogue. I am always dismayed when writers of historical fiction do not remain true to the era, especially since many readers these days to not consult non-fiction to distinguish between fact and fiction.

  11. 5 out of 5

    boogenhagen

    Really well done book about the lady pilots of the USSR during WWII and to my even greater delight, it comes complete with a well earned HEA.

  12. 4 out of 5

    RoseMary Achey

    Author Runyan presents an aspect of WWII not extensively covered in other historical fiction dealing with the same time period. Female Russian Pilots are the focus of her new novel Daughters of the Night Sky. I truly enjoyed this book and have thought about the story several times since the final page. Stalin and the Russian military were far more open to women pilots than their American counterparts. Reviewers have criticized the writing as not highly sophisticated and at times I share their th Author Runyan presents an aspect of WWII not extensively covered in other historical fiction dealing with the same time period. Female Russian Pilots are the focus of her new novel Daughters of the Night Sky. I truly enjoyed this book and have thought about the story several times since the final page. Stalin and the Russian military were far more open to women pilots than their American counterparts. Reviewers have criticized the writing as not highly sophisticated and at times I share their thoughts. However, the story was extremely engaging and only after a short time I had an affinity for the various characters and personalities.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda Zagon

    MY REVIEW OF ‘DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY’ by Aimie K. Runyan Kudos to Aimie K. Runyan, author of “Daughters of the Night Sky” (Lake Union Publishing, Publication date January, 2018) for writing such an enticing and intriguing novel combining Historical Fiction and Fiction, which are the genres for this story. The story takes places during World War Two, mostly in Russia. I can appreciate Aimie K. Runyan’s hours of historical research for this novel. The author writes about the daring women in the MY REVIEW OF ‘DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY’ by Aimie K. Runyan Kudos to Aimie K. Runyan, author of “Daughters of the Night Sky” (Lake Union Publishing, Publication date January, 2018) for writing such an enticing and intriguing novel combining Historical Fiction and Fiction, which are the genres for this story. The story takes places during World War Two, mostly in Russia. I can appreciate Aimie K. Runyan’s hours of historical research for this novel. The author writes about the daring women in the Night Bomber Regiment of Russian fliers, known as the “Night Witches”. The “Night Witches” were known to do major damage to the German companies in the area. The characters of the story are described as brave and courageous, in these complex and complicated times. Katya Ivanova has always dreamed of being a pilot, flying in the skies. It is a tough battle, because women were often discriminated in the education they got, and the jobs that they could do. Katya works extremely hard in her studies to be able to accomplish her dreams. She is encouraged and supported by another Pilot, who becomes her husband. Can there be time for War and Love? As the war with the Germans intensifies, Katya is called upon to fly the combat planes for Mother Russia. Her husband has gone to the front to fight there, and really wants Katya to think about this. Katya is determined that she will fight for Mother Russia the best way that she can, in the air. Katya meets other women, and they work together on the ground and sky to fight for their Mother Russia. The women are proving they can be a force to be reckoned with. At time, there are doing better than their male counterparts. Nothing is fair in love and war. War can be devastating, and there are casualties and dangers. I love that the author has written about a courageous and brave group of women who were able to not only live their dreams, but fight bravely together for their country. They had to fight discrimination in everything from education, to the supplies they were given for combat. Men were given better supplies to fight with during the war. The women did not have radios in the planes that they were used to flying, making their jobs more dangerous and complicated. The women had to sew the uniforms they were given so they would fit. The author discusses the importance of pursuing your dreams, the importance of family and friends, loyalty, trust, love, hope and faith. The author also mentions how devastating war can be, and the importance of the choices that we make. I received an ARC of this book from The Ninjas-Great Thought Great Readers for my honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I read so much WWII historical fiction that I thought I covered every aspect, but the story of the women's regiment of pilots of the Russian Red Army was so interesting! I found myself cheering on Katya all the female pilots, mechanics, and navigators as they worked hard training to become accepted as flying soldiers, called Night Witches, as they made bombing raids and even beat the men in the number of sorties made. Bravo, Ms. Runyan, on your inspiring story and thank you for the ARC in exchan I read so much WWII historical fiction that I thought I covered every aspect, but the story of the women's regiment of pilots of the Russian Red Army was so interesting! I found myself cheering on Katya all the female pilots, mechanics, and navigators as they worked hard training to become accepted as flying soldiers, called Night Witches, as they made bombing raids and even beat the men in the number of sorties made. Bravo, Ms. Runyan, on your inspiring story and thank you for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Catherine McKenzie

