Novel Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

I read this book through Net Galley (thank you!). I have not yet read Code Name Verity. But, of course, it is high on my list. I was very interested in this book as my husband is very into aviation and I’m always on the look-out for female pilot role models for my daughter. I also happen to be Jewish, so the Holocaust and the atrocities that happened during WWII are innately interesting to me. This book, then, was intriguing to me on both levels. I found Rose Justice to be a great role model for young girls everywhere. She was brave, noble, daring, and yet imperfect. I highly enjoyed the first part of the book wherein we learn about Rose as an American ATA, a transport pilot in England. It definitely gets much deeper when she is sent to Ravensbruck, the exact way in which she is sent I will leave unspoiled. At Ravensbruck, Rose gains friends that have had horrible things done to them in the name of medicine (called the Rabbits). Horrible isn’t even the word for it; there is no word- in any language. Speaking of which, as an English Language teacher, I loved all the talk about language and all of the poetry. I work in a K-12 building and I can just see the English department using this book to teach cross-curricularly with the history department. All of the poetry that abounds, both by Millay and original were inspiring and allowed me a an extra layer of reading to this novel. Teachers would enjoy using the poems as well. I thought the technique of writing in memoir was perfect. As the author states in the end, Rose could only write about what she knew and saw. As a reader, we know there was much more harm done there and across Europe by the Nazis, but by keeping this in the first person perspective, we feel what it was like to be Rose. All in all, this book was a favorite for the year for me, so far. It will haunt me for long while.

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