In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
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.
I may have geeked out quite a bit when I was contacted and asked to review this book. I absolutely love Hannah’s books. They are such amazing stories. I haven’t read one that I haven’t cried through.
This book reminded me a lot of Winter Garden, one of my favorites by Hannah. Set in a different time, in a different country. Each with a woman who did incredible things, well beyond what was expected or accepted in her era.
Not only did the fact that Hanna wrote this book attract me to it, but also that it is set in France. We all know my love affair for France. And we are now less than two years away for my trip with dad to France. Squeeee! But I didn’t know much about what happened in France during this time. I was never much one for history, but I’m getting better. Books like this make me want to do more research.
I recently wrote a post about listening vs. reading. As Hannah started this book, setting the scene for the war, I wasn’t so sure I would love it like the others. It took me quite a while to get so into it I couldn’t put it down. And then I wondered if I would have enjoyed this one better if I would have listened. I just imagine it being read in a beautiful French accent. But then I got to the point where it didn’t matter how I read this book, I was going to love it anyway.
Hannah has a magical way of telling stories, no matter how tragic or heartbreaking. You become one with the characters and care so much about them, you can’t stop reading because you have to know what is coming next.
Although this story is filled with war and tragedy, hate and death, it’s a beautiful story about love and family and how you can find strength at the most desperate times in your life. You will leave a piece of your heart on each page.
I give The Nightingale 5 out of 5 bookmarks.