    Great read! Well-researched and interesting even if you don't normally read historical fiction. I love how more and more women's histories are getting explored. Great read! Well-researched and interesting even if you don't normally read historical fiction. I love how more and more women's histories are getting explored.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Did someone say Russian women pilots bombing the shit out of Nazis with little more than their wits and rickety paper airplanes while simultaneously leading a feminist revolution within the Russian military? Baby, you had me at hello! Just when I thought I'd gotten tired of WWII fiction, along comes something completely different: a story from the Russian front that manages to capture the spirit of social change in that country at a time when things like women's rights and worker's rights were f Did someone say Russian women pilots bombing the shit out of Nazis with little more than their wits and rickety paper airplanes while simultaneously leading a feminist revolution within the Russian military? Baby, you had me at hello! Just when I thought I'd gotten tired of WWII fiction, along comes something completely different: a story from the Russian front that manages to capture the spirit of social change in that country at a time when things like women's rights and worker's rights were forced to the forefront out of wartime necessity. At the same time, it fulfilled the same need for sisterly comeraderie in fiction that was so beautifully explored in Code Name Verity. It's got action! Military intrigue! Romance! Safe sex! Achieving impossible dreams! Creative repurposing of military equipment for bras! In short, I dug it with a real big shovel. At the center of the story is Katya, a Russian girl from a peasant village, devoted to her mother and to the memory of her dead father. She's driven by her passion for flying and knowledge, and propelled forward into that dream by every backward asshole who dared to tell her "no." Katya is a true example of the Jackie Robinson Principle: to succeed in her quest to become a pilot, she'll have to be twice as smart, twice as disciplined, twice as talented as the men around her. And she is. Mild spoilers below. While this is definitely a story of sisterhood, it begins with a truly touching romance. Katya falls in love with a fellow pilot, Vanya, at flight school. Not because he's devilishly handsome (he totes is), but because he is just as dedicated to her dream of her becoming a pilot as she is. He supports her, believes in her... you know, all the stuff a husband is supposed to do. And you guys: the use a condom so she won't get pregnant and have to drop out of flight school. Swoon! Now that's a romance I can get behind. But enough about her charming and loyal swain. On to the coven of witches for which this book makes its mark! Katya becomes part of an elite group of women pilots with the mission of bombing the hell out of Nazis at all hours of the night. The become known as The Night Witches to the Germans, for their shneaky shneaky way of gliding in with engines off, dropping bombs, then shrieking away into the night when they start their engines up again. Unsurprisingly, Runyan did her homework: the Night Witches were a real military group in Russia. And they really kicked Russian ass. But not without casualties. Good lord, I knew Russia had it bad in WWII, but the sheer number of deaths, injuries, displaced people... At one point the characters visit a bombed out town full of orphaned, starving children looked after by a single old man. There's no rescue coming for these civilians, no supply line to feed them. They're abandoned in the apocalypse, and most of them probably died. Likewise, the pilots lament the starving peasant population, fed upon (almost literally) by Russian and German militaries alike, completely defenseless. And no wartime story comes without the death of major characters. But I won't spoil that. Suffice it to say that the tender goodbyes and remembrances between sisters in arms had me... wiping a speck of dust from my eye BUT DEFINITELY NOT CRYING, OK? Throughout Katya's journey to become a pilot and succeed in her mission alongside the other Night Witches, she fought a battle at home: The Battle Against the Patriarchy! Seriously, it's infuriating to think of what these heroic women had to deal with not only on the front lines but within their own chain of command. They were condescended to, sexually assaulted by male comrades, belittled, given inadequate supplies and barracks, and forced to make do with subpar airplanes. And yet, through it all, they found ways to continually outperform their male counterparts because they had to. The Jackie Robinson Principle at work, people. It's inspiring. And in a way, it made me grateful. Without their sacrifices, we wouldn't be where we are today. The pacing was fast, the writing style to-the-point yet lyrical. I finished it in two plane flights and sat there, running over the events of the story over and over in my head. Why had I never heard of the Russian woman pilots before? Let alone the struggle of Russian women to get their government to admit their rightful place in the social hierarchy? Why are these heroes unsung? Whatever the answers, Daughters of the Night Sky is a fitting, exciting, heartrending homage to their memory.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    SYNOPSIS: A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war. 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 ar SYNOPSIS: A novel—inspired by the most celebrated regiment in the Red Army—about a woman’s sacrifice, courage, and love in a time of war. 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 comprised 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.  (From Publisher) DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY Written by Aimie K. Runyan JANUARY 2018; Lake Union Publishing (316 Pages) Genre: fiction, historical fiction, war, world war II, women, Russia, Romance RATING: 2.5 STARS I was very intrigued with this novel's synopsis. It was not only a book featuring a woman set during World War II, but it takes place in Russia. I have not read many fiction books about or set in Russia, especially not a book like Daughter in the Night Sky. I may have had too high expectations as I found the the novel hard to get into and hold my attention. Often I read several pages and it seemed like much had happened. I am very picky about romances...in that it either clicks with me or it doesn't. I felt Katya a bit wooden in this aspect. What I did like about the book was the passion behind the book, about the subject matter. I am looking forward to researching more about this time in Russia and about the women in the war. ***I received an eARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY*** My Novelesque Blog

