If you love #WW2 and #strongwomen this is the book for you!
About Daughters of the Night Sky
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.
What Aimie had to say about her reluctant narrator
“I won’t deny it: writing Daughters of the Night Sky was not easy. I’d spent the first years of my writing career happily ensconced in 17th century France and Canada, and had never dreamed of writing a book that took place in the cockpit of a rickety plane on the western edge of the USSR during WWII. Not only was the topic not in my wheelhouse, my main character was exceedingly uncooperative.
My Katya grew up wanting to fly in a country where Stalin’s directives about the emancipation of women and the philosophies of the wizened old flight instructors did not always mesh well. In order to succeed, she had to do it better, cleaner, and faster than the men. And boy howdy, did she ever.
The result was that she grew to be a tight lipped Russian officer with no patience for idle chatter and unnecessary relationships. Especially with the pesky woman writing her into existence. I mean, seriously, she had Nazis to kill, and that’s way more important than sitting over a cup of Russian Caravan tea with raspberry jam and shooting the breeze with some silly American writer.
I tend to be more outgoing and effusive than Katya, and I’ve not faced the same walls of sexism that barred her from her goals. It took a lot of persuasion to get her to talk—writing letters to her from her family, her comrades, and even me. I did more free writing for this project than I have in my entire life, and it really was the key to opening the inner workings of Katya’s heart.
Thankfully I was able to persuade her to loosen up and let me in. She had an important story to tell, and I’m honored she let me tell it.”
What people are saying
“Without a doubt, Daughters of the Night Sky is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Captivating, emotional, insightful, and heart-wrenching, it is a story I will truly never forget. Knowing how accurate the historical details are makes this beautifully written novel even more exceptional. The characters leap off the page and will stay with you long after the final page is read.” —Soraya M. Lane, #1 bestselling author of Wives of War
“Fans of The Nightingale will be transfixed by this thrillingly original portrait of wartime valor.” —Jennifer Robson, author of Somewhere in France and Goodnight from London
“Daughters of the Night Sky was everything I love about historical fiction. Runyan crafts the perfect balance between plot, characters, and setting, all while educating the reader in an unknown part of women’s history. At once compelling, tragic, and uplifting, this is one that I will not soon forget.” —Camille Di Maio, author of The Memory of Us and Before the Rain Falls
“Aimie K. Runyan breathes life into the gripping tale of the Night Witches—Russian female combat pilots in World War II. A page-turner!” —James D. Shipman, author of A Bitter Rain and It Is Well
“Aimie K. Runyan has combined my three favorite literary topics: historical fiction, World War II, and courageous and strong women. She is an incredible historical fiction writer.” —Cathy Lamb, author of No Place I’d Rather Be
“A lively and stirring tale of the brave vanguard of female pilots fighting for Russia and, as often, for respect from their male counterparts. 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. Runyan delivers a well-paved and heartfelt story that fans of World War II novels should not miss.” —Sonja Yoerg, author of All the Best People
“Daughters of the Night Sky is a compelling World War II story of bravery, determination, and love set within the Forty-Sixth Taman Guards—Russia’s all-female pilot regiment. Author Aimie K. Runyan brings four unique women vividly to life: Katya, a superb navigator; Taisiya, her pilot and best friend; Oksana, who risks all for love of her country; and Sofia, the major who leads the women to triumph. Highly recommended.” —M.K. Tod, author of Time and Regret
“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.” —Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of Everything We Keep
“A breathtaking novel inspired by a little known moment in WWII 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.” —Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son
Aimie K. Runyan is an author of historical fiction that highlights previously uncelebrated contributions of women at key moments in history.