Bletchley Park, the mansion where Oxford dons and crossword puzzlers cracked the German Enigma code, was so shrouded in secrecy that mentioning you worked there could land you in prison. In The Rose Code (15.5 hours), historical novelist Kate Quinn vividly conjures Bletchley through the tale of three unlikely friends from very different backgrounds: socialite Osla, social climber Mab and antisocial Beth. Quinn blends rich characterization, fast pacing and meticulous historical research to tell a story of friendship, tragic betrayal and treason.
Award-winning narrator Saskia Maarleveld gives life to each of the friends, using realistic accents to underscore the class differences that would have made their friendship impossible in any other scenario. All the other characters, no matter how minor, receive Maarleveld’s full devotion as well, as she taps into the novel’s wide-ranging cast to audibly re-create the complexity and chaos of war-torn Britain. Her deep, husky, mysterious voice is perfect for a story that, after all, centers on an Enigma.
The Rose Code is a terrific story, brilliantly performed. Or as Osla would say, it’s a real corker!