Rose Under Fire
Summary:While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?
Despite loving Wein’s Code Name Verity, I’ll admit that I was a bit hesitant to read the sequel – mostly because I didn’t think I was ready to have my heart torn to shreds again. After forcing myself to give it a go, I think I’ll even say that I ended up liking Rose Under Fire even a bit more than the previous installment.
You know, “concentration camp” translates pretty clearly in French – even in German. “Camp de Concentration.” “Konzentrationslager.” But even though I knew what the words meant, it didn’t mean anything then. Not really. The name of the place didn’t mean anything to me.
Rose Under Fire follows Rose Justice – an American pilot on the European warfront. When Rose gets captured by the Nazis in the middle of a flight from London to Paris, she is sent to Ravensbrück – the infamous women’s concentration camp. There, she is able to survive through friendship with the other prisoners and feeding on the hope and determination they give her, and through her love of poetry. But is that enough?
Rose’s story was absolutely heartbreaking and powerful. It’s so hard to think that all of the historical accounts in this novel were true. The millions of people tortured by the Nazis. The thousands of families torn apart. The hunger, the starvation, the disease. The seventy-five “Rabbits” experimented on by the Nazis. It seems like the thing that you only read about in history books – things that seem so terrible it’s almost hard to believe actually happened; but Wein’s account is truly gripping and rocks you from your core.
Hope is the most treacherous thing in the world, but how can you live without it? It lifts you and lets you plummet. But as long as you’re being lifted you don’t worry about plummeting.
As a protagonist, I really enjoyed Rose. Her optimism and determination were admirable, and I found it really easy to connect to her as a character. She’s definitely not perfect – she has some definite flaws – but sometimes it was those flaws that ended up keeping her alive day by day.
The supporting cast was incredible. From Roza to Karolina, Irina, Lisette, each of them truly had something special about them and their development was so wonderfully executed.
I want to end this review by saying that this is NOT Code Name Verity. It doesn’t have the slow beginning that Verity did that threw many people off. It’s tighter paced and if you didn’t finish Verity because of that slow start and still liked the concept and the writing, definitely consider giving this a go.
And if you do, let us all unite in “telling the world.“