Review: The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

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Last Updated on March 30, 2023 by Mary Elle

I’m not sure how I found The Rose Code. It’s the first book I’ve read by author Kate Quinn. Not knowing what to expect, and a little skeptical about the length of the book (it’s a long one!), I dived into it anyway.

I’m so glad I did.

Here’s my review , where you’ll find out a little bit more about The Rose Code, about the author and most importantly, what I thought of this book. Did I think it’s a read, a re-read, or a reconsider?

Stay with me for a bit to find out.

the rose code

The Rose Code is an interesting historical fiction novel published by author Kate Quinn in March 2021.

Yes, I’m actually writing this review over a year after the original publication date and the date that I actually first read this book. You’ll find out why later…

Kate Quinn is an American New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction.

For some reason, Kate just wasn’t on my reading radar until The Rose Code was published in 2021. I’m not really sure why.

Publishers Synopsis of The Rose Code

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to the mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, a product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer…

The Rose Code – What I Liked Loved

Yep, I don’t usually say “loved” here in this section. And it’s not a typo that I forgot to remove!

But when the word “loved” is appropriate, nothing else will suffice.

So, The Rose Code is set in England (mostly) during the WWII years and also slightly after them in 1947. Historical fiction set in this time period is one of my favorite genres.

The story is centered around Bletchley Park and the code-breaking that happened there during WWII. I’m completely fascinated by Bletchley Park and just can’t learn enough about it.

This book was so specific in describing what happened at Bletchley, and in describing the code-breaking machines and how they looked, worked, and sounded, that I was constantly Googling facts about them along with images so I could really visualize in my mind what they were talking about.

There were three main female characters that were all endearing in their own way. I felt a special connection of some sort to all of them.

Despite the fact that in general, The Rose Code was about some very dismal times in our history, I still felt it to be somewhat of an uplifting book in a way, probably because of the connection I felt with the characters.

This is a fast-paced book and I couldn’t put it down.

This book is complete with romance, wartime espionage, treason, suspense, and top-secret jobs carried out by characters I loved, and these things combined will just sweep you away while showing you the incredible sacrifices made by the very talented real codebreakers of Bletchley Park.

The Rose Code – What I Didn’t Like

I loved every single part of this book. I can’t think of any single thing that I disliked.

The Rose Code – Read, ReRead or Reconsider

And now for my 3 Rs of book reviews. Read, ReRead or Reconsider?


For me, this one is a ReRead! It’s a long, complicated book that was excellent the first time I read it. I’m rereading it to fully savor the intricacies of the book and I’m uncovering tidbits that I sort of missed on the first read.

I recently read The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn, and it wasn’t until after I read that one that I felt compelled to reread The Rose Code and review them both.

I highly recommend The Rose Code.

You can check out The Rose Code along with other books by Kate Quinn on the Kate Quinn Amazon author page.

And if you’re looking for more in this genre, then head over and explore more historical fiction now.

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