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153 Reviews
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119 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read for all
I absolutely loved this book. The book starts with Rosie, a young english woman, setting of to become an au pair in Avignon. This was in January 1939 and war with Germany was imminent. The book tells Rosie's true story; her imprisonment in two Nazi interment camps, her dramatic escape and struggle to get back to England. This is not a typical wartime story, it is...
Published on 30 April 2011 by AF

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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a heroine, more a nuisance.
Bored with her life, her boyfriend and her conventional life in London, Rosie decides in 1939, despite the signs that war is on its way, that she'll go and work in Europe as an au pair to a French family in Avignon. "Nothing would interfere with my life," she writes.

Although she has every opportunity to return to England before France is engulfed in war, she...
Published on 28 Jan. 2012 by Swizzlestick


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not your average war time saga, 24 Mar. 2012
By 
Miss J. M. Austin (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book tells the true story, as the description above says, of a young English woman trapped in Occupied France, who makes a plucky escape from a POW camp back to her home in England. The book was written by Rosemary herself, and completed by her daughter and son-in-law after her death in 1996. How though did a girl such as this, for when this all began, our heroine was just a girl, end up in war torn France in the first place?

The answer was that she wanted to escape the increasingly dull existence that she felt had been mapped out for her - a dead end job that she did not enjoy and a boyfriend that she did not love, but everyone expected her to marry. In search of adventure and a desire to "see the world", Rosemary applied to work in Germany as an au pair, but having been convinced that this is not a good idea, as war seems about to break out, she instead takes a job in Avignon, France, where she is to help look after three young children.

She soon settles into her new life and learning fluent French, becomes part of her new family. Blissfully unaware of how bad things are across the rest of Europe, and ignoring her families please for her to return home, she chooses to stay until it is almost too late to escape. She is persuaded to flee back to England through Paris on the Eve of the German's triumphal march into that city, and on arrival witnesses the spectacle as they march up the Champs Elysees. In fear of her life, with nowhere to stay and no way of earning money, she is forced to take a series of low or unpaid jobs in exchange for board and lodging, until one fateful day she is arrested and taken to a POW camp.

After several months in the one camp, she is transferred to a somewhat better one, a converted hotel known as Vittel, which we later learnt acted as a staging post for Jews being transferred across Europe for execution. Eventually with the help of her fellow inmate Frida, she hatches a bold plot to escape, this time via the city of Marseilles in the Unoccupied Zone of France. During this time she is forced to rely on the goodwill of those within the French Resistance, going from safe house to safe house while awaiting her 'papers' as a Briton seeking repatriation. After several months, the papers finally come through and she journeys home via Spain and Portugal where she becomes a temporary celebrity.

This is an abbreviated version of what is a much more detailed story, and really just skims over the surface of what was an incredible and very moving book. Although I work with the elderly, and my own parents were of that same generation, meeting later in life, I still know very little about this part of history, as I did not study the subject past the age of 14, so it helped to put the flesh on the bones of many of the stories that I have been told and really brought home to life just how brave those men and women were and are, who fought so that we could have our freedom. This is not your average war time saga, for it is written from a woman's perspective without the blood and the guts and the violence that is so prevalent in other books of this genre. It is though no less real. In many ways it is more so, for what it does detail are the emotions that the young Rosemary experiences. It is those emotions and those feelings that make us what we are, and that colour our future in ways that most do not begin to understand.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rosie's War, 13 April 2011
Amidst the mountain of books on ww2, this one stands out as a personal account of an English girl's experiences escaping from a German camp in occupied France. I enjoyed the fact that it was told in the voice of a young woman rather than from a wider historical perspective so that you feel you are there. Although quite short (270 pages) it is packed with fascinating detail of what it was like to travel through wartime France and leaves one wanting to know more.

