The Rose Code


Kate Quinn

If you have ever heard of Bletchley Park, then you might enjoy The Rose Code by Kate Quinn.  This novel is about three women who were recruited to the famous codebreaking compound during World War II.  Each woman comes from a different background and brings different skills to the table.  One speaks German, one is a genius at crossword puzzles and the other is surprisingly good at operating Alan Turning’s early computer.

Two of the three characters are based on real people – one of whom was the wartime girlfriend of Prince Phillip.  Another character is based on a woman who ultimately returned to Bletchley Park after it reopened in 2014 to share her stories with visitors.  The remaining character is a composite of two women, one of whom had a mental breakdown and was taken to an asylum at the request of MI-5. 

While this book includes love stories and the trials and tribulations of friendship during war, it also brings to life the story of this amazing place where the people worked in secrecy to crack the famous German Enigma machine.  The movie – The Imitation Game – also tells the story of Bletchley Park but from the perspective of the brilliant Alan Turing.  The efforts and success of the people at Bletchley Park are credited with shortening the war and saving hundreds of thousands of lives.  When Bletchley Park closed, all former employees were sworn to utmost secrecy.  Women who became wives and mothers never told their families, including their spouses about their contributions to the War.

Bletchley Park is an easy train ride outside of London and a “must see” tourist attraction because the program contributed not only to the war efforts, but also because Alan Turing’s work laid the foundation for computers.  If neither of these statements are intriguing enough to get you to visit, then it might interest you to know that Kate Middleton’s – yes, that Kate Middleton – grandmother worked at Bletchley Park.  I found potential relatives on the roster as well.  If you don’t plan on getting to London anytime soon, then learn about Bletchley Park through The Rose Code.  I give The Rose Code an enthusiastic FIVE STARS!