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The Rose Code: A Novel by Kate Quinn

The Rose Code: A Novel (edition 2021)

by Kate Quinn (Author)

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4062947,193 (4.49)24
Title:The Rose Code: A Novel
Authors:Kate Quinn (Author)
Info:HarperLuxe (2021), Edition: Large type / Large print, 864 pages
Collections:Stored, Your library

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The Rose Code by Kate Quinn


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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
My favourite out of the books I’ve read so far this year. It’s about three young women who worked at Bletchley Park during WWII: Osla, a half-Canadian debutante who is fluent in German; Mab, a secretary determined to secure for herself a more prosperous life than the one she had growing up in East London; and Beth, their landlady’s mousy, neurodivergent daughter with a talent for crosswords. Most of the narrative is set during the war, but it’s interspersed with sections set in 1947 -- Beth, who is in a sanitarium after a breakdown, has sent her two estranged friends a coded message, begging for help.

I loved this, but at times found it stressful and heartbreaking! The writing is so lively and effective and emotional -- Quinn has a knack for portraying her characters in such a way that I become quickly invested. I keep wanting to reread bits, and I’ve been surprised to realise that the story doesn’t spend more time and pages on some of their relationships.

I also love how this story captures both the delights and the difficulties of working at BP: the community and camaraderie; opportunities for meaningful and challenging employment; the demands of shift work, the intense pace and pressure; the toll of keeping secrets.

I also liked the way it weaves Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland references through the story, from the BP literary society that dub themselves the “Mad Hatters” to Beth’s experiences with codebreaking and at the sanitarium.

The ending doesn’t quite maintain the earlier intensity -- I was expecting it to pack more of a punch. But at the same time I’m relieved that, given everything the characters have endured, Quinn didn’t try to ramp up the intensity by creating further horror or heartbreak. I will accept happy-ish endings, please and thank you.
And while I thought the epilogue was unnecessary, the Author’s Note, about the real people some of the characters were loosely based on, was fascinating. (Apparently Prince Philip really did have a wartime girlfriend called Osla.)

Most people were cautiously jubilant—but when Beth heard the words When we win the war, she had to push down a surge of panic. Without a war she didn’t have this work. Without a war there was no excuse to see Harry. Without a war, would she be an unemployed spinster with a dog, forced back home because she no longer had a billet and a salary? [...] the only thing that made Beth’s mind bend at the edges was the thought of losing all this. She could take the hours, she could take the secrecy, she could take the gruelling pace, but she couldn’t take the thought that it would all someday disappear. ( )
  Herenya | Jun 13, 2021 |
Engaging. Character development is unforgettable. Highly recommended.
  Perdita229 | Jun 5, 2021 |
I listened to this book on audible and I think it made it even better. This book was such a wild ride. It kept me going from beginning to end, and the tension never let up. The book gave me a real insider's look at Bletchley Park (BP) during WWII. There was some remarkable work done there for the war effort. Even though this was a work of fiction, the book had real historical people as part of the story. I love Kate Quinn's books, and this is the third that I've read. It centres around three female code breakers who worked at Bletchley Park from 1941 until the war ended. I really got to know and love Mab, Oslo and Beth. Each are from totally different backgrounds but become fast friends while pursuing their duties in and around Bletchley Park. Oslo is a deb from a privileged background with a Prince for a boyfriend. Mab grew up in London's east side and had a hard-scrabble life there. Beth grew up close to Bletchley Park. She had a very strict religious upbringing with a tyrant for a mother. All three pursue their careers as well as their love lives during their time at Bletchley. It was fascinating to hear about how friendship and courtship were conducted during the war. Time was short and no one knew what might be coming, so they lived life to the fullest. All is going along swimmingly until Beth discovers that there is a traitor in their midst. She uses her massive code breaking skills to try to discover who the culprit is, only to find herself picked up and taken to a mental asylum in the country before she learns who the traitor is. Somebody knew that she was getting close and wanted to get her out of the way. Mab suffers unspeakable horror too during a German bombing raid, and Oslo finds that the lovely life she had planned with her Prince is going to come crumbling down as he is being called to a much higher duty that doesn't include her. After 3 1/2 years, Beth manages to get her two friends to the asylum where she is being held, and all three decide that they must unmask the traitor as that person is still a real danger to England. They all work together to achieve that task. By the end of the book all is set right and I got a glimpse of these three women's lives after the war. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves WWII fiction as much as I do. ( )
  Romonko | May 31, 2021 |
So far, this is the best book I have read this year. Quinn does a great job weaving fact with fiction. While reading the book, I also did research on Bletchley Park and the code breakers.
The story centers around 3 women who have different personalities and social standings who come together at Bletchley Park and become friends. Everyone is sworn to secrecy concerning the work they do at Bletchley. This secrecy eventually drives a wedge between these 3 girls. ( )
  travelgal | May 27, 2021 |
Three very different girls are recruited to work at Bletchley Park during the war: Osla, fighting to shrug off the view that she is a vacant deb; Mab, a working class girl fighting to better herself; and Beth, the mousy forgotten daughter with a talent for crosswords. Over the next few years the three will become best friends and then irrevocably fall out. 1947, on the eve of the Royal wedding, a strange message brings the three back together to try to find the traitor who was in their midst.
The story of the women of Bletchley Park is a well-worn theme amongst recent novels but this fiction adds a little more. There are lots of cliches around the three characters but their friendship is carefully drawn and seems plausible. I thought the whole 'Prince Philip' plotline a little excessive but that could just be because of recent events. Other than that as a clever wartime romance with an interesting plot, this works well ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | May 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
After reading a good story like this one, I can't help but suggest that you should join NovelStar’s writing competition, you might be their next big star.
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To the veterans of Bletchley Park -- you changed the world
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The enigma arrived in the afternoon post, sealed, smudged, and devastating.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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