Cover Image: Daughters of the Night Sky

Daughters of the Night Sky

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I wasn’t able to finish this one. I did not finish this book because it wasn’t interesting enough to me
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Unfortunately, I have not been able to finish this book, though I have tried on numerous occasions.  I feel that I just cannot connect with the characters and do not find myself engaged in the plot.
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A fascinating book about strong, brave and determined Russian women, whom became fighter pilots during WWII. Beautiful historical fiction about love, friendship, loss and sacrifice during wartime. 
Excellent writing and a captivating tale. Thank you NetGalley for the copy for my review. All opinions are my own.
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Aimie excels at female dynamics in a historical setting and I enjoyed Katja's story. The romance was done very well, and the book provided insight into a little known faction of WWI history.
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Historical fiction … good historical fiction … does more than just tell a story, it transports the reader to another place and time. It immerses them in a culture and events of the past… the courts of kings and queens of Victorian England, the American move westward in the 19th century, or the Eastern Theater of one of the world’s ‘great wars’. Wherever an author takes one, good historical fiction relives a period in history and captivates the reader.

DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY does that and more. In a bold departure from the standard offerings of World War II historical fiction, and with a verve and dedication to historical detail that is both daring and breathtaking, Aime K Runyan tells the story of a courageous group of female pilots in World War II Russia, called to defend their homeland.

In a rare display of feminism for the times, Comrade Stalin has declared equality for women, something that many of the male pilots and soldiers struggle to come to terms with. This is key to the story of the ‘night witches’ and one which lends an air of authenticity to the author’s retelling of the exploits of the 46th Taman Guards, formerly the 588th Night Bomber Regiment – Russia’s all female air force regiment.

“I’m going to learn how to fly a plane of my own, Mama.” Katya Ivanova tells her mother. Little does Katya know that one day her dream will take her to the battle front of the Second World War.

Love is fragile in time of war. It is often fleeting. And it is all too often, heartbreaking. And so Katya vows that she will not let a man deter or distract her from her ‘mission’. But… the heart wants what the heart wants and in wartime there is a greater urgency, a hunger, to live every moment as fully as possible, not knowing what tomorrow will bring… victory or heartbreak. Which will Vanya bring? Will the tragedy of war win out over love or will it bring a strength and determination to Katya she could not have foretold.

Ms Runyan has woven a tale rich in historical detail and all the imagery of a nation at war with a cast of truly heroic and memorable characters to make DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY one of the most compelling and compassionate stories of World War II and the brave band of women pilots and crews called upon to defend Mother Russia against the German war machine. Told with a bittersweet poignancy and a deep compassion for the human condition, I cheered at times and cried at others. The last 30 pages of DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY had me soaking one tissue after another.

Yes, but did you like it, Veronica?

In the immortal words of Paul Hollywood…

“I didn’t like it… I LOVED it!”

Captivating… beautiful… brilliant… heartbreakingly poignant… DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY is a ‘must-read’! I recommend it without reservation.

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
(Writing under a large mushroom somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)
(I received an e-ARC of this book through my book club.)
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I know pretty much nothing of Russian history, only learning the most after 1989, and the fall of the Soviet Union.   I had this idea in my head that the government dictated where you lived and what your occupation would be.  That they had very little freedom.  But I’ve read more of Russian history lately and finding that is just not the case.  

This is the story of the Night Witches, a group of Russian aviators whose job it was to hit German camps in the dead of night.  It follows the life of Ekaterina and her dream of one day becoming a pilot, that she was just as good as the boys in school, even if she was a girl.  She went to aviation school where she was a navigator and with her comrades showed they were just as good as men.  Where she met her husband, Vanya, a pilot.  With the Germans invading Russia it was up to them to help push the Germans back.

This was the story of women with dreams of being equal to men, in 1940’s Russia.  To be looked at being able to do anything they were able to do.  This book was inspiring to see the hard work these women endured to prove to Stalin and the Russian people that women were as capable of serving and fighting in war as men, maybe even more.  I would definitely recommend this book.
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Daughters of the Night Sky is rich with research and characters to care about! I learned so much about these women and their mission. I had never heard about them before and after reading this book, I wanted to know more. This book is an easy read and isn't bogged down with over description and the level of detail is just right. I am looking forward to Aimie Runyan's next release!
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I hadn't heard about the "night witches" before reading this novel and loved learning more about these women who served during WWII. I think that it's important to talk about the contributions women made to history even though everyone tried to keep them from making them.

In addition to talking about a very interesting and almost forgotten part of history, "Daughters of the Nighty Sky" also introduces a cast of interesting characters with complex motivations and well-developed relationships. I liked how the novel didn't portray everything as black or white but also includes moral dilemmas created by war.

