Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Review - The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Release date: 18 March 2021
Back cover blurb: 1940. 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. Awkward local girl Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles beneath her shy exterior. 1947. 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...As the nation prepares for the royal wedding they must race against the clock to save one of their own.

The Rose Code is the third novel (I think) of Kate Quinn's that I have read, and it is my favourite yet. Regular readers of my blog will know that I adore historical fiction, particularly that set in WWII, and this is one of the best novels for the period that I have read in a long time. I don't usually say (or think) this, but I think it would make a great film or tv series.

1947. Osla is trying to ignore the hype about the Royal Wedding when a mysterious encrypted note appears through her door, more of an SOS really, from a former colleague who she would never be able to admit to knowing if anyone asked. For Osla signed the official secrets act during the war, and never expected to hear from any of her former colleagues ever again.

She has no choice but to contact another former colleague, the formidable Mab, now trying to live a quiet life, with her family, post war. She has also recieved a note from their former colleague Beth, who appears to be attempting to bring the trio of friends back together.  

Beth, no doubt the brainiest of the three, has written to them both in desperation. Confined to an institution for a crime that she is adamant she did not commit, she needs her former colleagues help, desperately.  Her hope is that the three of them can work together one final time to discover the real reason that Beth was committed and ensure that any wrongdoings are resolved to a satisfactory outcome. 

1940. Osla, Mab and Beth are thrown together. The most unlikely of friendships is formed when Osla and Mab lodge with Beth at her parent's house. Osla and Mab having recently secured positions at the secretive Bletchley Park, with no knowledge of the importance of the work they are about to undertake.

When it becomes clear that their rather dreary house mate Beth has an excellent and quick problem solving mind, she is asked to join them at Bletchley, and together they embark on a journey that none of them were expecting.

The Rose Code is a beautifully written, quietly thrilling historical fiction novel that comes highly recommended.

The Rose Code is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.

Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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