Read Daughters of the Night Sky by Aimie K. Runyan Online


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 oA 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....

Title : Daughters of the Night Sky
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781542045865
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 316 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Daughters of the Night Sky Reviews

  • Theresa Alan
    2019-05-12 02:23

    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:

  • Sonja Yoerg
    2019-05-21 04:15

    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.

  • boogenhagen
    2019-05-15 05:06

    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.

  • Erin
    2019-05-07 06:24

    Find this and other reviews at: https://flashlightcommentary.blogspot...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.

  • Aura
    2019-04-21 06:15

    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.

  • Tammy
    2019-05-03 07:22

    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!

  • RoseMary Achey
    2019-05-14 02:07

    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.

  • Linda Zagon
    2019-05-10 06:12

    MY REVIEW OF ‘DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY’ by Aimie K. RunyanKudos 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.

  • Jamie Raintree
    2019-05-22 08:08

    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.

  • Kerry
    2019-04-21 05:01

    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.

  • Jess
    2019-05-09 02:01

    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.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-17 03:20

    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.

  • Catherine McKenzie
    2019-05-03 01:56

    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.

  • Sue
    2019-04-25 02:20

    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.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-22 09:05

    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.

  • Kathryn
    2019-05-13 09:24

    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!

  • Tracey
    2019-05-17 09:56

    I had heard of Aimie Runyan through a readers group I belong to, but had never read any of her books although her first two have been on my radar for awhile. This book was a wonderful introduction to her as an author. I went into Daughters of the Night Sky not knowing anything about the female Russian pilots who bombed the Germans during WWII, but that did not keep me from understanding or enjoying this book. Runyan clearly did a lot of research on the subject and has managed to put us squarely in the middle of the war with her vivid descriptions. The writing is excellent, the characters are real and believable, and the story grabs you and brings you in close the entire time. Overall a very enjoyable read.I was provided an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Barbara White
    2019-04-28 09:22

    A breath-taking novel inspired by a little known moment in WW2 history. Even though I finished DAUGHTERS OF THE NIGHT SKY days ago, the scenes are still playing in my head. Katya is an outstanding heroine: a strong woman determined to follow her passion, but also driven by duty and love. And her fellow Night Witches are glorious characters. I miss them and the vivid scenes set within the planes, at the front, and in war-torn Eastern Europe. This is a story I won't soon forget.

  • Amy
    2019-05-16 09:58

    Daughters of the Night Sky is by far my favorite book written by Aimee K Runyan. She really showed her talent in this one. It was fascinating to learn about true events of the Soviet female pilots during the second world war. These women were so strong and admirable for their time. The author did great job envisioning what they went through and what they were like. I definitely give this book 5 plus stars and hope to read more like this one in the future.

  • Ella Olsen
    2019-05-11 04:06

    Oh, this book! I was lucky to get an early crack at this amazing work of historical fiction. It's full of romance, vivid description, gritty WWII details, and strong women. It's believable fiction but also a sweeping tale of heroism. I highly recommend!

  • Letty
    2019-04-28 04:59

    I loved this book. Historical fiction, especially about WWI & WWII, is my favorite genre to read because I end up learning a little something, and it was no exception with Daughters of the Night Sky. I knew nothing of what these brave female pilots did during WWII Russia. The sacrifices they made for their country was absolutely amazing. The writing by Aimie Runyan is so very well done. It had me so captivated from the very beginning that I was able to complete it in a couple of days. Lately that hasn't been something I've been able to do. I actually went and did some more reading online about the "Night Witches" as I was indeed fascinated by this piece of history. Thank you to Aimie Runyan for writing such a wonderful historical book! I liked it so much that after starting the ARC received from NetGalley, I ended up choosing it as my Amazon Kindle First selections. I highly recommend Daughters of the Night Sky.

  • Iset
    2019-05-14 02:21

    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.

  • Sharlene
    2019-04-27 05:02

    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.

  • Kayleigh
    2019-05-15 08:08

    Thank you, Aimie K. Runyan, for introducing me to another facet of history I knew nothing about. The Night Witches showed strength and bravery unthought of in women at the time. I'm definitely off to do further research.