David James
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable, 21 Sept. 2011
This is a great read. The writers capture the experience of young Rosie well - combining the mixture of being bewildered, naive, optimistic and scared well. It is an intriguing story which keeps you intrigued. The text is well illustrated with copies of documents from the time.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Story of an anti-heroine, 26 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Rosie's War: An Englishwoman's Escape From Occupied France (Kindle Edition)
Readable narrative which includes lesser known episode of fate of English and Commonwealth passport holders in Occupied France. Like previous reviewer swizzlestick I couldn't warm to the central character. Using skills honed at boarding school and her indomitable will to help her cope she survives the experience, but working on her stories for 'dining out' in subsequent years seems to have left them petrified in a teenage self centred mode. It is perhaps this which makes her tale seem so self-centred and seemingly unaware of the very real risks and consequences for all those who helped her.
There are real little gems of story telling though and I would really like to read about the Nancy Wake who does seem to be a genuine heroine. The quoted comment"'You keep that trap shut, my dear" she said Her round jolly face suddenly looked wary." speaks reams of her assessment of Rosie!!

Update 31/03.12 - notice there is a revised biography about ' Britain's greatest war heroine' The White Mouse aka Nancy Wake by Peter Fitzsimons on kindle pre order for 1st April.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Account, 15 Jan. 2013
By 
Miss (Leeds, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rosie's War: An Englishwoman's Escape From Occupied France (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. It's a well written autobiographical account of Rosie's time in France. There's no "oh woe is me" stuff, as clearly so many were suffering far worse fates, but it gave me a real insight into the plight of ordinary people stuck in the wrong place.
I was sad to learn that Rosie had died during the writing of the book and am grateful to her family for having worked on it with her and seen the project through.
Highly recommended.
Thank you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ROSIE'S WAR, 7 Jan. 2012
By 
Amanda "sac" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rosie's War: An Englishwoman's Escape From Occupied France (Kindle Edition)
An interesting and informative book. Rosie was a young girl who in 1939 went to live in France as an au pair just before the break out of second world war. This is the harrowing and true story of Rosie's life as she tries to escape from France, her capture and subsequent time as a prisoner in two camps,along with her battles to return to England.
It is always a very humbling experience to hear of the bravery of people like Rosie. A worthy read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colourful and interesting, 17 Dec. 2012
By 
Tibblington "NSG" (Liorac-sur-Louyre, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rosie's War: An Englishwoman's Escape From Occupied France (Kindle Edition)
I wanted to read this book as we have a 93 year old English friend still living in France having arrived there to be an au-pair aged 19. Our friend lived in the Bergerac area throughout the war and it was interesting to compare the description of her life at that time with that of Rosie. The book gives graphic descriptions of the ghastly in a German internment camp and how group spirit saw the internees through the awful conditions they were made to suffer. Subsequently, for propaganda reasons, a large number of the group were moved to an hotel in another part of France from where Rosie and a friend successfully escaped and ultimately make the journey across France to Spain and eventually Portugal from where they are repatriated via Eire. I have only awarded four stars as, for me, the book seemed to be slighly drawn out with material which was not really a necessary part of the story. However it is a book I can recommend.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rosie's War, 13 Oct. 2011
I loved this book - and, a rare occurrence, I am actually going to read it again! I was slightly apprehensive about the way it was all coming across during the Prologue - but then a few pages later in Part One and right to the end I was hooked. To be given an insight into the life of a young British woman being caught up in France when war breaks out with Germany and then to be taken prisoner was riveting. Her escape was what films are made of! And all true. A highly recommended read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, iritating read, 27 Mar. 2012
By 
B. Farnan "Bub" (Original Washington) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rosie's War: An Englishwoman's Escape From Occupied France (Kindle Edition)
I have just finished reading this book and all I can feel is annoyance. This young self centred girl pleased herself and put so many brave people at risk because she didnt want to leave Paris as she was having such a good time.

I just felt irritated all the while reading this book. Finally, she whinges on about repaying all the money she was given for flights, rail travel and hotel bills. What a thoughtless spoilt young girl much less a heroinne!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 19 Oct. 2013
By 
J. A. West (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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Disappointed by both the style of the book and the main character. The story is told in the first person without emotion and is just a narrative of "I did this, then I went there". The main character is hardly a "heroine" - she gets herself into the predicament through procrastination and then just looks out for herself. No doubt an unpleasant experience but as a fluent french speaker, even the escape didn't seem that gruelling - perhaps this a failing of the telling.

Like Swizzlestick I was amazed that she baulked at refunding the money advanced to her by the British government,enabling her to live a comfortable and social life in Marseilles.

An interesting tale, but a quick read and not that gripping.
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