Sunday, November 10, 2013
Book Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Library Copy
This book would be rated: PG or PG-13
Many of my book-reviewing friends considered Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity the best book of 2012. And it was a great story-- a female spy who was captured by the Nazis and forced to write a confession about her work with the Resistance. The story she wrote was one of enduring friendship, and there was a dynamic twist that surprised readers and gave them a satisfying a-ha moment. As good as that book was, I enjoyed reading Rose Under Fire more. I know that some readers will disagree with me. Rose Under Fire lacks the puzzle aspect of Code Name Verity, but once again we have a protagonist on the cusp of womanhood who is put into a very adult situation. Rose Justice is an eighteen-year-old American ATA pilot, given the task of transporting fighter planes. On a routine flight to France in the fall of 1944, she is captured by the Nazis, who escort her plane into their territory, then send her to Ravensbruck, a women's concentration camp. Rose spends the next winter and spring as part of a family of courageous women, all of whom want to live and look out for each other in a place that seems incompatible with life or compassion.
While Code Name Verity was a fascinating read where the reader tried to puzzle out what was happening, there's no question about the narrative on Rose Under Fire. But the narrative still seems almost unbelievable a times, as Rose tells her story from the postwar safety of the Paris Ritz. I'm thoroughly impressed by both of the novels, and hope that Wein continues to write stories in this vein-- I think that this one cements her reputation as the novelist of women's WWII narratives.