Lyudmila “Mila” Pavlichenko, estranged from her husband Alexei, was a history student working as a library researcher while supporting her young son. She decides to enlist in the Red Army when the Germans invade the Soviet Union. Mila demonstrates her advanced shooting skills and quickly establishes herself as a highly effective sniper. As Mila’s kills escalate, she is nicknamed “Lady Death.” The story alternates between 1941, as Mila and her comrades face danger and death on the battlefields and 1942, when Mila and a Soviet delegation is sent to Washington D.C. to gain military support from President Roosevelt and to generate goodwill with the American people. Mila develops a friendship with First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. During this U.S. visit, another sniper is lurking in the background and the target is FDR. This is a story of a talented, smart and courageous woman which is even more interesting knowing that Mila is a true-to-life historical figure. Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network and The Rose Code, has done a fine job in this fictionalization of the real-life Paylichenko. The Diamond Eye details the challenges of being a woman in combat and the on-going dangers she faced. I enjoyed the way Mila managed her relationships with her fellow soldiers and the men who loved her. Since I knew absolutely nothing about Mila before reading this book, I’m glad I didn’t do my normal Googling for more information while reading, as it might have provided some spoilers. But make sure to read the Author’s Note at the end.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: March 29, 2022.
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