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I give up on WWII fiction. It's not all BAD, but I just don't like it. I can't get into any of it. I don't want to read fictions to reflect all the awful things that actually happened. Also, heroines in WWII fiction are so painfully shoehorned at this point. You could ask me to describe one and it would be describing all of them. I give up on WWII fiction. It's not all BAD, but I just don't like it. I can't get into any of it. I don't want to read fictions to reflect all the awful things that actually happened. Also, heroines in WWII fiction are so painfully shoehorned at this point. You could ask me to describe one and it would be describing all of them.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Raintree

    I have followed Aimie Runyan since her debut. From her first novel, I fell in love with the way she writes strong female characters that you can't help but root for and be inspired by. In Daughters of the Night Sky, she does not disappoint. DNS takes us to WWII. I'm don't typically read or watch war stories but what I love is that the characters and the story transcend the setting. Katya is a kick ass heroine with a soft side that draws you into her world immediately, and her motley crew of Night I have followed Aimie Runyan since her debut. From her first novel, I fell in love with the way she writes strong female characters that you can't help but root for and be inspired by. In Daughters of the Night Sky, she does not disappoint. DNS takes us to WWII. I'm don't typically read or watch war stories but what I love is that the characters and the story transcend the setting. Katya is a kick ass heroine with a soft side that draws you into her world immediately, and her motley crew of Night Witches are all so engaging in their own way. At times thrilling, and others heartbreaking, this novel will have you hooked all the way through, and thinking about it long after. It is truly one of the best, most memorable books I've read in years. Daughters of the Night Sky is bound to be Runyan's breakout novel.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tonni Callan