Overall, this is a great novel with interesting characters.
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I've written before about my appreciation for stories about strong women. This novel is full of them. The premise was absolutely fascinating. I am not familiar at all with the Russian perspective of World War 2 and I certainly had no idea about their female pilots. I enjoyed this glimpse into their world. As with her previous novels, Aimie Runyan has written about women who support and encourage each other

Katya is a strong heroine and although a bit too perfect, she was someone I enjoyed getting to know. The relationships between the women were the core of the story and their resilience and strength was refreshing. Relationships, regardless of type, are never drama-free and here they are explored in a realistic way. Especially between Katya and Oksana. 

Predictably, most of the men were stereotypical chauvinists of the time, but there was one scene in particular where the male major was verbally dressed down by his female counterpart. I loved that scene, because he'd been a jerk. 

There is growth and maturity among these pilots from when they first arrive at training camp to when the war ends. There are battles and death and victory and loss. I could see the ending that was coming and while it fits with the story, I'm still not sure I loved it. But the story itself? That I enjoyed. That I can recommend.
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I have promoted this book and its author extensively on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram., but will not be writing a formal review.
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Countless lives lost -unable to celebrate victory-let freedom ring. 
Sisters in Arms - A sisterhood formed out of bravery, courage, determination, tenacity, composure, and iron will to lead the country into a brighter future.
Yet, you wonder in this tribute to bravery and in knowing freedoms aren't free the sacrifices, the illnesses, the danger faced and brought back home in painful memories that will scar for life.
You wonder what if the war was never fought, what about the lives lost, what about the lives forever altered and those not yet born to chance.
Daughters of the Night Sky has been described as a historical fiction yet I would dare say it was insight into the Iron Curtain, the dictators of the past, the authoritarian leaders who ruled out of force to achieve successes at the mercy of those who represented their countries heroically.
Stalin and Hitler used power and control to advance their own agendas and in doing so created much chaos, death, destruction left behind.
How do we now process these historical markers so that generations beyond will understand and comprehend these 'women' who were marked as Heroes of the Soviet Union?
Russia 1941 WWII as Katya Ivanova is just starting out a young fresh faced pilot in Ural Mountains. 
She's dreamed of flying but has never confronted fear head on as she was forced to endure with the Nazis as they marched across Europe.
Not even her husband's wishes could've proved worthy as she refused to sit back and watch. She was a leader and she was willing to give her life to save others as a proud Russian daughter.
After years of brutal training she was assigned to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment - The only Soviet air unit made up entirely of women.
These 'Night Witches' would swoop in during night raids and wreak havoc.
However, in war nobody wins.
War leaves more prisoners than it takes as countless lives are forever altered internally.
These contributions by these brave women went largely ignored. 
The longer the war dragged on the longer the innocent suffered at the hands of these men who planned to rule the world.
'The war would break you' perhaps but 'Death was not in vain'
Thank you to Aimie, her publisher, NetGalley, Aldiko and my local library for my extra copy to get this review completed.
It was a pleasure to read and a greater pleasure to write this honest review in exchange for this e-copy
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Received a copy from NetGalley for my review.

This was a great book from start to finish. A quick read that will leave you feeling good. I had no idea about these awesome women. Thanks for writing this one.
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Really good book! It was interesting to read and learn about the female pilots who flew for Russia during WWII. Their bravery and dedication were amazing. The fact that they outperformed the male flight crews is not surprising. They had to work much harder to be acknowledged for their accomplishments.

I appreciated the author's note at the end in confirming where she deviated from fact. Her effort to provide a true picture of the "Night Witches" and their experiences was worthwhile.

I could have done without the sex scenes...they didn't really add value to the story. But other than those few episodes, the book is one I would highly recommend.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for a unbiased review.
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DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY Written by Aimie K. Runyan
January 2018; 316 Pages (Lake Union Publishing)
Genre: historical fiction, war, world war II, women, Russia, romance

(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)

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.
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Loved the characters in this book! It was a fun, quick read that I really enjoyed.
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Terrific novel.  Beautifully written.   Fabulous women protagonists.
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This was such an amazing book!  These characters were so amazing, These girls endured so much in fighting fir their country. Finding love and loss in the midst of a war was at times unbearable to read . The sacrifice that that experienced was heartbreaking: Highly recommend
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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 her 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.
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Inspirational and well written this book took me on a journey to 1941. Katya Ivanova was a young pilot reaching her dreams during a bleak time in history. She does her part to help her country and this book tells us of a part of history many may not know. I love learning about women reaching their goals and taking on roles they want no matter what is typical of the time. This woman is an inspiration as she becomes on of "Russia’s most decorated military heroines". Thanks for writing it.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this novel set in WWII Russia. Aspiring women pilots and navigators face an all-male dominated branch of the military. With dedication and skill they make themselves valuable against the German invaders, harrying them from the air with small, agile aircraft. Well written and researched. Highly recommended.
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