SYNOPSIS: Rose Justice, an American pilot and aspiring poet, gets captured and sent to Ravensbruck, a women’s concentration camp, where she befriends a diverse group of women who help each other survive.
PREVIOUS: Code Name Verity
I found Rose Under Fire to be better than Code Name Verity. There was never a slow moment and every bit of it was charged with some sort of emotion. One of my favorite things is Rose’s journey from idealistic young girl to hardened woman because it’s a narrative that is common in war stories, but mostly only applies to the young men that go to war. I don’t think I’ve read any stories about the women who became disillusioned by any war. On a happier note, Maddie from Code Name Verity makes and appearance and it was nice to get some real closure to her story line after the events of the previous book. I felt that Wein did a marvelous job giving a variety of women with a variety of stories to tell. We get the story of Rose (who is a POW), Irina (who is a Soviet pilot), Roza and Karolina (Polish girls who had horrific experiments performed on them), Elodie (a French courier), Lisette (a Frenchwoman who married a Pole and was arrested for being a part of a university), Anna (a German officer who became a prisoner), a long with various other prisoners we see in passing. I was really interested in these women’s stories because when you think of concentration camps you think of all the Jewish people imprisoned and often the other people tortured in these places are forgotten. It was different to read other stories and experiences even if the subject is hard to bear (although I think Wein did a fantastic job of capturing the horrid conditions that these women had to experience without making it too hard to read about). I loved how these women banded together to protect each other when it could have been so easy to turn against one another. Their subtle acts of bravery and rebellion where awe-inspiring and heart-warming in the midst of so much horror and tragedy. The mantra for this book is “Tell the World” and I think Wein achieved that. When you read the book for yourself be sure to read the Author’s Note because it does a wonderful job of touching on all the stories that Wein didn’t get to tell because of Rose’s limited view as well as gave some insight into the research process! I highly recommend this book and hope that I can tell the world too.