In 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.

5 emotionally tear jerking stars. The Nightingale was such a realistic portrayal as it transported me back in time to France during World War II. I felt like I lived the experiences of sisters Vianne and Isabelle.

I loved the way the author portrayed the ups and downs of the sibling relationship, told in dual POV by each sister. The story started off with 75 year old Vianne looking back on her life as she faces terminal cancer. She then tells her story. Isabelle, the younger sister, tells her story in the present, from the POV of an 18 year old. The two perspectives on the war are polar opposites, but I loved that I could empathize with the views of both sisters.

Vianne and Isabelle showed incredible resilience in vastly different ways. They were both strong while they dealt with the war on their own terms. Isabelle dealt with it by becoming angry, bitter and eventually took the decision to join the Resistance. However, I liked her the entire time, even when she was angry, because I saw her as very ballsy and spunky.

On the other hand Vianne was passive and accepting of the whole situation. Vianne let fear consume her until she saved the life of her friend’s son, which was the significant turning point of her journey. Vianne took in her friend Rachel’s son after Rachel, a Jew, was deported. After saving his life, Vianne saw a need in society and went on to save the lives of 20 Jewish children by providing them with false identification papers and names. She found a purpose, her niche. Until that point I felt disappointed in her as she was a bit of a pushover. I liked witnessing her transformation as she became the woman she always had the potential to be.

The ending was incredibly moving with an interesting twist. I was crying, but am a sucker for a tear jerker and it was so well done.

Rec this? HIGHLY! The author’s narrative style was superb and she used poetic story telling, including onomatopoeia, which made it easy to identify with these characters. One of my all time favorites.

Book Rating Breakdown
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