85. Rose Under Fire- Elizabeth Wein

Today is meant to be “Friday’s Fairytales”, and I’m sorry that this is the second week  of not updating it. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. Not while I have so much to say about the fantastic and heartbreaking book I just read.


Title: Rose Under Fire

Author: Elizabeth Wein


On the Shelves: Young Adult Fiction> Historical Fiction


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 (Goodreads 2014)

Hope is treacherous, but how can you live without it?

I read and absolutely adored Wein’s “Code Name Verity” earlier this year, (click the link to see my review). So it was inevitable that I would pine over picking up Rose Under Fire. I thought it would be ages before I could get it though due to my year long book buying ban. Then my sister told me she was paying for an audible account she hardly used and have 5 UNUSED CREDITS FOR IT. FIVE. That means 5 books I can get as audiobooks! Awwwwwh yeah- naturally, I instantly gravitated towards Rose Under Fire. I’ve been wanting to listen to more audiobooks since I was so impressed with the BBC4 version of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere which was broadcast at the end of last year, and it looks like in my near future, I will be doing a lot of train journeys. So I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to test out this theory- and what a good theory it was.

I couldn’t stop listening. The audiobook is 11 hours and 37 minutes long. I listened the entire day for 6 hours on a train and I still had to have more. I had to know what happened in the end.I have so much to say about this book, I don’t even know where to begin. “Rose Under Fire” is not a sequel to Verity, but rather a companion novel. You see lovely Maddie pop up again in this book, however it follows the story of an American named Rose who is sent to a German concentration camp upon landing her plane in Germany by accident. I’m not going to say much more about the story because spoilers but my god. I just can’t chose which I prefer: Verity or Rose. Maybe Verity, but just barely.

Wein’s story telling is just as compelling as it was in Verity. The characters are thoughtfully written, well built and Wein tells a very difficult story in what I felt was a respectful way. It’s a very tough subject matter, and a very ballsy one- to take on the responsibility of giving a fictional yet respectful voice to those millions of people who disappeared under crimes against humanity in those horrid camps. While I did certainly feel pity for them, I also found myself feeling so proud of them. Not just as the fictional characters but also those who they represented. Those faceless victims who bravely and quietly defied this horrible regime in whatever way they could, despite the risk to their lives. Wein even managed to make me laugh a couple of times, with the characters, who used dark humour to take their minds off their situation. It seemed unnatural and even in bad taste to manage to find humour in the conversations between these brave women, but then, it’s one of those where you either laugh, or you’d cry.


In terms of the Audiobook, this was narrated by Sasha Pick, who did an absolutely fantastic job. She has a lovely voice and she conveyed every emotion necessary to add to the situations in the book. The fear, the excitement, the desperation- the hope in the face of defeat. The one thing I will say is I wasn’t a fan of her voice for Rosza- the polish 17 year old- she sounded far too young and childish, while I understand the creative decision behind that, I did find the voice very irritating. I feel like the non-American accents (because if I’m fair, her English and Scottish accents were quite bad as well) should have been better researched and practiced. As someone who has polish and ukranian friends, they really became painful to listen to sometimes, purely because of the accents the narrator chose to use.

What would I love, love to see next from Wein? A third book in the series following Maddie towards the end of the war. After going through everything she has in Verity and Rose, she certainly deserves her own book!

Fight with realistic
hope, not to destroy
all the world’s wrong,
but to renew its good


17 thoughts on “85. Rose Under Fire- Elizabeth Wein

  1. Wait seriously?? You know how we feel about Verity, and this one is a close second maybe even tie for being as good?? I’m so excited to hear this. I’m going home, getting this book and reading it. Great job!

    • thebookheap says:

      not but really. my heart hurts. I just…gah. I have a new favourite author. She has a new book coming out next year- YES PLEASE. Black dove and White Raven. But I don’t think it is about maddie 😦

      • 😦 wahhh. I want more Maggie!!! I cannot wait to read this one. I’ve circled around it since we read verity but the time for dawdling has come to an end.

      • thebookheap says:

        ikr I was happy to put it off for a while because I didn’t think I could stand more “Feels” but oh my god, so so good. I just wanted to hug it at the end

      • thebookheap says:

        haha 3 now ;3. it was six- dad wanted the similrilion so we got him pt 1 to try. I just got “the color purple” with one too. I was planning on setting up an account but liz said she already had an account she was paying for and wasn’t using so…we’ll use up the free credis and then pass her money along for any books we get extra :3

      • That’s a great idea. Liz is so kind to share her credits 😉 I love audible. I’ll have to look up Neil Gaiman Neverwhere since you loved it so. I’m using it right now for the Outlander series. They’re too long to read.

      • thebookheap says:

        haha well she hasn’t used her account in about a year so she was like “i’m paying for it anyway you might as well use it!”.
        The BBC 4 neverwhere which aired last chistmas with jamess mcavoy and benedict cumberbatch is fantastic!!

  2. Elen @ A World of Reviews says:

    Now I want to read this even more! I might end up buying it this month because I’m finding it hard to believe that it’s as good as Verity. It sounds so good as an audiobook too, so now I’m going to have to choose between that or paperback. 🙂

    BBC’s Neverwhere was what got me started on audiobooks too, mainly because James McAvoy was amazing!

    • thebookheap says:

      haha ikr! She comes in handy sometimes ;3

      I highly recommend it if you’ve not read it or heard that version of it, it’s one of my favourite books!

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