  • Margaret
    2019-05-22 09:03

    I was first introduced to Aime K. Runyan with her Daughters of New France series, Canadian historical fiction set in the early years of Canada’s history. With Daughters of the Night Sky she has traveled well off the beaten track, venturing into Russia during the Second World War.Daughters of the Night Sky is inspired by the female pilots known as the Night Witches and told through the eyes of one brave woman. With so many novels about World War II taking place in various European countries this was a refreshing change to see inside the Soviet Union, under the command of Stalin.This was a learning experience for me as I did not know about these brave women who wanted to serve country while overcoming so many obstacles. The amount of research in this book is evident as the author portrayed a very vivid picture here, from the struggles these women endured to the desolate landscape and so much more.Daughters of the Night Sky is a story of strength and bravery, how these women had a desire to do their part in the war effort and the determination to reach their goals. They sacrificed so much knowing each flight could be their last. This book was a pleasure to read and one I recommend to those that love not just Russian, WW 2 history but those that crave something different.My sincere thanks to the author (via netgalley) for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
    2019-05-10 03:00

    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)4 December 2017(I received an e-ARC of this book through my book club.)

  • Brian
    2019-04-24 10:24

    The story of the Night Witches is one I was anxious to read about in historical fiction. It is a harrowing story that adds a fascinating perspective to the Second World War. I appreciate the efforts made by Aimie Runyan in learning about the various aspects of Russian culture, the War and the Night Witches in her attempt to make her book more believable. While I liked the book overall, it fell short of being great writing.Admittedly, so many of the heroine's experiences were superlative that it became difficult to tell which were historically accurate and which were designed to glorify women. For example, the superlative efficiencies in maintenance achieved by the female mechanics and ordinance crews were commendable, but did they really happen? Receiving new dresses from the army and no equipment or ration shortages whatever for the witches throughout the book were both difficult to believe. That all of the key heroines happened to speak passable French and German also seemed exaggerated. One language might have been more believable. It was also surprising that it was so easy to secure exit visas to leave the USSR.The army sexism was easier to believe, though I wonder how accurate it was. Given the objective of the author to promote awareness of women's issues, she would have an incentive to exaggerate the obstacles that the women overcame.Perhaps my most general criticism is that she made life in the Soviet Union sound much better than many historians generally portray it. For example, right after the war ended, the protagonist wandered through Moscow to find bread and was able to find a well-stocked bakery where she could buy large quantities of baked goods without any queue, shortages or rationing. This is hard to believe, even during better economic times in the Soviet Union, let alone right after the war. Most authors have a decided bias for or against communism and the Soviet Union, so it is hard to tell where the truth really lies.On a more basic level, the writing in the book was simplistic and overly explicit. Great writing allows the reader to make connections by not always providing every bit of detail. Runyan tended to provide too much detail, leaving little to the reader to infer. Perhaps the author is targeting an unsophisticated audience, though the inclusion of graphic sex scenes suggests that this is not intended for young adults.Despite the aforementioned criticisms, the book was enjoyable and passed the tear test. At the end of the book, Runyun provides her website ( where she suggests readers can find additional non-fiction sources. They apparently haven't been added yet.For readers seeking a pleasant, simple introduction to the Night Witches, the Daughters of the Night Sky is an appropriate place to start. The Sabaton song ( about the Night Witches is also recommended.

  • Elaine
    2019-05-13 03:01

    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 it needed to be throwing you into the setting. 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. 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. 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 fit herself into someone else's (a man's) life 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.

  • Ivy M
    2019-05-09 06:16

    I recieved this book from Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. In an effort to expand my reading I entered to win a copy of this book not knowing what I would be getting myself into. What I found was a book that grabbed my attention and kept it all the way through. I found a very powerful woman that from a young age was determined to be a pilot in an era when women were not normally accepted as pilots. This book is set in Russia during World War II. Katya at a young age decided she wanted to be a pilot and did everything she could to fulfill that dream. You hear about the hardships she went through after becoming a pilot and the joy of flying with her sisters in arms. The death of her sisters and the joys of the mission completed when men didn’t think they could do anything but raise the kids back home. I started this book and would probably would have finished it a whole lot sooner if it hadn’t been for having to go to work each day and bed each night. It grabbed me from the start and just would not let me go. It is very well written and made me feel like I was right there with Katya as she went through this part of her life

  • Robbie White
    2019-05-16 07:18

    WOW. I’ve read quite a bit about WW2 but I’d never heard of the Night Witches – female Russian pilots that wreaked havoc on the Germans. This historical fiction book cleverly introduces these nearly forgotten heroes and spotlights the obstacles and fear they faced with grit and determination.I received an advance review copy of this book from Great Thought’s Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.