Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah

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 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.(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Vianne and Isabelle are two sisters living in France during World War II. The Nightingale is the story about the decisions each made to survive this very terrible time period.

Kristin Hannah has a unique ability of being able to take an achingly sad story and still write it with some beauty and hope. The characters felt so real and my heart broke for both of them. So much of what they experienced and saw was devastating - the cruel behavior of the Nazis, the loss of friends and family members, starvation and brutality. Yet each sister persevered and chose living over surrender.

I must say, there were times when I cried over this story. But because of the way it was written, it was very powerful. This is one of those stories I reflect on, even days after I finished it. So typical of Ms. Hannah’s writing.

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, via netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

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