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Book Review: The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

The Rose Code, the latest novel by Kate Quinn, tells the little-known story of the Bletchley Park codebreakers during World War II. Bletchley Park is an English country house and estate in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. The plot turns on the experiences of three young women codebreakers: Osla, who strives to do something meaningful with her life but is treated as little more than a “silly deb”; Mab, who sees her work as a way out of the poverty of London’s East End; and Beth, beaten down by a bullying mother and a timid father who blooms as an amazing cryptanalyst. The three disparate individuals become close friends, bound by the Oath of Secrecy, the unbearable pressures of keeping the oath during their lifetimes, and the tension of working around the clock to crack the secret military codes of the Germans and Italians. The commitment to keep the absolute strictures of the Oath of Secrecy plays a devastating role in their lives, and their friendship. A traitor with influential connections in British Intelligence must be discovered before revealing the methods of the codebreakers, and destroying the life of one of the three women. Kate Quinn has created three memorable female characters, and reveals their strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and threats they must deal with. The depth and breadth of Ms Quinn’s research of the machines and methods of the work done at Bletchley Park deftly sets the stage for the suspense. She weaves some real-life figures from the history of that time, notably Alan Turing, and Prince Philip. Readers who enjoy World War II history will love The Rose Code.

Bailey aka Skip Herrington

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