Friday, November 17, 2023

BOOK REVIEW: The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

My book group’s next pick is The Rose Code by Kate Quinn. Admittedly, my first reaction was yikes! This is a long one. But it’s a quick read. The last third, especially, is a page-turner.

The story is set in two time periods, during and just after WWII. In the “just after,” in 1947, as preparations are underway for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, three women who once worked for the war effort must reunite to catch a traitor. In the “during the war” sections, we see what they did.

Osla Kendall, socialite and one-time girlfriend of Prince Philip, is determined to be seen as more than just a dizzy deb. Mab Churt is a tall, ferociously pretty woman who climbed out of Shoreditch poverty by dint of hard work and determination. Both find themselves assigned to the top secret Bletchley Park where the German codes are being broken. They are housed with a local family, the Finches, where they meet the daughter, Beth Finch, a timid and abused young woman with a remarkable but hidden brilliance, who desperately needs a chance to break free.

At Bletchley Park, the work is so secret that even the workers are kept in the dark about what goes on in any of the divisions but their own. They are made to swear an oath that they will not speak of anything they are doing or they’ll be prosecuted as traitors. This secrecy wears them down more than the impossibly hard work. Eventually, it is the secrecy that will lead to the ruin of the friendship of these three women.

The novel has a slow build as the reader is drawn into the world of codebreaking, wartime romance, and intense friendships forged by hardship. But it’s necessary to put all the pieces firmly in place before breaking them down bit by bit. Someone at Blenchley Park was a traitor. And the women who broke each other’s trust must decide if they can trust each other enough to catch the spy before it’s too late.

Did you see the movie The Imitation Game? If you liked that, you’ll love The Rose Code.

1 comment:

  1. My husband and I listened to this audiobook and both of us gave it a 5 star pacing. It was just about perfect in terms of pacing and intrigue.