Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rose Under Fire

Title: Rose Under Fire
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Series: Code Name Verity, Book 2
Number of Pages: 360
Date Read: 11/18/14
Genre: Historical Fiction, World War II Fiction

Synopsis (Found on

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?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling
 Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival. 

My Review:

This is an amazing story of friendship and love in one of the worst places on earth: a Nazi concentration camp. 

Rose Justice is a pilot for the British Royal Air Force whose job is to ferry planes from one airstrip to another. Her uncle is a high rank military engineer who is able to pull strings and Rose is allowed to ferry people from England to France which I believe has just been liberated from Nazi control. On her return trip to England she is taken prisoner by German fighter planes. After much commotion and other events, Rose is put in Ravensbruck women's concentration camp. It is there that she has to fight for her life and survive but she has help with the women who she meets there that becomes her family. 

The book is told in journal format and in 3 parts. The first part takes place before Rose is taken by the Germans while she is ferrying planes for the RAF in 1944. The second part is in 1945 after Rose left the concentration camp. She is writing her memoir I guess you can call it of what happened to her in the concentration camp. The third part takes place in 1946 where Rose tells us about the Nuremberg trials and where she finds out if any of her concentration camp family is still alive. 

I liked Rose. She went through so much and lost so much. She was a brave, strong and willful girl with many opinions who loved to fly planes. Flying was her passion. She also had another passion which was poetry. The poems she makes up are also included in her account. Rose goes from a carefree girl to a girl who is scared of life. Even though she didn't feel like it, while in the concentration camp I saw Rose as being a very brave girl to even have survived the concentration camp life. She was physically weak but not mentally although she doesn't see it herself. She was loving and caring toward the girls she became friends with in the camp. She defied the guards and risked her life to protect the "Rabbits" (Polish girls who were experimented on by doctors). When she had so little she still found it in her heart to share what she had. She was also very determined to stay alive. She learned to barter with the more privileged campees to get what she needed. She was very crafty and she had a strongness about her that only people who have been in a horrid, traumatic tragic situation can have. 

I liked all the other characters as well. Roza the rabbit was fiery and had a lot of attitude. She had a filthy sailors mouth and a very big personality. She was understandably angry all the time but when Rose first arrived Roza took her into the group. There was also Irina who was a soviet fighter pilot who was every protective of Rose and Roza. She and Rose had the love of flying in common and the worked together to help each other and the others survive. Then there was Lisette who was like the block's mother. All the young girls were like her daughters and she took care of them as best she could. She loved all the girls and was heartbroken when any of them died. She took care of them, gave them advice and was able to calm some of the girls down when they got upset. There was also Karolina who was very sweet and kind of tried to lift up everyones spirits. She enjoyed listening to Rose's poems and making up stories with Rose like going to a beach in red bathing suits. It goes without saying that all these characters are strong in their own way and very determined to survive not only for the sole reason of surviving but to survive so the can tell the world what was happening to them and the rabbits as Ravensbruck. 

The descriptions of the contraction camps was horrifying. The jobs some of the girls had to do was awful and the overall filthiness of the camp made my skin crawl. The conditions were so disgusting. The demeanor of the guards made me furious and the way they treated the prisoners made me want to go into the book and shoot them all. 

This is another wonderful story of love and friendship in a horrible place. 


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