genre: young adult historical fiction
Rose is an American innocent. Young and full of life, she arrives in Britain to help in the war effort by being a transport pilot. When her fellow pilots tell her stories - give her glimpses of the concentration camp rumors, she has a hard time swallowing them. How could that sort of cruelty exist, really?
When bad luck and Rose's own choices lead to tragedy, our innocent Rose is plunged headfirst into that reality. Finding herself detained in the Ravensbruk concentration camp, she manages to make a place for herself among a diverse group of women whose spirit will buoy her up almost as much as the poetry in her mind.
I am so, so glad that I listened to this amazing story. My husband can't understand how I can keep reading books about the horrors of World War 2, but for me - every story is different. Yes, I KNOW there is going to be horrible, horrible things. But our world is actually full of horrible things that have really happened. And every character (or real person) has such a unique story to tell and nearly always there is so much for me to learn about perseverance and humanity in the face of horror and, most of all, hope. I really liked that this story didn't end when the war ended - I liked that it took us to that horrible place of AFTER - the essential PTSD that these women suffered after finding freedom. It felt so real to me - and their relationships with each other were so inspiring.
Yes, listen to (or read, but I HIGHLY recommend listening to) Code Name Verity first. It's not essential at all to appreciate the book but it is SO DANG GOOD and I liked this one even better, I think, if that's possible. I loved the themes of flying and hope, I loved the supporting characters in the camp and their voices are so well done on the audiobook. I love that this story reminds us that we can be strong when we need to, that we can find beauty and friendship even in a place like Ravensbruk, and that there are things so morally wrong that we just cannot do them, even if we know we'll be punished, so that we can at least have the peace of knowing we did right.