Book Review: The Diamond Eye, by Kate Quinn
About the Book:
The story of real-life sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko: her time as the sniper known as Lady Death, as well as her tour of the United States.
Queen of Historical Fiction
When Kate Quinn releases a book, I don’t hesitate. I think I’ve read every book she’s written and if told I’d have to read them all a second time, I’d just nod and say, “where do I start?”.
With The Diamond Eye, Quinn’s knack for bringing history alive is clear. Pavlichenko was a real woman who wrote about her time on the eastern front in her own memoirs. Not once did I think that Quinn exploited the story for her own literary gain as everything in these pages were believable, even the events that Quinn admitted adding some guesses to, to fill the gaps.
Real Woman, Real Emotions
What we see is a woman torn between family and duty – although family is another sort of duty. A woman who desperately wants a better future for her young son. A woman who turns in her student hat and puts on her soldier hat. A woman who is being tormented and gaslit by her husband. What we see is a woman who didn’t have power at the beginning of the book learn about her power – in many aspects, and nurtures it.
Her power is not just as an extremely successful sharpshooter. She holds her own against the officers who just see her as a sexual object and nothing more. She commands the respect of the men who serve with her and under her. She is not a woman playacting as a man. She is a woman and she is an integral part to stopping the Hitlerites from invading her country.
The thing I love about Kate Quinn’s heroines is that she doesn’t have to make men a parody of themselves in order to amplify her women, and she doesn’t write women as always being beyond reproach. There are nuances and layers into every single one of her characters. They are better together, but if they were by themselves, they’d be whole people as well.
You should read this book if you like:
- WWII Fiction (especially from the Eastern front)
- Stories about real life people
- Strong women
- Eleanor Roosevelt (she doesn’t have a huge part, but she’s in it, nonetheless)