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In love we find out who we want to beIn war we find out who we areFRANCE 1939In the uiet village of Carriveau Vianne Mauriac says good bye to her husband Antoine as he heads for the Front She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade Francebut 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 reuisitions 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 aliveVianne’s sister Isabelle is a rebellious eighteen year old searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war she meets Gaëtan a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France and she falls in love as only the young cancompletely But when he betrays her Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back risking her life time and again to save othersWith courage grace and powerful insight bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II 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

10 thoughts on “The Nightingale

  1. says:

    I really tried you guys There was even a 20% period when my standards were reduced so low from the previous 70% that I thought maybe maybe 2 But the last 10% was offensive Yes I said offensive Review later And by review I mean bitch rant fest People keep asking me how I didn’t like this book Honestly I want to ask them how they didNever have I ever read a book by such a clueless air headed authorAnd I actually don’t even mean that to be mean or to pick on KH It’s just that uite frankly those are the truest words to describe what was obviously in Hannah’s mind when she wrote this book nothingShe forgets what she writes a chapter a page a paragraph hell in a few instances even one sentence earlier Examples? Mais oui but of course 1 She forgets to age characters this in the first chapter Isabelle is 4 and Vianne is 14 when their mother dies Vianne is taken crying to Le Jardin and falls in love At 16 she’s pregnant at 17 she has a miscarriage Then of her miscarriage Hannah writes “She’d crawled into her grief and cocooned it around her unable to care about anyone or anything—certainly not a needy wailing four year old sister”2 She forgets the weather Isabelle treks out of the house pre dawn in “knee deep snow” and then steals a bicycle that same morning from an SS officer who is across the street in a cafe Okay so I’m from Ottawa which in 2015 was the coldest capital ON EARTH I’ll PRETEND you can actually ride a bicycle in “knee deep” snow you can’t But Isabelle takes the bike straight to Henri’s apartment to hide it—I’m sorry but TRACKS??? The SS officer will walk out of the cafe see the missing bikeand see tire marks that lead straight to the French Resistance headuarters Or do you want to tell me people were plowing the streets in this village of a 1000 people?3 She forgets the season Winter temperatures Isabelle climbs over a rose covered wall WHICH to be fair to Hannah I live in Tuscany where roses do grow on some mild winter days But roses certainly are not growing in Carriveau in the wintertime because4 She forgets CLIMATE Again I’m from Ottawa Hannah’s descriptions of this French winter in her imaginary town in the Loire Valley seem to be inspired by the Arctic Tundra because she’s got wait for it ARE YOU READY? knee deep snow hail ice rain sleet frosted windows “ice sheened glass” and “frost limned windows” “she didn’t want to go out into the cold white world again she stepped over the threshold and out into the snowstorm” “Bending forward angling into the wind she trudged through the wet heavy snow hit the ground cracked her head on the snow covered step”5 She forgets where her characters are placed in one instance Vianne exits her bedroom in the middle of the night to write down the Jewish children’s names on the kitchen table then finishes her job leans back thinks about her own kids for a bitthen reaches out and strokes her sleeping children’s heads then cuddles in bed with them6 She forgets when characters have no money Vianne stuffs newspaper print in her coat for extra warmth and gets a tin can of oil in the ueuebut has money to just hop on a train to see Isabelle in prison Forget the permits she would need since by then ALL OF FRANCE was occupiedShe also doesn’t seem to understand the definition of several key words in her novel refugee garden village poor REFUGEE is NOT local inhabitants of a city under attack fleeing to distant relatives in the countryside or neighboring towns or lodging in hotels in the countryside or neighboring towns I also took a lot of issue with how Hannah describes these fleeing locals 1 Chaos Dust Crowds The street was a living breathing dragon of humanity inching forward wheezing dirt honking horns; people yelling for help babies crying and the smell of sweat heavy in the air2 