finished reading

Finding out this historical novel is based on a real woman is mind-boggling!  What a remarkable story.  It was difficult to read the detailed descriptions of skirmishes but war is not easy to read about.  And World War II on the Russian front was exceptionally brutal on women and children.  

I liked Mila as a rounded-out character.  She was nerdy, independent, and honorable.  I liked that during all the chaos of war, there was still the humanity of relationship building and bonding.  I loved the relationships with Kostia, her second husband, and Alexei, her sniper partner.  Those characters and the intensity and complexity of the relationships were compelling.  

We'll have a lot to discuss at book group!  The audio is very well done.  And the Author's Note at the end was fascinating!

From the publisher:
In 1937 in the snowbound city of 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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