The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
I love a good historical fiction novel, especially set in World War II but as much as I have read on this time period, I have never experienced it quite like this. The Diamond Eye is based on a true story & focuses on the Soviet Army. This is long before the US enters the war and it shows us present-day Ukraine & Russia before the war begins. I feel like I have never been so close to the Soviet experience as they are typically depicted as cold, ruthless bad guys. Even though we were in an alliance with them. This was such an eye-opening, amazing story!
Our protagonist is Mila Pavlichenko, a mother/ scholar turned soldier, turned one of the most dangerous snipers in history, Lady Death. Part of the story focuses on her tour of the US as the Soviets were seeking aide in a second front. Enter Eleanor Roosevelt who we see throughout the novel as she & Mila form a kind of friendship.
I love Quinn’s female protagonists who seem almost like super heroes. This is a total tale of women doing amazing things and changing the course of history!
It’s crazy to think of the amount of research that must have gone into this one to really transport us to the harsh 1940s Soviet struggle against Nazi Germany as they invaded. It was heartbreaking and terrifying. It really struck a cord as we are seeing what’s happening to Ukraine in present day, as well.
Beautifully crafted as with all of Kate Quinn’s work. I clearly can’t recommend this one enough! Oh and the audio version was brilliant!
In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead
Six friends. One college reunion. One unsolved murder.
I have always been a fan of academic thrillers since the days of The Secret History by Donna Tartt, one of my favorites!
This one easily joined my favorites list with a memorable cast of characters, the East House 7- Jess, Mint, Heather, Caro, Coop, Frankie & Jack. I haven’t felt this way about a thriller in a long time and I think it’s the nostalgia factor for me. I was transported back to my college days and the emotional roller coaster—every decision feeling so important to your future. Thankfully, I didn’t have a murder within my friend group to deal with though.
This story travels back and forth in time from present day at the Homecoming Celebration, years after college/the murder and their college days meeting each other and forming such a strong bond to eventually the night of the murder. It’s intense and twisty with short sections that leave you wanting more!
I don’t think I have suspected so many characters in a story might be capable of murder, but each of them had a redeeming factor that made it hard not to love them! Plus, I could not figure it out. The ending was shocking!
All the stars and Ashley Winstead just joined my auto-buy author list! Can’t wait to read more of her work.
My name is Kylie Sebert. I'm a native of Spirit Lake and just recently moved back to West Des Moines! I have Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, with an emphasis in fiction. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook as @litwithkyiejo. As with most writers, one of my passions is discovering and reading great books. I hope my reviews will spark an excitement for literature in people around the Great Lakes area!