    I love reading historical fiction. Especially when it has strong women featured and packed full of all little known parts of history; all the while, entertaining and educationing me. Daughters of the Night Sky checks all the boxes! (In spades!) I hadn’t planned reading another book about WII, but this one piqued my interest as it sounded so different than others I had read. I was immediately drawn in by how well it was written, this book just flows. Aimie K. Runyan immerses you into the story of I love reading historical fiction. Especially when it has strong women featured and packed full of all little known parts of history; all the while, entertaining and educationing me. Daughters of the Night Sky checks all the boxes! (In spades!) I hadn’t planned reading another book about WII, but this one piqued my interest as it sounded so different than others I had read. I was immediately drawn in by how well it was written, this book just flows. Aimie K. Runyan immerses you into the story of these women and takes you along their incredible journey, thoroughly enjoyable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A superb portrait of wartime valor, Daughters of the Night Sky spotlights the accomplishments of the Russian military aviators known as the “Night Witches.” These all-female Red Army regiments flew harassment bombing missions against the Nazis under cover of darkness, in hand-me-down planes and without radios, to diminish the enemy’s strength and disrupt their sleep. It worked. We see the action from the viewpoint of Ekaterina (Katya) Ivanova, who has dreamed of flying since childhood. With her A superb portrait of wartime valor, Daughters of the Night Sky spotlights the accomplishments of the Russian military aviators known as the “Night Witches.” These all-female Red Army regiments flew harassment bombing missions against the Nazis under cover of darkness, in hand-me-down planes and without radios, to diminish the enemy’s strength and disrupt their sleep. It worked. We see the action from the viewpoint of Ekaterina (Katya) Ivanova, who has dreamed of flying since childhood. With her widowed mother’s support, she enrolls in a military academy for aviators. The story follows her training, her excitement at acceptance into a volunteer regiment led by a renowned female major, and the daring sorties she flies as her best friend’s navigator – and through significant moments of exhilaration, cameraderie, and sorrow. There’s a subtle romantic subplot, and Katya draws sustenance from her beloved’s letters, but it doesn’t overwhelm her dedication. There are numerous hardships for Katya and her fellow aviators to overcome, from insufficient rations and icy temperatures to subtle resentment and outright sexual harassment. They enter into a man’s world quite literally, as exemplified by the male uniforms and undergarments distributed to them (complete with flap at the front, which they joke could be a place to hold their lipstick), but they modify them to almost fit. Tough and disciplined, they know they must surpass men’s expectations and accomplishments to be taken seriously. Soviet ideals stressed gender equality, and the novel acknowledges Comrade Stalin’s approval of these military women while providing examples of his totalitarianism. In historical novels about multiple women, authors tend to slot them into compartments, creating characters representing different societal groups through their contrasting backgrounds: the snobby rich girl vs. the ambitious poor one, city-dwellers vs. naïve country folk, etc. Fortunately, as in her previous two books set in early Quebec, Runyan avoids this temptation. The aviators have unique characteristics and motivations, and despite their occasional disputes, she emphasizes how Katya and the others unite to perform their courageous mission. They form tight quartets – pilot, navigator, armorer, mechanic – whose lives are mutually dependent. It’s a pleasure to see the author grow in strength as a novelist while adapting to a new historical setting. Her tension has grown sharper, her characterizations deeper, the emotional quality more penetrating. At one key moment, I worried she’d plotted herself into a corner, but this wasn’t the case; I found myself impressed by how this situation was resolved. With its absorbing blend of technical details and emotional resonance, Daughters of the Night Sky is a great way to wrap up your historical fiction reading year, or to start your new year of reading in 2018. First reviewed at Reading the Past.