Rose Under Fire – Elizabeth Wein

rose under fireHumanity is stripped to the basic levels of good and evil in this brilliant historical fiction novel that relates the horrors of Ravensbruck – a Nazi concentration camp.

During WWII, women pilots flew fighting planes to airfields.  The intent was to stay out of combat zones, but that was not always possible.  As the daughter of a pilot, Rose was raised to be a pilot.  Flying is in her blood.  She transfers overseas to England, where she meets Maddie, the heroic pilot from Code Name Verity.  After completing a mission to the newly liberated France, she is flying back to England when the German Luftwaffe forces her to land.  She is taken prisoner and experiences all of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camp, Ravensbruck.  The love and kindness of strangers, each in a desperate situation, fight against the evil horrors of their Nazi captors in the hopes of living another day and the mission to remember those who were killed – Tell the World!

Unlike Code Name Verity, that kept the reader guessing about the heroine’s fate, this story is told in flashback.  At first, this bothered me.  I wanted to be kept in the dark about Rose’s fate.  But no, the author is spot on perfect in this method of storytelling.  Weaving poetry into the narrative and using poetry as Rose’s lifeline is just one more example of the author’s genius.   Continuing Rose’s journey to include the Nuremberg Trials is the closure that the reader will long for.   Please read the author’s notes. Highly recommend.

NetGalley review     Publication date 9.10.13

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