{Book Review} The Rose Code

Book cover of The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

Bletchley Park may look like a mansion in a quiet country village but it’s one of Britain’s most important assets during World War II. Bletchley Park (BP) is where hundreds of men and women worked to break Axis encrypted messages, the Enigma codes. 

Wartime Britain brings together three unlikely women at the secretive estate – debutant Osla, self-made Mab, and the quiet and awkward Beth. Together, these woman make a life for themselves while serving their country. But like all BP employees, the women are sworn to secrecy, hiding their work and much of their everyday lives from loved ones. 

As the war drags on, the three friends are torn apart – first by tragedy and then by treason. Someone locks Beth away at Clockwell Sanatorium to prevent her from revealing the existence of a traitor at BP, someone selling secrets to the Soviets. She is still there in 1947, and the traitor is still at large. Beth manages a desperate plea to Osla and Mab for help. She may have survived more than 3 years locked up, but in just a handful of days, she’ll undergo surgery and become a vegetable if Osla and Mab can’t come to her rescue. And maybe, just maybe, the women can identify the traitor and bring him or her to justice.

the Rose Code by Kate Quinn, with a backdrop of the mountains

Review:

I became a big fan of Kate Quinn’s historical fiction novels when I read The Alice Network and The Huntress, and Quinn’s latest was no disappointment. Like her earlier books, Quinn took creative liberties in the characters, timeline, and plot but remained true to major themes, historical moments, and social aspects of the time. For example, all three WWII-era books stem from true stories and historical figures. In The Rose Code, some of the characters are fictional versions of those that worked at BP. Others represent a few different individuals or were created to exemplify a group of people. The Author’s Note clearly explains where Quinn deviated from history and what was true. 

The Rose Code alternates between two timeframes – WWII, starting in 1940, and post-war 1947, as Britain counts down the days until the wedding. Most of the novel focus on wartime Britain, where we follow Osla, Mab, and Beth as they develop their friendship and their careers. BP was a place that recruited all sorts of quirky and/or nerdy people and thus, fostered a more openminded and accepting atmosphere than common at that time. The alternating 1947 timeframe tracks the trio after the war, uniting old friends to help Beth and identify the BP traitor. 

The Rose Code has a little something for everyone – history, love, and mystery. It’s a fascinating story of the secret codebreakers of BP (the predecessor to today’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ), who are credited with ending the war more than a year earlier and saving many lives. 

If you like historical fiction, this one (and Quinn’s others) are definitely worth a read. Once I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down. 

{Book Review} The Starless Sea

Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern{Book Review} 

The Starless Sea

By Erin Morgenstern

One day, Zachary Ezra Rawlins takes a book out of the library… and suddenly finds himself reading about a moment from his childhood – a moment when he stands before a painted door and chooses not to open it. That library book changes the trajectory of his life. Why was he in this book? What did it mean? 

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{Book Review} The Paris Architect

Book Review: The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure{Book Review}

The Paris Architect

By Charles Belfoure

Lucien Bernard is a struggling architect. Germany occupies France, and work was scarce. Then one day Bernard is offered a job – he is to create a hiding place for a Jew. In return, not only will he earn a handsome some of money but he’ll also be granted a commission to build a factory. Bernard debates the offer – holding no affinity for Jews but intrigued by the money, the idea of outwitting the Nazis, and the promise of a job that could make him famous some day, so he accepts.

That decision will not only change his future, but alter his way of thinking in a manner he never thought possible. 

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{Book Review} The Last Romantics

{Book Review} The Last Romantics{Book Review}

The Last Romantics 

By Tara Conklin

The Last Romantics is a story “about love, true love. Imperfect, wretched, weak love….” (p. 352) It is the story of 4 siblings – Renee, Caroline, Joe, and Fiona Skinner – who grew up with a difficult childhood, marked by tragedy. Their father dies; their mother withdraws for years in a period the children call The Pause, during which, they fend for themselves. But they all get through it and grow up, each seeking love and companionship, and each finding that in their own unique way. But like their childhood, the siblings’ early adulthood years are marked by tragedy – the death of Joe. For the sisters, The Pause and Joe’s Death would be defining moments in their lives, up until the end.

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{Book Review} My Dear Hamilton

{Book Review} My Dear Hamilton{Book Review}

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

By: Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

Eliza Schuyler Hamilton may have been the wife of one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, but she was a formidable woman in her own right. She had a front line seat to the American Revolution, the creation of our government, and the creation of a united nation. If that’s not enough, she was faced her husband’s infidelity and as a result, was a victim of the nation’s first sex scandal. She struggled with loss after loss; she coped with mental illness hitting close to home at a time when those with “disordered minds” were immediately instituted; she fought to keep her family close and safe. She protected her family close and throughout her life, continued to rebound to fight for the new nation and her morals – to include a dedication to both her husband’s memory as well as equality and charity work.

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