Blog Tour – April 2022 – The Diamond Eye – Kate Quinn

What a beautiful cover! But what about the contents…?

To be honest, they’re pretty phenomenal.too.- they’re based on the memoir of Lyudmila “Mila” Pavilchenko, a Ukrainian Russian woman who was a sniper in WWII in Stalin’s Red Army with over 300 kills of Germans to her credit. Now, probably at the moment most Ukrainians want to forget they were ever part of the Soviet Union, but, current events notwithstanding, Mila’s story is certainly one of the most compelling I’ve read for quite some time.

So what’s her background?

She’s a student with a passion of history, as well as being mother to young Slavka, as well as the wife of an arrogant and ambitious surgeon called Alexei. His only interest is in his career and it’s no surprise when Mila decides to divorce him, but he does his best to stop that from happening.

Mila received advanced training as a sniper from Captain Sergienko and managed to enlist – and soon proves herself a valuable asset to the Red Army.

And there’s a well-known American who also features in the book, correct?

Yes – the thoughts of Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of American President Franklin D Roosevelt, and of course her thoughts give us the view of the US leader, given that she has his eyes and ears, as it were. It’s a good way to appeal to American readers and give more of a “worldwide” view of WWII.

The book opens with Mila in Washington as part of a Russian delegation. They’re looking for more help from the US; specifically, arms as well as other equipment. The US representatives are somewhat gobsmacked at the idea of a female sniper – to them, women don’t belong on the front line. But she finds an unlikely ally in the President’s wife, who, as an intelligent woman herself, is used to having her opinions dismissed, so can relate to Mila’s experience.

It is quite a lengthy read, isn’t it? But you didn’t lose interest, did you?

It’s a chunky book, coming in at around 450 pages, and there’s a fair bit of details regarding guns, weaponry, and technical details like that, which some readers may find the least interesting part of the book. We learn about Mila being allowed to command her own platoon after rising up through the ranks, and being supported by her silent Siberian sidekick Kostia, upon whom she relies to cover her back. Yes, it’s long, but if you enjoy historical fiction based on fact, it’s something you will both enjoy, and be educated by.

It’s a truly exhilarating read, to sum it up!

A must-read for fans of historical fiction!

With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on this tour, and HarperCollins for the ARC. This is an unbiased review.

Author Kate Quinn

Check out previous stops on the Blog Tour!

BLURB: In 1937 in the snowbound city of Kiev (now known as Kyiv), wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son–but Hitler’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious girl to deadly sniper–a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.

Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC–until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness. But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons and enemy bullets in the deadliest duel of her life.

Based on a true story, The Diamond Eye is a haunting novel of heroism born of desperation, of a mother who became a soldier, of a woman who found her place in the world and changed the course of history forever.

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