If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I love historical fiction, particularly World War II fiction. And if you’re new around here, you’ve found your new book bestie if you enjoy escaping into the past in a good book. When it comes to the best historical fiction authors, Kate Quinn is high on my list. I can always count on her books to capture my attention and draw me into a heart-pounding adventure with a strong female lead. Here is my ultimate Kate Quinn book ranking of her World War II novels in order of my preference!
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The Huntress: Her Best Work
- hard to love MC
- killer vs killer
- coming-of-age story
- LGBTQ representation
Jordan’s father, a long-time widower, finally remarries a wonderful woman who’s clearly too good to be true. Although she should be happy for her dad, but it’s hard to miss the obvious signs. Call it a hunch, but Jordan’s determined to prove her new stepmother is a Nazi sympathizer. Meanwhile, Ian, a former war journalist-turned-Nazi hunter, is hot on the trail of a notorious female Nazi known as “The Huntress”. To catch his mark, Ian needs one of the deadliest weapons known to man: a woman who’s lost everything. Once part of Russia’s notorious group of female fighter pilots, “The Night Witches”, Nina is willing to do anything to finish what she started long ago when she came face to face with the woman Ian’s hunting. It just so happens Nina’s out for her blood, too.
OMG, this book is everything! Of all the Kate Quinn WWII fiction I loved The Huntress the most, making it my #1 Kate Quinn book. It also appears on my list of the top historical fiction novels of all time. Fast-paced and action-packed, I simply couldn’t put this novel down! The drama, along with the multiple timelines and main characters, is captivating. It’s impossible to not fall for Nina, the type of character who can capture your heart and hold on tight until the bitter end. Truly, I loved this character SO much; she’s my all-time favorite Kate Quinn MC. I’d never heard of The Night Witches (a real WWII all-female fighter pilot crew), so learning more about them was one of the highlights of the book. If you love a STRONG AF female protagonist who takes no prisoners, then DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK.
The Alice Network: A Close Second
- slightly spice
- grief/loss themes
- sympathetic MC
- found family
Charlie St Clair is on the run! She’s got to get away from her overbearing mother for more reasons than one. She’s got a little secret, but first, she’s got a mystery to solve. See, Charlie’s determined to find her long-lost cousin, Rose, who was last seen in a countryside French town during the height of the Nazi Occupation. Charlie’s desperate enough to enlist the aid of Eve, an unpredictable older woman with scars and secrets of her own.
The Alice Network is fast-paced for Quinn, which means it’s a definite page-turner. The world-building is well executed for both timelines, and I easily felt connected to both main characters. The chapters are short, which works really well for the dual timeline, and dual point-of-view structure. Quinn has a knack for descriptive text without being overly flowery, which I enjoy. This book definitely deserves to be on your TBR. I highly suggest starting with this book if you’ve never read any of Quinn’s WWII fiction. Read my full review of The Alice Network for more details!
The Rose Code: The Fan Favorite
- glitz, glamour
- powerful female friendships
- homefront service story
- bookish MC
Olsa’s determined to shake the stereotype of silly deb. For as long as she can remember, she’s always been labeled as a society girl, but she knows she’s got more to offer the world. So, when the opportunity to join the war effort as a translator, she eagerly signs up. En route to Bletchley Park to start her new life, Olsa meets Mab, an East-End girl desperate to crawl her way out of poverty. Not long after arriving, they meet bright but shy Beth, who soon joins the two at Bletchley Park cracking codes. For a while, the three are thick as thieves, but the pressures of secrecy can erode even the closest of friendships. Years later, the estranged friends must come together again to clear Beth’s name and uncover the traitor in the midst. Will they be able to put their differences aside in support of their beloved Bletchley Park?
No Kate Quinn book ranking would be complete without The Rose Code, a favorite of many readers. Anyone who enjoys stories of female homefront efforts during World War II needs to read this book, but they should know it’s a bit slow. Based loosely on the true stories of female code breakers, The Rose Code envelops the reader in the secret world of British intelligence. Quinn’s world-building and character development shine in The Rose Code. But the plot and pacing suffer in this book more than in her World War II novels. Not much happens in this book until the last quarter of the book. Fans looking for a fast-paced read might be disappointed. That’s not to say this book isn’t good. In fact, it’s excellent, but I believe The Alice Network and The Huntress are better options for those who prefer action over storytelling.
The Diamond Eye: Good but Not Great
- most recent novel
- battle scenes
- frontline romance
- feminist themes
Mila is one of the most dangerous women in the world, not because she can shoot a gun, but because she was given a chance to use one. Russia’s progressive views of women’s role in the war meant that women like Mila could take up arms to defend The Motherland from Nazi occupation. And she’ll do anything to protect the land, the culture, and the people she loves. The moment she makes her first kill Lady Death is born. Suddenly she’s taken from the front line and thrust onstage to promote the US/Russian relationship. On center stage, she’s finally able to shed the skin of her former life. But can she escape the call of the cold steel barrel she knows so well?
Fiction meets real life in Quinn’s latest WWII novel, The Diamond Eye. Based on the true story of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, The Diamond Eye is one of Quinn’s most tactical novels. I thoroughly enjoyed the battle scenes, but I could see why some might not enjoy the hyper-realistic portrayal of war that Quinn manages to capture. Her writing left me feeling absolutely immersed in the fight right alongside Mila, which means I found this book un-put-downable. The ending is my least favorite of Quinn’s novels; it’s highly dramatic but a little too far-fetched for my liking. It’s still a really great book that I highly recommend reading if you enjoy detailed accounts of a woman’s life behind the front line.
Final Thoughts on My Kate Quinn Book Ranking
Kate Quinn is one of the best historical fiction authors for a reason. Her work is superb! Any historical fiction lover who hasn’t read her books will be delighted to read any of her World War II fiction. Although I have a clear favorite, everyone experiences books differently. I’ve not ranked any of her books lower than four stars. That means I highly recommend every single one of these books. I hope this Kate Quinn book ranking helps you find and fall in love with your next historical fiction novel!
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