like flotsam in the reeds of a muddy river3 Like a thousand legged centipede the crowd moved forward into the great hall Side rant as for this “thousand legged centipede” does she perhaps mean a MILLIPEDE?4 The refugees who had arrived before her would have moved through the town like locusts buying every foodstuff on the shelves5 clothes so tattered and patched she was reminded of the war refugees who’d so recently shuffled through Paris hoarding cigarettes and bits of paper and empty bottles begging for change or help Isabelle when meeting Gaetan—notice how she’s not part of these “war refugees” even though SHE WAS6 There were dozens of people in her yard; mostly women and children moving like a pack of hungry wolves Their voices melded into a single desperate growl7 The crowd surged around him like water around a rockNotice how they’re allnot human? Lumped into a collective beast a dragon rushing water millipede pack of growling hungry wolves that is THE REFUGEES? But what’s sickening about all of this is that Isabelle was part of them and yet never once does Hannah include her in these ominous descriptions of dun dun dun dunnnnn THE REFUGEES Instead she was getting kissed by the handsome Gaetan because she’s above the smelliness of refugee status apparently Also we’re reminded three times throughout the book that “the refugees” broke Vianne’s gate This kind of language that dehumanizes refugees needs to stop GARDEN Le Jardin is supposedly a garden and literally means “The Garden” in French But this “garden” is a fucking farm because in a 1940 French village it has chickens rabbits both plural a stone wall covering all of it a BARN with a car inside it and ANOTHER cellar a hill with a “hillside between the garden and the barn” and is so big that Isabelle can come in the middle of the night with three communists and move the car in the barn and hide a dead body and Vianne inside at home HEARS NOTHING More implausible still even after the wall was torn down not ONE of the poor starving French people broke in to steal her fruits vegetables and live stock VILLAGE This village of 1000 people has Nazis SS and Gestapo and a networked train system POOR Part I Seriously guys what class were these people? Farmers? Because they own a farm Village people? Nope because they have expensive silverware Limoges plates Alençon lace original impressionist paintings and a spare bedroom Let’s break down the math Isabelle is 19 in 1939 She is 10 years younger than Vianne So Vianne was born in approx 1910 Which meansdespite a dead mother a drunk absent father throughout her entire life growing up in WWI living through the GREAT DEPRESSION that followed getting pregnant at 16 and going to university while pregnant according to Hannah miraculously her and her parents had money they live in a house a mile away from a village of 1000 people keep in mind for a car and to put both girls in university A car a property with an acre of land university for both daughters—I mean I’m jealous here in 2016 Isabelle is bilingual and knows how to drive a car and is 19 years old and still in boarding schools in 1940 France LEARNING TO CUT AN ORANGE I just can’t stress the time period enough Getting kicked out no less for failing to learn how to cut an orange At 19 So then who taught her English if her school was so worthless? I doubt it was her dead mother or absent father To say nothing of the fact that back then at 19 you should be married POOR Part II During the war they were eating cats and rats People were stealing bread There was nothing Salt was precious as gold and used for preserving food NEVER for seasoning it Some examples of starvation during wartime poverty in this book1 but what about the coming winter? How could Sophie stay healthy without meat or milk or cheese? Because bread vegetables and fruits were in abundance in wartime winters 2 She had sold off her family’s treasures one by one a painting to feed the rabbits and chickens through the winter EAT THE FUCKING RABBITS This is Europe in the 1940s for fuck’s sake Eat the goddamn rabbits3 Moments later she carried out a heavy ceramic tray bearing the fried fish surrounded by the pan roasted vegetables and preserved lemons all of it enhanced with fresh parsley The tangy lemony sauce in the bottom of the pan swimming with crusty brown bits could have benefited from butter but still it smelled heavenly Wartime poverty euals no butter got it3 “There is no food here in the city Isabelle People are raising Guinea pigs for food You will be comfortable in the country where there are gardens” As long as you have a garden you’re fine4 Vianne began finely chopping the mutton She added a precious egg to the mix and stale bread then seasoned it with salt and pepperThis book read like a Mediterranean