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I read a lot of WWII fiction but this was a totally new look at the war for me. This historical fiction was about Russian women pilots who bombed German areas during the war. The author did extensive research for this book and her research made this book even more interesting and intriguing. Katya wanted to be a pilot from a young age and her mother encouraged her to be whatever she wanted to be. Of course, there were very few women pilots at the time so Katya was met with resistance and scorn fr I read a lot of WWII fiction but this was a totally new look at the war for me. This historical fiction was about Russian women pilots who bombed German areas during the war. The author did extensive research for this book and her research made this book even more interesting and intriguing. Katya wanted to be a pilot from a young age and her mother encouraged her to be whatever she wanted to be. Of course, there were very few women pilots at the time so Katya was met with resistance and scorn from men during every step. Her teacher in school felt that women should become mothers and stay at home and refused to teach her mathematics in school until her mother intervened. When she got accepted to flight school, the male pilots treated the women terribly and even the male instructors were unfair to the females. After all of the people trying to keep her from reaching her goal, the war started and she was accepted into an all female regiment. Though she wants to help her country win the war, she also wants to be with her new husband and keep herself safe as he requested. She is torn between helping her country and being a brave example for the other women in her group and being the person that her husband wants her to be until she realizes that the only way she'll be happy in her life is to follow her dreams. This is a wonderful, well written novel about female pilots during the war who not only had to fight the enemy but they also had to fight the prevailing belief of the day that women should stay at home. It's a book about bravery and loyalty and following your dreams no matter where they lead. I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    Rating 4.5 This historical fiction novel covered an element of World War II I had never even heard of. Katya Ivanova has always been fascinated with airplanes. After years of training, Katya has been assigned to the Russian 588th Night Bomber Regiment—one of the only Soviet air units composed entirely of women - and a group that would become famous and dubbed the "Night Witches" by the Germans. The story follows Katya - a superb navigator, her pilot and best friend - Taisiya, Oksana - who risks a Rating 4.5 This historical fiction novel covered an element of World War II I had never even heard of. Katya Ivanova has always been fascinated with airplanes. After years of training, Katya has been assigned to the Russian 588th Night Bomber Regiment—one of the only Soviet air units composed entirely of women - and a group that would become famous and dubbed the "Night Witches" by the Germans. The story follows Katya - a superb navigator, her pilot and best friend - Taisiya, Oksana - who risks all for her love of her country, and Sofia - the major who leads the women to triumph along with Polina and Renata Katya's mechanic and armorer through their training and combat action. Katya flew a total of 1,106 sorties before the war ended. These were strong, independent, courageous women, and Runyan does an excellent job with historical detail to bring this heartfelt, true story to life. I knew very little about the Russian role in World War II and nothing about this amazing group of women. There was a perfect balance between plot, characters, and setting all while telling a compelling story that is both tragic and uplifting. The only thing that kept me from giving this story a 5 was a few swear words (which I could have overlooked) but also a much too detailed lovemaking scene between Katya and the pilot she went on to marry. ** I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sharlene

