It was with much trepidation I began reading Rose Under Fire the other day, not because I doubted Elizabeth Wein's ability to craft another story as brilliant and heartbreaking as Code Name Verity but more because I worried about how many tissues I would need to get through it!
Unfortunately by the last page I was a bit surprised that my feelings didn't run as deep this time around. Not to say that Rose Under Fire was any less difficult, emotional and wrenching a story to read due to it's subject matter. But, for me, I felt that the titular Rose was a more difficult person to know, the feel for and connect to. She tells the tale in a manner that leaves out the personal emotions and feelings since, as she recounts numerous times, she has shut out the specific memories of what happened. As a result I felt like it left me out as the reader from the strongest emotions and feelings of her and the other women's experiences. This is a shame because I stood in awe of every bit of the bravery, loyalty and incredible heroism exhibited by Rose each and every one of her fellow prisoners they made to survive!
Having said that, the historical significance of the novel and it's look at the incomprehensible atrocities perpetrated in the concentration camps along with the war's bleak aftermath make it an unbelievably compelling and valuable read.
Wein is an amazing writer and I admire her dedication in tackling the subject matter through extensive and dedicated research but Rose Under Fire was not as unforgettable as Code Name Verity.