Book: The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication date: 2021
Source: ebook borrowed from the library, followed by the purchased paperback
Summary: The Rose Code follows three young British women to Bletchley Park during World War II where they are put to the extremely secretive work of codebreaking. Mab is a lower-class London woman with aspirations to a better life for herself. Osla is an aristocrat with an aspiration to be something other than the dizzy debutante that everyone takes her for. Beth appears to have no aspirations at all except to keep her mother from getting angry at her.
When Osla and Mab are billeted in Beth’s family home in the village of Bletchley, they open a new and frightening world to Beth but also offer friendship and support to help her navigate it. It turns out that Beth’s particular quirks are well-suited to the most esoteric aspects of finding the puzzling solutions that break codes.
Thoughts: Codebreaking at Bletchley Park is one of my favorite historical events, since I first learned of it as a computer science student in the early 1980s. We visited Bletchley Park during our trip to England and I’ve learned about it from a variety of sources before and since.
Here are some of my posts that mention Bletchley Park:
- An account, with photos, of our day at Bletchley Park
- A review of a couple of puzzle books that I ordered from Bletchley after I returned home
- Some advice to plan a trip of your own to Bletchley Park
I read this book months ago, but I’m just now getting around to reviewing it. It fits in with the other codebreaking books that I’m writing about this month as part of my NaNoWriMo project.
This novel almost made me give up on my own aspiration to write a NaNoWriMo project about codebreaking women in World War II. The Rose Code definitely hits the spot in my desire to see a novel about that topic. This, however, is a decidedly British novel. My idea (after reading Code Girls by Liza Mundy) is to work on a novel about American women, set in Washington DC. So, instead of giving up, I’m using The Rose Code as model and inspiration for my NaNoWriMo project.
Appeal: Thanks to Tina for bringing my attention to The Rose Code in January when she reviewed the ARC. The Rose Code will appeal to anyone who is interested in the work of the earliest computer geeks, in the 20th century struggle of women finding their places in the working world, and in how codebreaking impacted the results of World War II.
I’ll add this book to our link party on British Isles Friday.
Have you read this book? What did you think?