The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Each month you will make a post with three books from your TBR List (these books can be already on your kindle or shelf or books you might want to purchase) and add your link on the linky that will be provided on my post. Your followers and the people on the linky will help you choose which book you will read next. The following Saturday you will announce the book that won. Then read the book and on the last Saturday of the month post a review. MY TBR List is hosted by Michelle (Because Reading) so be sure to stop by her post to link up and vote for everyone!
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 15, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Historical
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 top thoughts:
I seriously regret stalling so long to read this book! First, it was loaned to me by a coworker who had found out I liked to read, but I don’t tend to be into WWII historical stories. Then, it’s a BIG BOOK so it just looked intimidating. But thankfully y’all voted it for me to read in July’s TBR list and even though I stalled so long that I’m reading it only in time for August’s TBR review post, you forced me to finally start it. And OMG once I did! It’s one of my top books of 2021! I clearly need to get out of my own way with big books since they make up the majority of my favorite reads this year!
What I liked/didn’t like:
This story gripped me from the start. We spend the majority of the book in occupied France, from the start of WWII to the finish. One of the brilliant parts are the flashes to modern US (1995 I believe it was) that gives you small glimpses of one of the characters after the war.
I LOVE the way this book focuses on the female experience of WWII. I know that the Jewish experience is important – and definitely factors into the story in a huge way. I know that the male, soldier experience is important – and again, it shows up. But I think we’ve heard those stories so prominently and these stories – the story of the mother trying to protect her family, provide food and clothing, and survive the occupation with a soldier forcibly living in her home. And the story of the young girl determined to make a difference, using the very fact that females weren’t suspected to be part of the underground revolution and save allied soldiers – those are not stories we’ve heard a lot.
The reason I don’t tend to enjoy WWII stories are that they have so much brutality in them and that’s just hard to read. The Nightingale does not skim over that brutality. It’s very much present and made me anxious, upset, angry, and sad. But, what I will say for Kristin Hannah is that she managed to tell the story in such a way that you never lost hope. Not just because I knew WWII would eventually end, but because of the flashes to the future, you have every reason to hope and believe the characters you love will survive. I appreciated that hope balancing out the brutality.
A favorite read for 2021 and I am super excited to see that it will be a movie (starring the Dakota sisters!) in 2022. I think it will make a fantastic movie and I look forward to convincing Kiko to watch it 🙂