slim fast diet and a vintage fashion catalog than anything else Other than Hannah constantly saying how much they were losing weight and starving and going without I would never have known Take away her adjectives like stale and precious and it’s fucking gourmetIf this book wasn’t so heavily inspired by Andrée De Jongh I might not be so harsh on it But it is So yes a woman who WAS a war hero after working for the Red Cross who set up the Comet Line with her father went to a concentration camp survived—for Hannah to sentimentalise her life the way she did it IS offensive By focusing so heavily on Isabelle’s beauty and having Isabelle’s beauty be the reason she so easily slides past the Nazis even Isabelle admits this Hannah is actually ROBBING De Jongh of her strength courage power heroism And I have a bone to pick with Hannah the real Andrée De Jongh was not blond I find it wrong for a blond American author to take a real woman change her short curly black hair and add long blond hair instead hair so pretty when Beck comments on it SHE CUTS IT OFF and then start saying she’s “impossibly beautiful” Especially in a book about WWII where Hitler was prejudiced to anyone who was not of blond hair blue eyed Aryan race What the hell??This book is no historical fiction than Disney is a true retelling of the Brothers Grimm stories Which gets even WORSE when you start looking at what Hannah opted to change from the real De Jongh No mention of a spouse in later life or during the war effort is mentioned for De Jongh She survived the concentration camp and lived until she was 90 She began establishing the Comet Line after she first worked in the Red Cross ie she didn’t scribble a V on a poster and hand out fliers and BAM hiked Pyrenees In contrast Hannah gives Isabelle daddy issues has her begin working for the rebels to impress a love interest then has her die contentedly in her lover’s arms What’s so astounding and disturbing is that all the things that Hannah changed about De Jongh were the things that made De Jongh strong powerful resilient caring heroicThen there is the writing styleThe number of times that Hannah repeated the same mediocre turn of phrase had me feeling like she was just enad with her own writing Which was sad because the oft repeated turns of phrase were mediocre at best rendered embarrassing after oh the fifth time How many times does a car horn “aah oo gah”? How many times do characters note the black markings on the wall where pictures used to hang? Hint one time too many How many times is something “was all she could say”? Seven times too many Note to Hannah if that’s all a character says it goes without saying that that’s all she could say How many times do people “tent” their hands over their eyes? The French words peppering this novel were the most generic one word expressions oui merde that felt like Hannah couldn't be bothered to consult a French editor so she stuck with the most basic words Merde is not the go to French cuss either Nor is it especially not the ONLY French cuss word eitherSimiles that mix senses abound — “roses tumbling like laughter” is just ONE example Clouds are stretched tight as clotheslines — it goes on The result was for me a very cartoonish book with clothesline hanger clouds complete with clothes flapping laughing roses and a Roger Rabbit cameo every time a horn “aah oo gahs” And in fact Hannah thought her little aah oo gah was so clever that she even turned it in one instance into a verb Aah oo gahed I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried you guys Think that’s not so bad? In the middle of a detailed rape scene we have ladies and gents He kicked the door shut with his booted foot and then shoved her up against the wall She made an ooph as she hit This is exactly the kind of sentimental senseless ridiculous bullshit chick lit writing that is PRECISELY why men make fun of chick lit and what basically sets feminism back about a leap year or threeThen there was what I can only describe as empty calorie description The only flowers Hannah seems to know of are jasmines and roses Every time there is a group of people a baby wails and women cryscream Every Bloody TimeVianne sat down beside Sophie She thought about their old life—laughter kisses family suppers Christmas mornings lost baby teeth first words This is a generic description of motherhood that I a non mother could have come up with I could go on about the idyllic descriptions of France in WWII All I’ll say is seriously just pick up a vintage hat catalogue and French magazine and you’ve got the best of KH’s The Nightingale We’re talking picnics with checkered blankets brimmed hats aprons pencil skirts berets The book was a fashion show really The anachronisms were so bad too that it felt like