Book: Rose Under Fire
Note: companion book to Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Review: 'Hope is the most treacherous thing in the world. It lifts you and lets you plummet. But as long as you're being lifted, you don't worry about plummeting."
Rose Justice is an American pilot working for the Allied Forces Auxiliary. She's young and relatively untainted by the war when she is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. She eventually finds herself housed with a group of women known as the Rabbitt's, women who the doctors did unspeakable things to. This is a story of courage, friendship and survival.
Although this is marketed as a companion book to CNV but I would absolutely recommend reading CNV first. This book picks up 8 months later and several characters make an appearance in this novel. I'll refrain from spoilers but we find out what Maddy is up to almost immediately. This is written in a similar epistolary style as CNV but the narrative this time around is straightforward. Rose's voice in the beginning of the book is young, naive and yes, slightly annoying. I found it fascinating and equally frightening how her teenager years differed from others living in Europe. Also shocking was that Americans believed reports of the concentration camps were Allied propaganda. Rose's experience in the camp, including the bonds of friendship, loyalty among the women and the perseverance was inspiring and heart breaking. I've never cried so much reading a book and I cannot even talk about the book in too much detail without tearing up. This book drew me in fast and I could not wait to see what happened to Rose and the Rabbits.
My only challenge while reading this book were the poems. Rose is a poet of sorts and she recites a lot of poems. Poems are not my thing but I can understand how they applied to the story and how they helped the women.
On another note, if you read this, please be sure to read the last section written by the author. She talks about writing this book and Ravensbruck.
A fabulous read. Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire are my favorite books so far this year.