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Sandy P. (Gainesville, FL)
Overall, worth reading
A good story but a bit laborious to get to the more interesting part when she comes to the US to promote the Russian war effort. A bit implausible that Mrs. Roosevelt would 'take her under her wing' as she did and become so personal with her. I would have liked to see more development with the Manhattan Project. In the books' defense it moved at a good pace and kept enough questions unanswered that you had to read to the end. Very nice job tying up loose ends and completing the story. I'll definitely check out some of his other titles.
Jan M. (Jenks, OK)
This was my first Michael White novel, but it certainly will not be my last. He hooked me right from the start and held my attention through the end. I was originally drawn to this book because I had visited Russia and some of the places mentioned were familiar to me. It was obviously a well researched book. The story gave a look at the harsh life of the Russian people in an important time in Russian history. It also gave the reader an interesting look at the political climate during the Roosevelt presidency. White was able to create such vivid word pictures that one could almost feel the discomfort of the character about whom he was writing. His ability to gradually reveal the story made this a real page turner. I just couldn't put it down until I found out how he handled Eleanor Roosevelt's involvement with the assassin. I thought he did a wonderful job of revealing the human side of seemingly ruthless soldiers during times of war. I really did not want this book to end, I wanted to hear, "the rest of the story." That makes this book one I would definitely recommend to my reading friends.
Arden Allen (Homosassa, FL)
I was first introduced to Michael White's talent when I read “A Brother's Blood.” I have since read several of his subsequent novels, and always enjoyed and admired the detail, as well as the link to history each novel contains, and his ability to create the story vividly in a particular historical period, remaining true to that era. This book falls short. It tells the story of a young Russian woman who gains fame as a sniper during World War II, and who the Russian higher-ups send to the United States as an emissary (carefully monitored in the inimitable Russian fashion) in order to try to get Roosevelt to hasten his involvement on behalf of the Russians. The relationship that develops between her and the first lady belies believability. While it was an entertaining novel, it was a bit far-fetched. It might make a good movie, though, since movie audiences tend to be less discerning than readers, and don't necessarily care whether or not a story is plausible, as long as the movie is entertaining. As a reader, though, I prefer to read a book that is not only entertaining, but also creditable. I'm a little disappointed, since my expectations were higher.
Mary Ann B. (Louisville, KY)
This book started a little slow , but after a few chapters, the gripping story of war and how it can change and shape us began to unfold. Stories of war are interesting to me, because such catastrophic events can change the way we see ourselves, creating opportunities (sometimes good, sometimes bad) to become a different person. This book takes us on a journey to discover who Taty'ana was and what she becomes.
Anne G. (Austin, TX)
Clear your calendar when Beautiful Assassin arrives because you won’t want to stop reading until you find out the whole story of beautiful Tat’yana Levchenko the Red Army sniper with 300 kills to her credit. The early scenes of Tat’yana stalking a German soldier are hold-your-breath intense and then the story gets really interesting when she visits the USA and is invited to join a youth tour with Mrs Roosevelt where Tat’yana becomes the spokeswoman for the Soviet cause. I enjoyed the interplay of fact with fiction and found fascinating the insiders look at the secrets and techniques of WWII espionage. Of course when you have a beautiful woman there’s always some romance involved and the handsome Captain Taylor adds an interesting dimension. This is a great book for anyone who likes their war story combined with a bit of romance.
Valerie C. (Chico, CA)
An okay read
This novel about a woman soldier's life during WWII is a fairly entertaining read. Until you near the end it is slow moving, not riveting, and I feel the characters could have been developed more. If you are interested in a historical novel around this period and like strong female leads, this book may appeal to you.
Marganna K. (Edmonds, WA)
Simple & Predictable
What spy would let a reporter drop in on her in her old age and readily tell her story of being a deadly sniper, a spy and a defector to this complete stranger? That's what I'm asked to believe in the first pages of Tat'yana's story. OK, I said, I'll go along with this but let's hope the story line improves. It did not - I was disappointed in the characters, the plot, the historical aspect of the story and the writing style. I did read it and was so happy to put it down. I thought the 1st part of Tat'yana's story as a sniper was the best part - it held promise but as she became a hero and then a spy in America, the story lost its punch. After that fairly strong start, it did not hold intrigue, suspense, thrills, depth, emotional strings, historical insight for me. I would not recommend this book to friends, didn't care about the characters, wouldn't replace it if lost during reading and wouldn't read another book by author - my 4 points required to rate as a "good book". MK
Mary D. (Claremont, CA)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! There were plenty of dark parts; a book about war and soldiers cannot help but have many dark and sad spots. But this was particularly interesting because it is written from the point of view of a former Soviet female sniper, a point of view unfamiliar to us Americans. The character of Tat'yana is very strong, honest and she firmly believes in the fight for her country. This makes her disillusionment all the more intense and sad, when she realizes that she is being put "on show" in America and is also expected to spy, for the Soviets, on Eleanor Roosevelt to obtain blackmail material. Her choices are hard and she is quite torn in making them. The book is hard to put down, the characters are well-defined, or hidden in the shadows if called for by their position in life.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in another side of World War II and the development of the USA vs. USSR Cold War in its early stages.