The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

TitleThe Rose Code
AuthorKate Quinn
TypeHistorical Fiction
Finished ReadingFebruary 9, 2022

This historical fiction novel explores the lives of 3 young British women, Osla, Mab, and Beth, from 1939 to 1947 as they work in the war effort at Bletchley Park in England. Osla is a well-heeled woman who had been presented at court (i.e. met the Royals); Mab is from working class London reading from a list of books and working on her dialect in order to marry up; Beth is the quiet, abused woman whose parents rent rooms to Osla and Mab.

Themes of family and the place of women are weaved in a compelling story of the efforts to decrypt messages sent through the German Enigma machines.  Although the women are treated well by the norms of the day, it is clear women have a tougher time to become accepted and listened to. None of the women come from a happy home so form their own family in order to cope with their high pressure jobs where secrecy is the order of the day. Their friendships encounter serious obstacles that stretch into the postwar era when they are brought together again.

 Osla is based on a real woman who dated Prince Phillip and worked at Bletchley Park. Beth’s character is an amalgamation of 2 women who were excellent decryption analysts. And Mab is a blend of the working class women who did so much to help the Allies win the war. Today Bletchley Park is a monument to commemorate the code breaking efforts that shortened World War II by years and may have even helped save the world from Fascism. 

I found the novel to be a real page turner I stayed up late into the night to finish the last 200 pages of this long book. It brings to life the tension of living through the Blitzkrieg  of England in the early part of the war. If you are looking for a fast-paced engrossing novel, pick it up. The novel is an Amazon Editor’s Pick and has a 4.5 rating with over 20,000 reviews.

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