    WWII genre books are one; if not the #1 genre I read. I am adding this one to my favorites list. This novel educated me to events I was not aware of. Learning about the Night Witches of Russia was fascinating. Accurate historical research if very important to me and this was spot on. I will definitely recommend this book to others. Once you begin this book, it is hard to put down. A moving, stirring tale of daring women during war.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY is a heart-pounding, epic tale about an incredibly brave squadron of Russian WWII female fighter pilots. Through the eyes of Katya, Aimie K. Runyan, takes us through their harrowing adventures and the roller coaster ride of love and loss in war. Runyan weaves an unputdownable story of bravery, perseverance, and sacrifice. This is a stunner of a novel that I found truly inspiring and well worth the read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Thelma

    Once in a while you read a book that leaves your heart swelling in a beautiful way, Daughters of the Night Sky is one of these books. not knowing where the journey was taking me I fell in love with each character and situation these amazing women were showing us on each page. Daughters of the night sky it's the story of some of the most courageous women I've ever read on the history of war. "The Night Witches" were a team of wonderful women who wanted to serve their country and fought intensely t Once in a while you read a book that leaves your heart swelling in a beautiful way, Daughters of the Night Sky is one of these books. not knowing where the journey was taking me I fell in love with each character and situation these amazing women were showing us on each page. Daughters of the night sky it's the story of some of the most courageous women I've ever read on the history of war. "The Night Witches" were a team of wonderful women who wanted to serve their country and fought intensely to achieve this. they were magnificent pilots who were put to at test constantly just for the simple fact to be a woman. no one suffered more than them because not only they had to fight the enemy they also had to fight for a place in their dreams. Katya was just breathtaking it is so pleasant to encounter a strong heroine like her, who fought hard for her dreams and helped all of her teammates and even people who were suffering and were from the enemy side. she was kind, empathic, and respectful, I love how her teammates respect her and look at her at all times. even the high ranked commanders respect her and listen to whatever she had to say. at first, men laugh and try to sabotage their dreams but Katya never gave up and show at all times she was more qualified than many of those men. Katya's dreamed of flying all over the skies, she constantly had to fight the negatives her family and teacher gave her at first, she always wanted to do this but they keep trying to stop her. her mother believed in her and helped her to achieve this. Katya left to serve her country never knowing she was about to meet many people who will change her life even the love of her life Vanya, the love of Katya and Vanya was so beautiful since the very first moment they met, he was always a gentleman, I love how he took care of her no matter where he was, it was so refreshing to read the story of this two.. for me it was my favorite part of the story. The secondary characters were amazing, so many great women who were so important for Katya's journey, her mother was one of them, her friends and sisters at the war Taisiya, Oksana, Sofia, Polina, and Renata were amazing, I really love her unity and how much they support each other. Favorite "funny" moment, when they received their uniforms, at first I was kind of laughing at the description but then I realized how sad it was that they didn't even get their own uniforms, they were not taken seriously and they wanted to made them fail at all costs. The only thing I didn't like was the ending, I cried sooooo much, my heart broke so many times for Katya, she really deserved so much more after all she was a very kind person and I really felt she deserved a better ending. I wish the epilogue had a happy moment for her. Like the authors note said, We dismiss women when it comes to jobs that were "designed" for men, we constantly hear stories of heroes but they never mention all those women who were pilots, nurses, or even war heroines who fought as hard as fearless as many.. it is as if in the war we didn't exist and we didn't contribute to the cause.. but here we have The Story of "The Night Witches" a group of women who deserve more recognition than many of their comrades but never received any of it. so I'm happy that I read this book and about them, I'm glad now I know about these strong goddesses. To all the people who wrote a one-star review because your history accuracy wasn't met, let me tell you one thing>>>>> YOU DIDN"T UNDERSTAND the message of the story.......... Overall a standing ovation for this book, for the story, and for the amazing heroines of the war.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Quitting at 51% read. It’s just so boring! Not sure where all the high marks come from but too many other books out there waiting for me. There is so little detail I barely have an inkling of setting and characters. The main character is barely likable.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Iset

