The Rose Code is a story involving the code breakers at Bletchley Park, during World War 2. I have always been enthralled by the wartime history of Bletchley Park. It’s now due for publication on March 18th. This book came from the publishers via Netgalley, and I am really, really grateful to them. I’m not sure whether the non-fiction Bletchley books I have on my bookcase and Kindle will live up to this exciting adventure.
The Rose Code
by Kate Quinn
As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.
As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer…
After Dangerous Women last week, we go into even more dangerous waters this.
I’ve always been fascinated by the events at Bletchley Park during the war. Maybe I should take myself up there. After this book, though, I really feel glad I wasn’t swallowed up by that machine.
We are thrown into the phoney war and see what Osla, Mab and Beth are up to at home. Then we switch to post-war, to the days leading up to the Royal Wedding. That’s Princess Elizabeth, with five years to go before she becomes queen, and Prince Philip. My friend Dawn described him as a hot totty at an exhibition we saw of his war career when visiting Sandringham House!
The use of real events is a masterful stroke. It is so easy for the reader to associate with these people. Even writing this, I feel tension in my shoulders as I worry for them, will I do them justice here? It is really hard to believe they might not be real. The way Kate Quinn gets into the hearts and minds of all these characters is a tour de force. The setting is certainly a character, nowhere else would be the same. (Euston station plays its part well, too).
The characters and the story gripped me so much that I had to force myself to take breaks. I was deeply involved in the work, the concentration, the messages passing through the girls’ hands. They were unable to mention them to anyone, not even among themselves, only to those in their own small sections. And total secrecy of what they did, or where, when outside. And as for Beth’s situation: in attempting to crack the Rose Code she has landed herself in deep trouble. Os and Mab have to solve it (surely they will do something) in the Royal wedding era. There’s a word involved here that scared the bejasus out of me the first time I discovered what it was. It’s worse to me than a dozen ordinary chambers of horrors.
The stakes are incredibly high, both for the country and for themselves. The Rose Code – a masterful work by Kate Quinn. This MUST be the book of the year. I don’t think I could stand it not being. Completely brilliant.The Rose Code by Kate Quinn; gripping, scary, terrifying. "The Rose Code is masterfully written by Kate Quinn. This MUST be the book of the year." #bletchleypark #TheRoseCode @netgalley #suspense Click To Tweet