Book Review

Book Review: The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 435 pages
Author: Kate Quinn
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: March 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


The New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code returns with an unforgettable World War II tale of a quiet bookworm who becomes history’s deadliest female sniper. Based on a true story.

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.


Uh, why have I been apparently sleeping on Kate Quinn books?

This was incredible (also, audio is 1,000x the way to go here). I am hit/miss with historical fictions, I usually find the most enjoyment [reading wise] when they’re on a more unique focus and I found that here. A female Russian sniper with 300+ confirmed kills? TELL ME MORE.

What an stunning story. I was captivated from the get-go. It draws you in and every angle of this plot keeps things moving, keeps you guessing, keeps you wondering how in the world it’s going to end. I know some fictional liberties were taken, but they fit perfectly in with this novel. I love that Mila broke down barriers, and was stronger than I can ever imagine being. Her love for her son, and her country was palpable.

Many times my heart felt pulled right out of my chest. The middle of this book HURTS. The intricacies and pits of war are laid out in full view. I loved the complex nature of this dealings and seeing some of the war side in the United States with the Roosevelt’s. Even more so that the focus was on Eleanor and what part she played in Mila’s life (and vice versa). How a bonded female friendship was born from across two different nations.

This book was just something else. This experience was wholly encompassing and never let up. I LOVED it and will now be adding some Quinn backlist to my TBR.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: teenage pregnancy and marriage, war themes, gun violence, colonialism, antisemitism, racism, sexism, slut-shaming, attempted murder

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