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  • Writer's pictureJoan Fernandez

The Rose Code

By Kate Quinn

Satisfying, tense page-turner on WWII women codebreakers.


Women were the backbone of the UK’s code-breaking strategy in World War II. Sufficient time has passed for the secret codebreakers to be made public, giving this story a chance to be told. Women—from all levels of society—poured into opportunities to do their patriotic part during this horrific war.


THE ROSE CODE brings these events to life through three fictional female characters who are based on real people: Osla (an heiress), Mab (from the back streets of London) and Beth (a brilliant mind, trapped in a terrible home life). The book’s intertwining of their stories has two timelines – one during the tense codebreaking years, the other in 1947 when we learn the friends are now estranged.


Between the interlocking timelines the reader has the fun of figuring out what events occurred and why and who to believe. I loved how author Quinn captured the worldview of the 1940s through setting, dialogue and perspectives.


Deeply-researched, beautifully written, this is a terrific book for book club discussions and a long-delayed acknowledgement of women’s accomplishments and contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany.


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