SYNOPSIS: The story of Verity and Maddie, two young women doing their part for the British war effort in France during WWII.
The only thing keeping this book from being a 5 is that the beginning was just a tad bit slow for me, but when it picked up boy did it! One of my favorite things about historical fiction novels is learning about areas in history that don’t necessarily get covered in the detail that you want and what women did during the war is one of those things that I like hearing about. Sure things probably didn’t go exactly the way they did in the book, but in the Author’s Notes section, Wein did explain that everything that occurred was plausible (sure she made some events happen earlier, change some names, make up missions, etc. but that was to make it a good story too). At the core of the novel is the friendship between Verity (I’m not going to reveal her real name because that’s one of the mysteries in the book), an SOE (Special Operations Executives), and Maddie, a pilot, which I think is what grounded the story and made it feel real (although a fair bit of warning this is a war, so not everything ends happily). Some people hate books where they can see plot twists coming, I on the other hand enjoy it immensely because that means there is going to be something bigger that I won’t see. There are a lot of clues given in the book, but it is hard to tell what those clues are going to lead to which I thought was really cool and made me feel like a spy myself! The book is divided into two parts, the first being Verity in her Gestapo prison being interrogated for information. She gives away information in her confession which she is writing about her best friend, Maddie, as well as providing information about the conditions she is living in. Through Verity’s tale, you can see all the love, respect, and esteem that she holds for Maddie even though everything in Verity’s life is crashing to the ground. There is something pure and heartening about their relationship and the care that she takes to tell Maddie’s story in full rather than her own. A lot of things are going in this part that seem strange and out of place, but it is hard to tell why until part two. Part two is the French Resistance and all the things that feel odd in part one suddenly become incredibly clear (telling you why will only spoil the fun for you guys). There is love, suspense, grit, and mystery in this novel and they perfectly balance each other out so that you don’t become overwhelmed by any one emotion and are able to focus your full attention on the story that is being told. Overall I’d say that this is a incredibly satisfying historical fiction book and if you like, lady spies, lady pilots, or even just WWII find a copy and read! I hope Rose Under Fire is just as good!