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Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The NightingaleIn love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

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 France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

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 the compelling and mysterious 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. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII 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.Add to Goodreads

It’s not often that I go out of my way to find some piece of women’s fiction, but after reading another of this author’s books, I couldn’t resist trying another one.

Based in France during WWII, this book tells the stories of two sisters who can be more different and how the war affects them. I’ll admit, I struggled to get into the book initially. I’m not sure what it was about this book, but something kept me from really enjoying it. Perhaps it was the author’s constant use of cliches or the obsession with food during this story. Although, I suppose for someone who is starving, food would be an important aspect of their everyday thoughts. But for the author to be describing what a character is cooking, it’s annoying. Especially when it conflicts the constant description of these women wasting away from lack of food.

Ignoring all of that, I did enjoy the overall story. I had to overlook a lot of the inconsistencies and the fact it was far from historically accurate. But when I went into this, I wasn’t looking for something that would be historically accurate. I wanted a story that would touch me and this story manages to achieve that. Though there were issues, I was intrigued by Vianne’s and Isabelle’s lives throughout the war, especially considering how different their paths were.

This is the kind of story that will leave you in need of a Kleenex and even though it’s far from perfect, I think you might find it to be a lovely tale of love and sacrifice during a time when the world was tearing itself apart. There are some touchy subject matters that are broached through this story, but I think the author did a decent enough job of trying to not make light of the situations of the people who lived during World War II.

Maybe this isn’t the best book ever, but I think this was a decent enough story that I found it to be enjoyable. It’s the kind of book that gives you a range of mixed feelings and it makes you think. So it’s not perfect, but I still liked it well enough. Sue me.

Disclaimer: If you are looking for a historical fiction story that is historically accurate, this is not the book for you.



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About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

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