ARC REVIEW #167: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Title: Rose Under Fire
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Pages: 368, Hardcover
Source: ARC obtained at BEA

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.

"KITE-FLYING (by Rose Justice)

Hope has no feathers.
Hope takes flight
Tethered with twine
like a tattered kite,
slave to the wind's
capricious drift,
eager to soar
but needing lift.

Hope waits stubbornly,
watching the sky
for turmoil, feeding on
things that fly:
crows, ashes, newspapers,
dry leaves in flight
all suggest wind
that could lift a kite.

Hope sails and plunges,
firmly caught
at the end of her string - 
fallen slack, pulling taught,
 ragged and featherless.

Hope never flies
but doggedly watches
for windy skies."

How do you begin to write a review for a book that has left such a lasting impression on your heart? Some reading experiences are so profound that you literally cannot string together words well enough to explain it. Rose Under Fire is one of the most moving books I have ever read in my life. It might be the most moving book I have ever read in my entire life. 

I thought Code Name Verity was a powerful book, but this book touched me far more. Code Name Verity was a beautiful story of friendship. A story of loyalty to one's country. A story of strength. But as sad as it was, it did not break my heart in the same way as this one did. And I think I feel this way because, to me, Rose Under Fire was so much more horrifying and on such a greater scale. Even knowing Rose's fate from the beginning did not make it any easier to read because it is the fate of all those others that stays with me.

I know this book was only fiction, but it is based on events that really happened. Rose, Roza, Lisette, Elodie, Karolina, Irina - they may only be characters in a book, but once upon a time there were real people like them that had to suffer the conditions that they did. And some who had to suffer much much worse. And that fact fills me with such despair I cannot even begin to put it into words. I feel a huge weight on my heart for all of those souls. 

And at the same time, I am in such awe of these girls, of anyone who has ever had to endure such devastating circumstances. The strength that these women displayed. The friendship and compassion towards each other. The small acts of rebellion. What an inspiration they are. What a demonstration of survival. 

Elizabeth Wein's writing is as wonderful as always. Somehow she manages to tell a story that in one sense is so vicious and in another sense is so virtuous. She writes in a way that allows readers to absorb the details without being too overwhelmed by the truth. She doesn't have to spell everything out. We know that which is left unsaid. And this way, we can appreciate the good in the story, without being inundated by the bad. 

I genuinely believe that Rose Under Fire is a gift that Elizabeth Wein has bestowed upon us. This story is such a testament to what human beings are capable of, both good and evil. It is a tragically beautiful story of a time in our history that we can never forget. I loved it with every fiber of my being.



  1. Wonderful review! I can't wait to read this one. As you know I cried buckets at the end of Code Name Verity and so I have a feeling that this one will give me all the ugly cry feels as well!

    1. Oh for sure. Hah. Can't wait for you to read it.

  2. I still have yet to read Code Name Verity even though I've heard great things. This book sounds even better. I have added it to my TBR pile. Sometimes its so hard juggling all of the books I want to read and the ARCs I need to read for review sometimes. After reading your review though I will be moving it up on the list. Thanks for writing another great one.

    1. I completely understand! There are more books than there is time to read. So whenever you get to this one, I hope you love it as much as I did!

  3. Lovely review! I feel like I definitely understand just how much of an influence Rose Under Fire has upon you, and also your admiration of it. Although I have yet to read the novel myself, I am familiar with the premise and it does sound like a much darker read than Code Name Verity. But also an important one.
    Also, I am excited to read more poems and bits of Rose's writing like the one you featured in this review!

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad my love for this book came through in my review.

      The poems were such a great touch to the story. They really add so much ad make this story even more beautiful than it already is. I really hope you love this as much as I did!

  4. Wow, your love for this book really shines through!! I haven't yet gotten around to Code Name Verity (though it's been recommended to me numerous times), but I think your review has given me the kick in the behind needed to move these up my list! Such a lovely poem, too.

    1. I hope you read both of her books soon and love them just as much as I did!


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