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  • Writer's pictureKirsten

REVIEW: The Diamond Eye

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Kate Quinn’s newest historical fiction novel, The Diamond Eye, could not be more poignant for today’s world stage. Set in World War II as Hitler invades Russia, the protagonist Mila joins the Red Army to defend her homeland. From an excellent student and mother, to a deadly sniper known as Lady Death, Mila’s dedication to who she is in spite of the circumstances is inspiring.

A hand holds THE DIAMOND EYE in front of several trees.

Friends and historical fiction lovers, this book is for you! The Diamond Eye restored my faith in Kate Quinn. It reminded me so much of The Huntress (my favorite of her novels!). Not only was the research impeccable, but I found it to be engaging, insightful, interesting, well written, and un-put-down-able. If you've been on the fence about this book, I'd definitely recommend picking it up!

One of my favorite aspects of this novel was learning about someone I had never heard of before. In a recent interview with Book Friends Book Club I had the privilege of sitting in on, Kate shared how much detail she was able to glean from Mila's own memoirs. She was able to share a lot of scenes and relationships that are based strongly in historic facts. I loved how Kate Quinn utilized fiction to tell a portion of Mila's story - a story that deserves to be shared.

Mila Pavlichenko was formidable and defied the stereotypes of other snipers in her time (and probably still today!). She was first a student, historian, and librarian - not exactly what you think of for a sniper who killed over 300 people. While the Red Army trained her, she became the best because of her desire to protect her son's life as well as her paradigm "don't miss". This focus was challenged by none other than Eleanor Roosevelt while Mila was on her American goodwill tour in 1942, and I think it made Mila a stronger person.

As like many other historical fiction novels, author Kate Quinn utilizes multiple points of view as well as mini chapter introductions. I personally feel like she did an incredible job capturing the shift in views as well as Mila's own growth in these snippets. As I was reading, I found myself looking forward to reading the chapter intros which provided some amount of foreshadowing into what was to come.

DIAMOND EYE was so interesting and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about untold stories from World War II. This is one you don't want to miss!

4/5 Stars

Content Warnings: death, rape, war stories


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