Book Review: The Rose Code
In the middle of DNOW this weekend, a few of us snuck away for book club! Before we get started, let me confess. I forgot it was book club weekend. I finished the book on Thursday knowing we had book club on Saturday night. Yet somehow in the frenzy of hosting and carting around 14 middle school girls, I forgot about eating dinner with my book club and I left my book at home. I did remember in time to make it to the restaurant and enjoyed discussing the book with my fellow readers. Now on to my review which is why you came.
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The book has a few "spicy" scenes in it. While many of the characters hold on to their modesty, others are more free-wheeling in that department. The scenes aren't the total focus of the book. They are relatively few compared to some other popular fiction and are scattered throughout the novel. Just know, if this bothers you, you might reconsider. The book also romanticizes WWII a good bit. What we know is the war wasn't pretty or romantic and many, many men did not make it home alive.
First, I'm pretty selective in what I read. Having read and studied fiction for many years, I can't force myself through something that isn't written well. Just know that any book I give more than three stars must be well-written. It goes without saying. I love a novel that leaves with the butterflies in my stomach I experience when riding a rollercoaster. This one did that. We know from the beginning that something happened to destroy the friendships between Mab, Osla, and Beth. Watching that moment happen and knowing nothing will ever be the same for those three again is both heartbreaking and exhilarating. While I guessed ahead at some of the "surprises" in the novel, they were nonetheless well placed.
I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction. I have read an earlier novel by Kate Quinn (also set in WWI and shortly after) and loved it. When my book club suggested this one, I was all in.
Mab, Osla, and Beth, three women in their early to mid-twenties, find themselves tossed together by happenstance. The friendship that develops between three women with completely different backgrounds and personalities exemplifies the beauty of unexpected friendships. They're both living life to the fullest and struggling to work all manner of hours to save England during WWII.
Women of this time were not valued for their brains, as Osla will testify, yet these three women held a huge role in decoding German intelligence and saving hundreds if not thousands of lives. And they did it all while courting romance in unexpected places. I loved seeing the entrance of real-life people like Prince Philip who was at one time Osla's boyfriend.
Don't forget to read the author's note at the end of the book. Kate Quinn delved deep into research of Bletchley Park. Most of the characters are based on real people and read scenarios.