watching a shoddily done play where the only thing historical is the fashion Expressions like “I’m pretty sure” and “bombed the hell out of” make appearancesAm I being too harsh? I could just be a little pissed of still from the fucking bullshit that was the last two chapters of this trash bookSO this book is about two polar opposite sisters in Nazi occupied France Sounds brilliant Except it has fuck all to do with sisters It’s all romance All the book does is romanticise war You might be thinking but come on what’s wrong with adding romance in a war story?Honestly? NOTHINGSo why am I complaining that this is “romanticized”? Because Hannah uses war and tragedy in SERVICE of a romance It’s a backdrop a pretty set for a romance to play out just like the 5000000055 references to clothes hats and valises Hannah even uses a real women a real war hero to service her love storyIs this book really about two sisters learning to love each other? I wishIsabelle puts not just her sister but also her NIECE in jeopardy by bringing the downed airman into the barn She escapes Vianne stays behind What happens when Isabelle receives a letter saying that Vianne has a new Nazi billeting with her? This Vianne was fine—she had been released after uestioning—but another soldier or soldiers was billeted there She crumpled the paper and tossed it in the fire She didn’t know whether to be relieved or worried Instinctively her gaze sought out Gaetan who was watching her as he spoke to an airman And then a page of her unreuited love for Gaetan That you guys is all the passing thought she gives to her sister Have you guys heard this famous uote by Winnie the Pooh? “Always remember you’re braver than you believe stronger than you seem and smarter than you think” Well have you also heard the modernized tumblr version? It’s the same but with “and twice as beautiful as you ever imagined” That last addition is usually written in bigger text or italicized for emphasis I’m going to uote someone else now who analyzed it first Why did girls feel like something was missing from that uote in its original form? Because the message that we constantly receive is that girls are not valuable without beauty Brave strong and smart are NOT enough for women—they must be beautiful tooWhy is this related to The Nightingale? Because of THIS1 “Gaetan won’t think I’m pretty any”2 Vianne kissed Isabelle’s cheek “You’re beautiful” she said3 When he drew back he stared down at her and the love in her eyes burned away everything bad; it was just them again Gaetan and Isabelle somehow falling in love in a world at war “You’re as beautiful as I remember” he said4 It didn’t matter that she was broken and ugly and sick He loved her and she loved himThen in the last chapter Vianne1 “I thought she was reckless and irresponsible and almost too beautiful to look at”2 “Isabelle Rossignol died both a hero and a woman in love”According to Hannah it isn’t that Isabelle survived the concentration camps and is a war hero that matters What matters is that she came back STILL BEAUTIFULYes I do realise that she was bald and had malnutrition weighed eighty pounds had typhus and pneumonia and was coughing blood I do realise that Hannah was saying that despite all that she was beautiful Which at face value seems like a terrific message to send outBut important than her dying a war hero was that she died a woman in love Because that’s Vianne’s final thought the final thing about her sister at the speech at the end That she died a woman in love Not as Hannah tried to pretend after seeing a free France and being part of the resistance In the camp Isabelle “had to stay alive long enough to see an Allied victory and a free France” But she does see a free France and still her life is not “enough” In fact she wanders out in the rain because “Gaetan promised to find me after the war was over I need to get to Paris so he can find me” Her life becomes “enough” when Gaetan appearsWhy isn’t it enough that Isabelle is a war hero? That she was brave? Smart? Strong? Here’s a radical feminist thought why can’t we as women just leave beauty out of the euation entirely? Even if she was a pretty woman why does it need to be mentioned? And at every page too? Which brings me back to that Winnie the Pooh uote For women to be brave strong and smart it is not enoughBecause Isabelle was exactly all three of those thingsAnd let me ask Hannah the same uestion she asked in the book“You should take a break maybe Let someone else do your mountain trips”Isabelle gave her father a pointed look Did people say things like this to men? Women were integral to the Resistance Why couldn’t men see that?Yeah Hannah? Well do people say “He died both a hero and a man in love”? I think notLet it be enough that she was a war hero please

  2. says:

    “Oh for heaven’s sake Isabelle Paris is overrun The Nazis control the city What is an eighteen year old girl to do about all of that?” What indeedI really didn't know what to expect going into The Nightingale Given the uote about love and war in the blurb I kind of thought it might be an historical romance set during the Second World War like the world really needs another The Bronze Horseman but it turned out to be so much than thatThere are love stories in The Nightingale but that's not really what the book is about It's about women in wartime and it's an interesting moving portrait of the Nazi occupation of France and what this meant for all the wives daughters and widows left behind We're told in the book that men always assume war is about them it's true so this is the untold story of the home front These are the women who are forced to house Nazi soldiers the women who are manipulated into betraying their friends the women who wish they could fight for their country and the women who secretly do The main story is about two very different sisters Vianne and Isabelle who are trying to survive during wartime Vianne is older and misses her husband who is in a Nazi war camp; she must deal with her rebellious younger sister and the Nazi soldier living in her home whilst also making sure her daughter doesn't starve Isabelle is one of those borderline insufferable characters that also inspires affection She reminds me of fiery annoying but ultimately lovable heroines like Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind and Kitty from The Painted Veil The best thing about her though is her growth She starts out a naive 18 year old who falls in love with handsome young men instantly and she later grows into someone wiser I loved the way her characterization was handledOn that note about falling in love this book throws up a number of red herrings When Isabelle instantly falls for Gaetan I was rolling my eyes and thinking oh great It's that kind of book But don't worry that isn't the story being told here and Isabelle has a lot to learn It's a multilayered book and none of the relationships are straight forwardAnd it's also incredibly sad and moving in parts as a book about war generally is Children in wartime are forced to grow up so fast in order to survive Take for example this exchange between Vianne and her daughter “Vianne cupped Sophie’s thin face in her hands “Sarah died last night” she said gently“Died? She wasn’t sick”Vianne steeled herself “It happens that way sometimes God takes you unexpectedly She’s gone to Heaven To be with her grandmère and yours”Sophie pulled away got to her feet backed away “Do you think I’m stupid?”“Wh what do you mean?”“She’s Jewish”Vianne hated what she saw in her daughter’s eyes right now There was nothing young in her gaze—no innocence no naïveté no hope” You really get a sense of how the Nazis took over the lives of the French people How it was subtle and manipulative built on fear They gradually caused divisions within communities scaring people into betraying their friends It wasn't a perfect book if there is such a creature There were some slow parts that could have been shortened or edited out all together And I wish the author hadn't used a bunch of American terms and measurements For example a cup measurement is not used in France But whatever I enjoyed it a lot In the silence between them she heard a frog croak and the leaves fluttering in a jasmine scented breeze above their heads A nightingale sang a sad and lonely song Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store

  3. says:

    It was the comparisons to All the Light We Cannot See that attracted me to The Nightingale Though both novels are set during WW2 the similarities for me stopped there All the Light is a magical novel electric with beautiful resounding prose and refined artistry; The Nightingale is a novel motored essentially by cliché and exaggeration Clichéd writing isn’t just resorting continually to stock phrases though Hannah does this a lot; it’s also straining for tension through exaggeration to the point where dramatic tension degenerates into melodrama No surprise that clichéd phrases often perform a task of exaggeration “She was scared to death” “She couldn’t believe her eyes” The Nightingale reads like YA fantasy fiction Everything is wildly exaggerated so that WW2 is perceived as a kind of post nuclear holocaust world where this one event utterly eclipses the world we live in The perspective of the novel is one of hindsight as if all the characters are experiencing not the daily hardships of the war but the totality of all WW2’s horrors It’s like her research consisted of jotting down every single horror story and deprivation and shoe horning them all into her story It’s mostly set in a small town in the middle of France yet this small town is “swarming” with German soldiers Gestapo SS Jews bomb damage as if the entire war is centred there I was only surprised Hitler and Eva Braun didn’t have a holiday home there as well The two main characters are loaded with the ordeals accomplishments of an entire circuit of resistance members Isabelle is every SOE heroine rolled into one and Vianne is a kind of female Schindler Plausibility is often sacrificed to “thrills and spills” In the space of three pages a Jewish woman is told the Nazis will arrive at her house the next morning Three paragraphs later – or two hours later she has magically acuired false identity papers Three paragraphs later she is about to cross through a peaceful checkpoint when inexplicably the German guard begins machine gunning everyone as if he got bored just checking papers He even takes the trouble to shoot the woman’s nine year old child in the back This is all passed off without explanation as if it were a normal wartime incident The big surprise though is that the ending is genuinely moving and really well managed Hence all the gushing reviews Basically to enjoy this you need to anaesthetize your critical faculties That done I guess there’s enjoyment to be had because Hannah is a decent storyteller and is good at developing human relationships No doubt it’ll soon be a Hollywood film

  4. says:

    I've been told by so many people that I need to read this book It gets so much hype that I thought there was absolutely NO way it would live up to it But it did than that It surpassed it My favourite books is a pretty exclusive list and it usually takes me a while to decide whether a book fits that list or not but this was an instant favourite I absolutely adored it Even just thinking about it now I am fighting back tears because this was such a beautiful and vivid story I felt like I was with these characters through all of their terrible experiences and I just wanted to shelter them from it all The women in particular the sisters were absolutely inspirational They showed incredible strength in this terrible time and I loved seeing how women contributed to the war This was just a story that really resonated with me It has a special place in my heart for it was truly beautiful If you like WWII historical fiction or even if you don't I encourage you to try this book out I know I'm going to be encouraging basically everyone I know to read it

  5. says:

    With tears still running down my cheeks I'm writing this review I've started this review several times and I don't think I'll be able to adeuately put into words the power in which this novel has moved me Truely a remarkable story that I literally beg everyone who loves historical fiction to read I will be gushing about this novel for some time to come

  6. says:

    So many 4 5 star reviews here but I'm afraid I just thought this WWII historical novel was okay There are so many novels about this time period and I didn't think this one rose above the heap The last one to do that for me was Kate Atkinson's Life After Life and this just can't even compare to that or to David Gillham's City of WomenThere's some nice detail about the home front in France which I have read less about than the English home front And there are some exciting scenes featuring the French resistance's efforts to get downed pilots out of France But there are also some small but annoying anachronisms antibiotics were not really available until after the war; Germans didn't put up signs saying people would be put in concentration camps Everything seemed very predictable a hiding place in the barn is introduced; you just know it's going to figure in hiding Jews later A kind Nazi is featured as well as a sadistic one And the last uarter of the book races through torture and concentration camps and death marches in a way I found tedious and unenlightening Then there is what is supposed to be a twist at the end but I felt like I saw it comingSo if you really really love WWII historicals this might be worth your time but I've read better from Kristin Hannah and much better about WWII

  7. says:

    45 stars I didn’t mind that the story was slow because I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and was engaged throughout the book Hannah writes so descriptively that it made me enjoy the journey and really painted the atmosphere of France Each line was rich in detail and you could tell had been researched And yes I’m one of the many people who cried reading the ending lolWhat would have made me fully embrace the book is if both romances had been developed better and the characterization had been stronger Isabelle still felt like a caricature of a “rebellious girl” to me with no other ualities even though she was such a badass in the end I also think if the book is going to focus on women during WW2 Hannah could have emphasized the sister relationship better instead of making them disjointed for most of the story even if just thinking about the other sister or showing memories of them throughout the book Since the romance wasn't that well developed we could have used that time for the sister relationship instead to really hone in on the theme and purpose of this book Nonetheless I still enjoyed this book and its beautiful writing I will say though that I cried much harder in “All the Light We Cannot See” and “Lovely War” so maybe that's why I hesitate to fully give it 5 stars because I know I am capable of tears

