The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah REVIEW

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. As the war progresses, the sisters' relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions. ​​Hardcover, 1st Edition, 440 pages Published February 3rd 2015 by St. Martin's Press ​Current GoodReads Rating: 4.53 Stars

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This was my local book club’s January Book of the Month. It was recommended my one of the fellow avid readers in our group and we all took interest after her enthusiastic recommendation. I’m so glad we did.

The Nightingale was so visually intoxicating that you felt like you were a part of the story. Every detail was thought out, well-constructed, and became so powerful in its delivery. The small details were my favorite. For example, when each sister had decided to defy the Germans at different times during the story, on their treks home with the illegal contraband (that could have gotten them killed), the German that was billeted in their home at the time insisted on carrying it home for them and almost caught them right then. It had a bit of suspense that had your heart racing, but mainly the depth and shared connection that resonated with you. The characters shared mutual tragedies and one common threat. These two sisters were a small representation of all the women in the war that lived this dangerous life and had to make life or death choices trying to do what they thought was right for their family and their country. These two sisters were a great embodiment of the extremes, different paths and life choices everyone was faced with when trying to help. You had the unattached, more daring sister then the mother and wife that had deep roots and each decision she made was based on her family’s well-being. They both went beyond their comfort zones and gave everything they had to save their country. The Nightingale was a beautiful and gripping story. It was hard to put down and I will most likely be picking it back up to read several times over. It grounded me to see how spoiled we are in America and how free I have always been. If I ever feel like I’ve taken it for granted, I’ll be thinking of this story. The author told a gruesome, heart-wrenching story and made it relatable, which makes it memorable. This review feels more like my thoughts about the war than the writing style of the author, but that is such a compliment. She made this story very real and personal and created a passion towards a subject I barely knew about. We are a wide mix of individuals ranging in age from 25-70 years old with some people who prefer the romance or murder genre and others who prefer non-fiction, so it is very rare when we all come together with positive praise for a book. We had a few World War II buffs that deemed this a very enjoyable read as well as myself that enjoyed math more than history in school and didn’t even know when the war was or who participated in it. That being said, I wish I would have been assigned this book in school, I fell into the war through this story and learned more from this book than I had ever took out of history class in school. Also, this book created a curiosity in me to find out the full history to this war and I did some research after finishing the book. I did find an earlier author interview when I was doing research to find out if the book was based off a true story (which it is), but you can read her whole explanation on the woman behind the story here: I did hear a rumor in our group that this author writes a book every year, but did not release one last year because she had started to create the screenwriting for this book to become a movie. I immediately can picture this becoming a classic and might compare it to the Titanic movie, with a single woman in the present day recounting her memories of a part of her life she had tried to bury down and hide. I would love to see this in a screen adaptation and will keep you posted when I find out more about a release date and the casting for the movie.


- What were your thoughts on the book?

- Which sister do you think you could relate to more? I definitely see myself more as a Vianne than an Isabelle and I only see very few people in my life that I could envision having the gusto that Isabelle held.

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