Rose Under Fire, ultimately, is about female friendship. It starts with a group of young women pilots in WWII* in Britain and how they support each other through war times. One of the pilots, Rose, is captured during a run to France. The second bit of the book is about Ravensbruck, a concentration camp where women were held, and the group of friends she finds there, and how they all support each other through an absolutely horrible experience. And then the third part is about how Rose re-integrates herself back into the world, with the help of her family and friends. Their care for and love of each other comes through throughout the book.
This is a sequel of sorts to Code Name Verity, which was excellent. It’s tempting to say it’s not quite as good, but really, it’s just different. Rose Under Fire is equally as moving and captivating.
* This podcast about WASPs will enlighten you more about women pilots serving during WWII. It’s fascinating.
What’s it about?
A young woman – about 20 if my math is correct – becomes an Allied spy in WWII Britain. Her best friend, Maggie, is a pilot. The young woman is captured by the Germans whilst on a mission in France and forced to write a confession. The first half-ish is her confession, and the rest is Maggie’s experiences of the same time frame. It is, as the NYTimes says, “intricately plotted.” After you finish, you want to go back and read it again, just to make sure you got it all.
Why should you read it?
Code Name Verity is a rich story and a great thriller. Will they make it through? What, exactly, is going on anyway? I certainly hope that Hollywood adds it to their growing spate of movies from YA novels. It could make a great female action movie that passes the Bechdel test in spades; there would be plenty of women having conversations about war and jobs and family amongst all their derring-do.