Review: Rose Under Fire

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Title: Rose Under Fire

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Rating: ★★★★

Provided Synopsis: While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Review: Once upon a time I read a book titled Code Name Verity and was completely blown away by the creativity and emotional impact that I felt. So when I heard that Elizabeth Wein was to write another book with a female heroine during World War II, I was immediately excited and knew that I was not going to be disappointed. And I wasn’t.

Rose Under Fire tells the story of a young American pilot named Rose Justice. She has chosen to fly in a civilian capacity role for the British during the war, and when the story begins she is rather naïve about the horrors of the war, which I think Wein illustrates very well with the lack of depth of Rose’s early poetry. It is only when Rose’s plane is captured and taken by the Germans that the true horror of the war finds her and places her within the concentration camp of Ravensbruck. From here the story becomes one of survival; we learn of and see the atrocities being carried out in this women’s concentration camp, and the emotional depth of Rose’s poetry improves greatly as she is exposed to more and more horrors. In a way, this book is another example of how words are powerful, for they provide hope to those who string them together and those who listen to them. Like with Verity, this is also a story about the strong bonds and friendships between women.

Unlike Verity, however, Rose does not have the same strength in terms of an emotional punch. It is not written in the same structure as Verity, either, since Rose’s narrative is far easier to follow and contains none of the literary genius that was Julie’s prose. Those that found Verity difficult to read might find this story more accommodating to them, and those that loved Veritywill still enjoy this book but will surely be able to sense what it lacks. All in all, this is a must read for historical fiction lovers in search of a glimpse into a women’s concentration camp and the Nuremberg trials.

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