Between The Wines Book Club
Our reads

The Diamond eye

by Kate Quinn – Historical Fiction – 443 Pages

Our rating:

Setting: Soviet Union, Russia

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.

About the author

Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with “The Alice Network”, “The Huntress,” “The Rose Code,” and “The Diamond Eye.” All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with three rescue dogs.

Other books from Kate:

A beautiful blue-blooded debutante, a tart-tongued London shop-girl, and a shy crossword-solving spinster join the war against Nazi Germany as codebreakers of Bletchley Park, only to find that the real puzzle lies inside the Park itself as a traitor sets them against each other in a betrayal reaching past the end of the war.

A breathtaking epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six unforgettable women whose paths cross during one of the most tumultuous and transformative events in history: the French Revolution.

A fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

Two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

  • A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii – Book 1

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . . and these are their stories

  • A Year of Ravens: A Novel of Boudica – Book 2

Britannia: land of mist and magic clinging to the western edge of the Roman Empire. A red-haired queen named Boudica led her people in a desperate rebellion against the might of Rome, an epic struggle destined to consume heroes and cowards, young and old, Roman and Celt . . . and these are their stories.

  • A Song of War: A Novel of Troy – Book 3

Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

  • Lady of the Eternal City

Fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

  • The Three Fates

Beloved Emperor Trajan is dead. His brutal successor Hadrian draws ever nearer to Rome. And three desperate souls try to forge new paths in a world turned upside down . . .

  • Empress of Seven Hills

Powerful, prosperous, and expanding ever farther into the untamed world, the Roman Empire has reached its zenith under the rule of the beloved Emperor Trajan. But neither Trajan nor his reign can last forever…

  • Mistress of Rome

Thea is a slave girl from Judaea, purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia. Now she has infuriated her mistress by capturing the attention of Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator—and though his love brings Thea the first happiness of her life, their affair ends quickly when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.

About the main character – LYUDMILA PAVLICHENKO ‘LADY DEATH’


Born in present-day Ukraine in 1916, Lyudmila Pavlichenko fought for the Red Army during WW2 and became the deadliest female sniper in history. Known as ‘Lady Death’, her name struck fear into the hearts of German soldiers. Her reputation on the frontline was warranted with 309 confirmed kills to her name, racked up in just a matter of months – a number placing her amongst the greatest snipers of all time.

Justice Robert Jackson, Lyudmila Pavlichenko and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1942. Library of Congress

Russian delegates accompany Pavlichenko (right) on her visit to Washington, D.C. in 1942. Library of Congress.

Buy the book here: The diamond eye

Book Club discussion questions:

  1. What is your opinion on Mila’s capacity to focus on a snipper mission and put a side her relationships, her son and family?
  2. Do you think she enjoys being a snipper, why?
  3. Team Kostia or Team Lyonya?
  4. Does bring more to the story ready about “My memoir my official version, versus My memoir the unofficial version?
  5. In society today, do you think women are still discriminate in certain job roles?
  6. Did you find adequate what Mila said to Eleanour Rossevelt at the first breakfast, “Do you look into the eyes of the people you kill”
  7. What are your thoughts on her husband Alexei?
  8. What are your thoughts on the relationship of Mila and her father?

TRIVIA Questions:

  • What is the name of the ballet dancer who drives tanks in the novel?
  • In what year does Eleanour R. goes to Russia?
  • The gift Mila receives in Chicago, what was it?
  • Who is the love of her life?
  • Who dedicated a song to Miss Pavlichenko?
  • What Slavka study after the war?
  • What did she dedicate her life on after the war?
  • What were the teachings of the old Vracka?
  • How does Alexei used to call her?

Visit Kate’s website:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *