Compelling, intense, thought-provoking. Rose Under Fire is a book to be experienced, for better or worse. The subject is intense. The heroine Rose spends at least half the novel in a concentration camp as a political prisoner. (Ravensbruck) Rose, our heroine, is an American pilot. She was not technically supposed to be flying so close to the war zone. Perhaps she was not even supposed to be ferrying planes to France. But when she gets lost, well, things happen. Rose finds herself captive. Her experience is horrifying, no doubt. Will every reader want to explore the darkness of evil? Of course not! But is it a story worth telling? I know it is. The theme of Rose Under Fire is that even when the telling is difficult, the story needs to be told. The story represents lives, lives of women whose lives were taken and destroyed by the Nazis.
Rose Under Fire is specifically the story of "the Rabbits." These were girls and women experimented on by doctors and scientists. Some of their subjects died. Some of their subjects survived. The book details a few of these as some of Rose's dearest friends are Rabbits. She can see with her eyes just what the enemy has done. It is with shame that she recalls her past, how she actually heard accounts of these experiments and laughed them off as bad propaganda. She hears stories as well. Her new family WANTS her to memorize the names of all the Rabbits, to know their stories, to know enough to TELL the story to others. They know that not everyone will survive; they are realistic to know that before the end of the war many more will die. But they hold on to the hope that surely a few will survive. And for those few, they have the responsibility, the duty, to tell the world.
The book is in journal format, for the most part. Rose Under Fire is a companion novel to Code Name Verity. It was an impressive read.
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews