The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Kate Quinn does it again! The Rose Code is a hefty 650+ page read that is so well written and intricately crafted, you don’t want it to end!
It’s 1940 and England finds itself at war against Germany. Three young women answer the call to Bletchley Park — sworn to keep their daily tasks secret even from one another. It’s here that the sharpest brains in Britain have gathered in an attempt to break German military codes.
Osla is a beautiful and wealthy debutant — who also happens to be dating the handsome Prince Philip of Greece. Mab, who grew up in east-end poverty and is desperate to make something more of herself. And Beth, painfully shy and under the thumb of an overbearing mother, who soon begins to find herself as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts.
Their friendship blossoms but soon war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart. But when a mysterious traitor emerges in the years following the war, the three must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But this Rose Code may threaten not only their relationships but their very lives…
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
The story follows Osla, Mab, and Beth — three women who each have strong character arcs and compelling storylines. All are rich in complexity, with personalities and motivations that captured me as a reader. But what I loved most was the portrait of their evolving friendship and how that changed over time.
Bletchey Park is also a fascinating setting. World War II, codebreaking? Yes, please! While some of the descriptions of the code work required a little extra Googling on my part, Quinn managed to transport readers to this exhausting and intriguing world of enigmas and ciphers.
The story is epic, flashing back and forth between wartime work and what came in the years immediately afterwards. It also contains a little bit of mystery and a little bit of romance for each of the characters. While I loved the hesitancy and slow unfurling of Mab’s love story, I wasn’t fully sold on Osla’s romance with Prince Phillip. (But it was still an entertaining and interesting idea, nonetheless.)
All in all, an excellent piece of historical fiction. For fans of Kate Quinn, this is another must read!