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 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 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.
My Review - 4 1/2
Kristin Hannah is a favourite author, one I usually read the new right away and I am still working my way through others I haven't read yet. I downloaded this one right away but due to historical content I continued to procrastinate, it's just not my genre of choice and didn't want to be let down since I am a fan. I have to say almost throughout the whole book Kristin H kept me engaged, I was feeling a solid 4 stars and then bringing it all together and the ending........ WOW. I was in tears and couldn't stop crying, she pushed my emotional buttons. And this is what I think she is a master at.
At times I thought the story moved slowly but it continued to move us forward and I wanted to know what was next, do we get to see the war end in the story, what happens to this family - father, daughter and sister, a complex story but beautiful. It may have seemed like a dysfunctional family but in the end you realize love forces you to make decisions that others won't understand, sometimes until it is to late. With war you never have enough time, being in the moment is the time.
I enjoyed all the characters, not having a favourite, what amazing souls. So many memorable scenes. I loved the adventure of Isabelle. I respected the choices Vianne made as a mother and loyal friend especially as Germans invaded her home and made it theirs. I enjoyed the suspense of their father. The loves in their lives touched my heart and the children were heartbreaking with the innocence and glimmer of light in the dark, sad, bloody war.
Early on someone said to Isabelle, ah, a nightingale. Her last name meant nightingale. This observation had me puzzled as throughout the most of the book during the war, the German's were searching for the amazing Nightingale, which was her codename. Do you think it was the fact that she was a woman and they never could consider a woman being that strong mentally and physically? This just seemed a little far fetched for me.
I can see why this gem made so many bloggers favourite list, it was the perfect execution from beginning to end, capturing all issues. Even though historical is not my thing, this was beautiful and Kristin Hannah truly showed her talent, gaining new fans for sure but still not letting her loyal fans down, remarkable to me.