The Rose Code: Unordinary WWII Novel ABOUT Extraordinary Women

People suspect women of hanky-panky. But they never suspect women of espionage. No one thinks women can keep secrets.

The Rose CodeKate Quinn

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In Summary of The Rose Code

“1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer…” (Goodreads)

Warning: sexual assault, death (including of children), war scenes, grief

PositivesNegatives
Character development is strong for each womanSlow in parts; very long book
Engaging writing styleUnfamiliar with British jargon (that’s my own fault)
Accurate historical accounts/timeline meshes the real with the fictional

If he doesn’t love me in a boiler suit, he’s not worth dressing up for in the first place.

The Review

A historical fiction novel about some sassy, bad-ass women whose brains helped Great Britain win WWII, all with a side of romance and witty banter?

Sign. Me. Up.

Please, I’m begging you… Do NOT let the page count stop you from picking up this book. Will it maybe take some time to read? Perhaps. Will you regret reading it? Certainly not.

I will admit that I was uncertain about this book not just for the page count, but also for the topic. World War II fiction is almost a whole genre in itself since there are so many books in this category, and I felt like that interest had run its course for me.

And then… *enters The Rose Code*

Two things gave this book a *WOW* factor for me.

  1. Character Development – Kate Quinn does not skimp on building these ladies. Mab, Osla, and Beth are dynamic in their own ways, and they truly demonstrate the challenges of friendship and the need for women’s solidarity. We receive thorough back-stories for each of them, which helps us prepare for their futures.
  2. Writing Style – While detailed, The Rose Code is not a challenging read in a way that makes it unenjoyable (if you are not someone that enjoys reading about how machines work, though, you may want to skim the parts about the decoding machines they use… I know I did…). With the vivid descriptions and ease of dialogue and banter, I felt like I was watching a WWII movie.

The romance (especially with Prince Philip!) is certainly a treat, as well, for all of you Royal Family fanatics out there! 😉

In conclusion, this is my first Kate Quinn novel (I know, I know – I’ve been living under a rock), but it definitely won’t be my last. If you choose to read this book, let me know; I’d love to chat about it with you!

Betty Book Information

  • Published: 2021
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN:  978-0063059412
  • Format: Paperback
  • Length: 624 pages

Learn About & Support the Author – Kate Quinn

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