Rose under Fire – A review and a giveaway

Thanks to Netgalley I received an e-galley of ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein. After reading it and clutching my heart and fighting back tears in the train, I know that I will buy myself a copy of this book and will give away one additional copy to one lucky reader. The giveaway is open until September 28th and is open internationally (more details at the end of this post).

It tells a story of friendship, of horrors, of hope…

 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.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?

I´ve read CODE NAME VERITY a few weeks back and I enjoyed it – which is even weird to say about a book that describes such a heart-wrenching story but at the same time I did not fall into the story. Maybe it was the time I read it, maybe I was protecting myself. I don´t know.

But this one. This one grabbed me and didn´t let me go. The friendship and the hope shine through. The moments in Ravensbrück are horrific, there is no way to understand though through the eyes of Rose, we also see how some lines are not so easy to trace.

I mentioned in a past blog post that I first stopped reading and paused because there was a character named Elodie in it (and that´s my name) and I know that this was a very rare name in those years. However, this only stopped me for a second. Afterwards, I sunk deep into the story.

Having walked through the gates of Buchenwald while in High School, I pictured some of the places Rose mentioned and the same angst clutched my heart as I read the words as when I passed through the gates where thousands of people died.

I felt like a voyeur to witness the horrors without being able to do anything. As mentioned the friendships and hope offer a glimpse of light in the darkness. Rose manages to find people to hold on, she becomes a person they can rely on as well.

I don´t think I can give justice to this book. Really. How to put into words Rose´s journey and tears, her hope and her smiles, her hearing her friends crying out “Tell the world!” as they go to their death? How to explain her poems, her way of moving forward and holding herself up?

I could see Rose, I could see her nail polish and the contrast of the red against the dirt, I could feel the surge of courage and bravery as well as her fears.

I can hear the words she writes.

Hope is the most treacherous thing in the world. It lifts you and lets you plummet. But as long as you’re being lifted you don’t worry about plummeting.”

Writing to you like this makes me feel that you are still alive. It’s an illusion I’ve noticed before– words on a page are like oxygen to a petrol engine, firing up ghosts. It only lasts while the words are in your head. After you put down the paper or pen, the pistons fall lifeless again.

Reading and remembering are important. We need to continue telling the stories even though yes memory does create histories, they change but the essence stays the same and that is let´s ensure we do not transform anyone into a “it”. Let´s remember the past, let´s pass it on, let´s tell the stories.

I think Elizabeth says it best at the end of the book when she explains:

It has become a false memory of my own – Rose´s dream of the icy wind in the empty bunks is my dream (…) My book is fiction, but it is based on the real memories of other people. In the end, like Rose, I am doing what I can to carry out the last instruction of the true witnesses – those who went to their death crying out: Tell the world.

Tell the world.

And to help tell the world, I´m giving a copy of this book out. If you already have it and you win, just give your copy to a school library.

All you have to do is comment on this blog post. The giveaway is open until September 28th and is open internationally.

10 Comments

  1. Jaime Morrow says:

    I really need to give this one a read. You’re not the first person I know who has mentioned they had a hard time connecting with CODE NAME VERITY. Are these two books connected in any way? Like, do you have to read CNV before this one? Either way, I’ll make sure to read it. Thanks for the review and rec, Elodie! 😀

  2. Victoria says:

    I’ve read a few of your reviews and, trusting your word, ended up loving the books I bought (:
    You’re probably the only person who could have ever gotten me to read “The Bronze Horseman” and actually (kind of, sort of) like it too much. Now, after reading your review on “Rose under Fire”, I can’t wait to read it! It’s just my genre too. I now have another book to add to my Christmas list XxD
    P.S. Have you read Stolen by Lucy Christopher? I could have sworn you did a review on it…

  3. Erin L. Funk says:

    I had a tough time really falling into CODE NAME VERITY as well. I think all the details about the airplanes lost me a little, and I wish there had been more time spent on the friendship so that events later in the book had a stronger impact on me. That being said, I think this particular era is so incredibly important for authors to write about, and your comments on ROSE UNDER FIRE have convinced me that I should read it sometime. I appreciate how you made this book review so personal and your thoughts on reading and remembering. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Alison Miller says:

    Ohmygoodness – I LOVED CODE NAME VERITY and this review makes me KNOW I would love this one! Thanks for the giveaway, Elodie!

  5. Antonia says:

    I have yet to read the first one. Glad you liked this one better. They seem like something you don`t get to read every day. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Pingback: Book Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein |

  7. This sounds like a terrific book. I didn’t realize there were women pilots in WWII.

    I grew up in a primarily Jewish neighbourhood so thoughts of the holocaust and life in a concentration camp have always gripped me. A friend of mine accumulated the stories of local holocaust survivors and published them in a book called ‘Voices of Winnipeg’s Holocaust Survivors’. It’s a tough book to read because you know these are TRUE stories. It was an impossibly difficult time for everyone.

  8. Pingback: The winner of my ROSE UNDER FIRE giveaway is…. | commutinggirl

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