    So this is an interesting book, both to read and review. I was in fact already somewhat familiar with the deeds of Soviet female military personnel, so unlike other readers what drew me in what drew me in initially was the fact that someone had written a novel about a subject which, in my experience thus far, has not had a novel afforded to it. Runyan takes the unit of the 'Night Witches', the events and deeds they participated in, and writes it with fictional individuals. I can see how this migh So this is an interesting book, both to read and review. I was in fact already somewhat familiar with the deeds of Soviet female military personnel, so unlike other readers what drew me in what drew me in initially was the fact that someone had written a novel about a subject which, in my experience thus far, has not had a novel afforded to it. Runyan takes the unit of the 'Night Witches', the events and deeds they participated in, and writes it with fictional individuals. I can see how this might be a double-edged sword - history nuts may be disgruntled by lack of greater detail and accuracy, meanwhile the fictional characters are still constrained by the framework of actual events. But so far, judging by other reviews, it's a creative choice which seems to be working well for her. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Halfway through I felt compelled to set the book down for a moment and do some research, and I must admit I was a little bit disappointed that the characters I was reading about weren't real. I found myself wishing that I was reading about the real heroines of this unit. But, on the other hand... it can be a very tricky path to tread to write about people in living memory without stepping on some toes. So this choice is probably for the best. I find myself with not too much to say about the writing from a technical and linguistic standpoint. It flowed well, and with a competency that definitely turned it into a page-turner. The book isn't that long, but it isn't that short either, and yet it was an easy and compelling enough read for me that I read the whole thing in one day. And yet nothing particularly struck me as outstanding, apart from the opening pages, which had a wonderfully vivid description of a Siberian summer. I would have liked more of that fresh and innovative imagery to keep me on my toes. From a storytelling point of view, the only thing that felt really off was (view spoiler)[the attempted escape; to me it just felt out of character for our dedicated protagonist (hide spoiler)] . Everything else fits together well and the story feels like it progresses naturally. The book has its fair share of tragedy - as you might expect from a wartime novel - and yet... and yet... It may seem churlish to note that a good book is not a great book, but I want to provide constructive feedback as to why that is. It lacked impact. When I think about wartime novels that have really grabbed me by the shoulders and refused to let go, books that have truly moved me... they confront the realities of war and the psychology it creates with a greater degree of starkness than seen here. Catch-22 is a great example. And yet I am sure that it won't negatively affect this book at all - a lot of people do not want to read about the horrific details of war and would prefer to skip over such. I'm just one person who prefers to keep that stuff in, because I think its important to connect with what people have had to go through, and to grapple with the difficult experiences. I'm sure the book will reach a wider audience the way it is written, but for me personally it won't be as lasting and memorable as a Catch 22. So would I recommend this book? Oh yes, don't get me wrong on that. It's a smooth read, with a page-turner quality that tempts you to just keep going, it's well-written, enjoyable, it tackles an interesting little-known subject. It's got a lot going for it; it is a good read. It just isn't an earth-shattering amazing read, for me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Woman (Katinka/Katya) serves as Red Army Pilot/Navigator during WWII. Ever since reading The Bronze Horseman series by Paullina Simons, I have been fascinated by life in Russia. This book was no exception and kept me enthralled from page one. Not only was it set in Russia, but it also featured a strong female character in a historical setting. Check, check, and check off my list of favorites! This story spans the years of 1941-1945 while Russia fought to keep Germany from invading and follows Kat Woman (Katinka/Katya) serves as Red Army Pilot/Navigator during WWII. Ever since reading The Bronze Horseman series by Paullina Simons, I have been fascinated by life in Russia. This book was no exception and kept me enthralled from page one. Not only was it set in Russia, but it also featured a strong female character in a historical setting. Check, check, and check off my list of favorites! This story spans the years of 1941-1945 while Russia fought to keep Germany from invading and follows Katya, who dreamed of becoming a pilot since she was a little girl. While in training, she meets Taisiya, a girl who shares her love of flying, and they become best friends. For the first time in her life, Katya no longer feels like an outsider while living, training, and flying with like minded women. During the war, the women bomb the German camps at night earning the nickname "The Night Witches." Since my mom passed away a month ago, the tender scenes between mother and daughter were especially poignant for me and brought tears to my eyes. This one earned a solid 4-star rating from me, and I would highly recommend it. Can’t wait to read more from this author! Thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for a free advance copy of this book! All opinions are my own. Location: Russia "If I lose my kindness, I've lost the war, no matter what the outcome is," - Vanya, Katya's husband.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I requested an early read of this story because its Russian protagonist, Katya, was interested in World War II military service for the same reason as my American dad had been. Yes, both had a vague sense that they wanted to defend their motherland, but their motivation arose from a passion that surpassed the dangers of doing so: enlistment would afford them the training needed to fly. This was the only way my dad was going to push the boundaries of his mother's provincial sensibilities, and it I requested an early read of this story because its Russian protagonist, Katya, was interested in World War II military service for the same reason as my American dad had been. Yes, both had a vague sense that they wanted to defend their motherland, but their motivation arose from a passion that surpassed the dangers of doing so: enlistment would afford them the training needed to fly. This was the only way my dad was going to push the boundaries of his mother's provincial sensibilities, and it sure as hell was the only way a woman was going to earn her wings in the 1930s. Katya's romance with a skilled, daring pilot felt like a metaphor for my dad's romance with flight itself. Luckily for my mom and the five kids he would live to father—but to his keen disappointment—the war ended just as my dad earned his wings. Reading this book gave me some sense of what a war experience might have been like, save for one thing: as part of an all-female regiment, Katya's tenure as a "Night Witch" was meant not to engage the enemy, but to disturb their rest while taking out what munitions and vehicles they could. Daughters of the Night Sky is a dramatic, engaging, and ultimately sobering look at the price these women paid while fighting for equality on the stage of war. Added to the discomforts of life near the front were ill-fitting male uniforms, relegation to sluggish planes, and derision from male superiors. That these women stayed to prove themselves worthy, while constantly reminded that they were volunteers who could slink back home at any time, was a testament to their moxie. If you like historical fiction with heroines relevant to contemporary women, pick this one up!

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