Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Elizabeth Wein continues to explore themes of friendship and loyalty, right and wrong, and unwavering bravery in the face of indescribable evil.
Rose Justice is a young pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War. On her way back from a semi-secret flight in the waning days of the war, Rose is captured by the Germans and ends up in Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi women’s concentration camp.
There, she meets an unforgettable group of women, including a once glamorous and celebrated French detective novelist whose Jewish husband and three young sons have been killed; a resilient young girl who was a human guinea pig for Nazi doctors trying to learn how to treat German war wounds; and a Nachthexen, or Night Witch, a female fighter pilot and military ace for the Soviet air force.
These damaged women must bond together to help each other survive. In this companion volume to the critically acclaimed novel Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein continues to explore themes of friendship and loyalty, right and wrong, and unwavering bravery in the face of indescribable evil.
Review by lulu:
A very powerful book. I stumbled upon the first book in this short series, Code Name Verity. I was terribly impressed. It seemed well researched, extremely detailed and highly engrossing. Even though it was dealing with a time in history and events that are well known, it still managed to surprise me. Rose Under Fire was a more difficult read and at first I did not think I would like it.
The heroine was a little to perfect and perky to be believable. Then it seemed to settle down and I became immersed in the story. The perfection and perkiness soon slipped away. While the first book definitely had dark segments, much of Rose Under Fire was downright bleak.
So bleak that it was sometimes difficult to continue. No matter how many times you read of the atrocities of the second World War, they can still hit you hard. Especially when told as compellingly as this book. I loved the periodic insertion of both Millay’s and “Rose’s” poetry.
If you are not a poetry fan, that might make the book a little more difficult to push through, but I thought it only added to the context of the story and she used the alliterative aspect of poetry to further the plot line. I thought the narration was extremely well done. The voice of Rosa, a Polish prisoner was a little grating, but I think it fit the characters age, experience, personality and situation.
Review by Susan:
A great story, great research backing it up. Young American female pilot, Rose Justice, volunteers as a transport pilot to the British war effort and gets captured by the Germans over France. Spends time in Ravensbruck Prison.
Lives to tell the tale. The author is a pilot, so her descriptions of flying are based on personal experience; she even explains how planes fly–a little physics lesson. And she spent time at the Ravensbruck Summer Camp in order to write this book.
The voice actor for the audiobook was equally good; Sasha Pick must do American, British, Scottish, Polish, French, and German female voices, and most are very believable. This book had me close to tears many days on my way to and from work.