Kate Quinn’s The Rose Code

By Katie Neal, Access Services Assistant

Kate Quinn’s The Rose Code (DB 102559) tells the story of Mabel Churt and Osla Kendall, who meet on a train on the way to a mysterious place called Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire in 1939. Mabel, or Mab as she prefers to be called, and Osla quickly become fast friends. When they arrive in Buckinghamshire, they lodge in the home of a local family, where they meet Beth Finch, a shy, meek spinster who lives under the strict rule of her staunchly religious mother. Osla and Mab have been recruited to be codebreakers at Bletchley Park, a wartime intelligence project for the British government. The two befriend Beth and soon realize that she also has the skills to work at Bletchley Park, so she is recruited as well. Our heroines dive into the world of interpreting and breaking Nazi code over the course of the years during the war, until one fateful day in 1944, when a terrible secret is revealed that splinters their friendship. 

London, 1947. In the weeks leading up to the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, Osla receives a coded letter from one of her old friends suggesting that there was a traitor in their ranks in Bletchley Park during the war. Learning who the traitor is, she reunites with Mab and Beth, and the former friends soon realize they are in a race against time to save a life. On the day of the wedding, our trio is fighting through the crowds in the streets of London in an effort to apprehend the traitor, who’s attempting to flee the country. The three women use their wits and the power of teamwork on the biggest and most important challenge they’ve faced since their days at Bletchley Park. A real page-turner, this book is a must-read for those who enjoy World War II history, especially as it concerns the ways in which women contributed to the war effort.