The Nightingale – by Kristin Hannah

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Paperback: 608 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin; (April 25 2017)

ISBN-13: 978-1250080400

Synopsis: France, 1939 – In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France―a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

* * * 

This book is beautiful – there is no other word that can be used to describe it, except beautiful. Kristin Hannah takes the reader on a journey through the Second World War in France and exemplifies the strength of the women who stayed at home while their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons were dragged into a war that would prove to be more deadly and dangerous than the last.

The Nightingale focuses on two sisters, Isabelle and Vianne, who are so different, yet so alike. They both deal with the War and subsequent Nazi invasion of France in their own way as they both look for a ray of light in a dark time in history. Both women are head strong and cleaver – they are enjoyable characters to follow and you immediately take a liking to both of them.  

Isabelle and Vianne’s stories are heartbreaking at times and happy at others, but at the core what this book does is show the lives of the women’s side of the war in France. I found this view and focus to be refreshing and different – it immediately got my attention. But it was the poetic beauty in the end that made me turn the last page with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes.

 Rating: 9.5/10

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