The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
I have a soft spot for Bletchley Park stories and if anything that was a negative thing here. There were so many codebreaking anecdotes that I’d read before incorporated into the plot that it felt a bit like a rehash. Which is a pity because it was otherwise a good story. Three women from very different backgrounds come together at BP and one of them ends up committed to an asylum. The story switches between the wartime story and the post-war asylum story until the two converge and sparks fly.
There are lots of real life characters featured in the story, and some of the main characters are fictionalisations of real people too. Some of this I found problematic and some of it not. I think that’s mostly down to how I perceive those characters in the real world. I’m quite happy to meet a walk-on version of Alan Turing for instance, but I nearly gave up on the book in the beginning when the future Duke of Edinburgh kept coming onto the page as some kind of heartthrob. (I discovered when Prince Philip died that apparently it was just me who thought he was sexist and racist, everyone else seems to think he’s a nice old guy who just says funny things sometimes. Ho hum.) In the end his inclusion in the plot makes sense and I’m glad I kept going – and his fictionalised version didn’t improve my opinion of him – and the other fictionalised characters didn’t wind me up as much.
Overall though it was an entertaining read with lots of interesting characters, in a setting I love. I have my issues with it but it was fun.
More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Read on September 17, 2021