Wendy R. (Riverside, CA)
I have read quite a few books set during or around the Second World War, but never one quite like this, written from the perspective of a female Soviet sniper. It was what first drew me to it and especially intrigued me as I read. Tat'yana is a strong and complex character. I devoured every page of this novel anxious to see where her story would take me. Author Michael White captured the tensions and hardships of war, in particularly for the women who fought alongside the men, as well as the politics being played by the various sides, including the power struggle between the Allied Forces. Tat'yana was a pawn in a game and my heart ached for her. I will definitely be seeking out other books by this author.
Jeff M. (Morris Plains, NJ)
Beautiful Assassin -- Recommended
Really enjoyed the book “Beautiful Assassin”. Story keeps reader’s interest with a good blend of World War II history and great character development, especially the heroine, Tat’yana. You feel for her losses and her disdain for Soviet politics. The historical element is well researched (e.g., descriptions of NYC and Washington during the early part of the war compared to the horrors in Sevastopol) and coupled with real characters (the Roosevelts, Stalin, etc.) adds to the success of the story. Title may give a mixed reaction to some, but if they decide to get into the book, they will be rewarded. Recommended.
Marsha S. (Nags Head, NC)
Beautiful Assassin is a fascinating tale that takes the reader on a journey from war-torn Europe to the United States before America had entered the fight in World War II. I really enjoyed the way it combines historical fact with fiction, and combines real-life characters with those in the story. Anyone who grew up in the 50's and 60's will find the accounts of espionage between the Soviet Union and the U.S. to be very believable and frightening. I was a bit troubled at the beginning of the book believing that the journalist researching Tat'yana's life would get her to talk so easily. But after reading the whole account, and reflecting what it must have been like to live most of one's adult life looking over the shoulder for fear of being found, I could see why she was able to do so. The book made me want to read more from this author.
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.
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.
Eileen L. (Danvers, MA)
A great read with a compelling story to tell
This is not the type of book I generally pick up but I am so glad I did! From the first page this book drew me in. The protagonist is fascinating, the history interesting, and the story a great blend of intrigue, romance, and surprises. The author brings to life a fascinating period in our history and weaves a realistic, fully developed character into it. This story was over way too soon!! We are fortunate that Michael White has other work out there to read!
Doris K. (Angora, MN)
I am an avid reader of historical fiction and this book is historical fiction at its best . The author did a great job of making the characters believable. Written from the view of a loyal Russian female soldier, it gives insight into her motivations for her loyalty to her country.
The descriptions of the war between Russia and Germany and the part Tat'yana Levchenko contributed to the war were brilliantly written.
This would be a good choice for a book club as there would be many areas to discuss. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction should read this book.