The Rose Code
by Kate Quinn
The principal characters are socialite Osla Kendall (who dated Prince Phillip), London east-ender Mad Churt, and shy Beth Finch. Osla and Mad room with the Finch family while working at Bletchley Park. (Bletchley Park is the home of England’s WWII military code-breaking activities.) Beth Finch is under the total control of her mother. In her 20’s but nicknamed “mother’s little helper”, she has an extraordinary gift for solving crosswords and various puzzles. Osla and Mad recognize Beth’s gift and convince her to seek a position at Bletchley Park. Eventually Beth discovers there is a spy in their midst at Bletchley.
Beth is committed to Clockwell Sanitarium when she suffers a mental breakdown and spends 3 ½ years in the institution. When there is talk about Beth undergoing a lobotomy, she reaches out to Osla and Mad to help her escape. There is one more item to encrypt in order to uncover the spy at Bletchley. Others who had worked at Bletchley come together to help.
There is so much to this novel including the backdrop of the 1947 wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. This is the book for lovers of WWII fiction with strong female characters.
It’s interesting to note that Kate Middleton’s grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, and great aunt Mary worked at Bletchley. Both were Foreign Office Civilians in the Cover Management Y section, which managed the interception of enemy signals for decryption at Bletchley Park.