BOOK REVIEW: The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
ABOUT THE BOOK (from Amazon):
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.
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I had this book on my list years ago when it first came out. I just couldn’t motivate myself to read it because it’s sooo long! It’s 608 pages (the audiobook format is 17+ hours). After two friends recommended it recently, I decided it was time!
Having read it now, I totally understand the hype about this book and the author, Kristin Hannah. This book and Hannah’s writing are both beautiful. The story is so incredibly emotional (heart-wrenching!) that I didn’t know if I would be able to say I liked it in the end. But the way that she wraps things up in the end left me with enough of a sense of relief that I was able to enjoy it.
Although I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction (or long books—ha!), I’m glad I read this book. I don’t know that I’ll be up for another Kristin Hannah book any time soon. I’ll need to recover with some more light-hearted content, but eventually I will want to read more of her work.