So with this book, Kate Quinn has officially become one of my favorite authors.
To begin, I want to say that I love her book The Alice Network and it continues to be my favorite. However, The Rose Code made me think long and hard about that decision because it was such a close second. Just to warn you, Quinn’s books all are set during WWII, and like many of my fellow readers, I’m trying to stop contributing to the literary fad of historical fiction WWII books. However, the main reason I’m drawn to Quinn’s’ novels is because they are all woman-centered, with female friendships, strong personalities, and important historical conflicts being major themes. So once again, I’m breaking my self-imposed boycott and reading a historical fiction WWII book.
The Rose Code is set in Bletchley Park, England, which looks to outsiders like a remote English mansion but is actually the English headquarters for codebreaking. Everything there is focused around one task: to interrupt German messages encrypted by the Nazis using the famous Enigma machine. What is unusual is that both women and men are hired for this job, and some believe the women are even better at it than the men! So this premise brings together the three main female characters, all coming from vastly different backgrounds and socio-economic levels but all wanting to do their part to win the war.
These three main characters couldn’t be more different. One is an English heiress intent on proving she’s more than a “silly deb,” one is a determined self-made woman who rose above a childhood spent in poverty and is now hoping to find a husband to ensure she never has to go back, and the third is a rural woman who has been told by her mother for years that she’s just a “simple-minded girl” with no future (although she is arguably the smartest of the three). So when these three women find each other and start on their new careers as codebreakers, what follows is a story of love, heartbreak, devastation, and triumph all at the same time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be reading it again soon. The twists and turns of it has been on my mind long after I finished reading it, which is a sign of a good book to me. But it was just published last month (March 2021) so there may be a waiting list at the library, but get on it now and then endure the wait. It’s worth it!