  8. says:

    455 ⭐Full review on my Blog The Dacian She Wolf 🐺I don’t know what is wrong with me but I really have a predilection when I read historical fiction The Second World WarEven in school I always thought that this was the most interesting part of the whole history we were taught maybe because our history teacher was a bit obsessed with that period too who knowsI want to start talking about this book – The Nightingale by Kristin HannahI thought I was going to love this so much as I did with other WWII plot based books but after about 250 pages it was something about it that to me felt incomplete And I was fairly disappointed It felt exactly how it was but it didn’t want to seem like a story of some French girls living in the WWII France a story narrated by an AmericanI am not being mean I am only being honest Here either the story was indeed a bit sugar coated as a historical fact or I don’t know man it was maybe too much of the American enthusiastic positive thinking in it French suffered in the war then seeing the Germans drinking their French wine really but after all everyone suffered big time in that war including Germany if you believe it or not It was war no one got out of there looking richer or beautiful or smarter And this is an universally approved factNow living all this sensitive content of who is good and who is bad behind because it isn’t the point here because in war everything changes and nothing is good or bad any let’s move to the actual plot Because things changed dramatically after than half of boring and slow description and half actions „In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are” I will say that I loved the whole idea of the 1995 perspective upon the events that happened from the summer of 1939 on It is a great way to construct a novel it gives it a bit of fluidity and a sense of emotional connection It shows that the same very person can live as many and as different lives in the real life It is a fascinating narrative perspective And giving the fact that at the end the whole idea comes with a twist it makes it even special It is heart felt „Of course men always think war is about them” I really loved this whole idea of putting in spotlight the fact that war is not only for men but also women have crucial roles in the whole process Women in war are like the link of a chain in a great big machine – if there’s no link there’s no machine War is dangerous but even so those women back then chose to sneak around the so called law forced upon them look the danger in the eyes and smile And this is what makes them greater than they think they could beThose two sisters in the book Vianne and Isabelle are as different one from another as Mars and Neptun Vianne is sensitive taciturn happy to live a simple life she doesn’t need to stand out in any way – she’s a survivor; Isabelle on the other hand is wild and free and full of passion and has an enormous desire to help do big things – she’s a fighter What this war thought the two sisters is that they need to fight their own fight along with the others in order to get through – and the ways to do it are dangerous and unimaginable almost impossibleThe book was a mixture of amazing persons with beautiful and courageous hearts put in the wrong place at the wrong time alongside wicked people with poisoned minds and hearts I can’t even tell you how much I loved and respected Rachel de Champlain this amazingly strong woman who didn’t back down and couldn’t let anyone back her down And also what an amazing character Captain Wolfgang Beck was? I mean he truly was the voice of so so many good Germans who purely had to fight for their country because they had to respect a vow they’ve made to the homeland and to themselves Beck really was put there to show the world that not all good guys are good guys and definitely not all bad ones are as bad as they are shown to be Black is the night when its sky is moonless but after all everyone knows the stars are still there „But love has to be stronger than hate or there is no future for us” This book teaches us to love It shows us the horrors of a loveless world and it reminds us to love each other any and every day Also as endnote or side note I couldn’t help but wonder what if Mrs Hannah had a tiny bit of inspiration from the whole history of yet another famous nightingale „The Lady with the Lamp” Florence Nightingale? Just a thought but coincidence or not the idea was after all very cleverly put togetherBook styled

  9. says:

    A 456 rating with almost 500000 ratings what is this sorcery?

  10. says:

    FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED 5 STARS HOLY WOW This book was absolutely epic A sweeping breathtaking journey that captivated me from the first page with the strength and beauty of the writing Truly an unforgettable story The Nightingale has a 485 rating average on which is HUGE and what that basically means is that practically everyone who is reading it is loving it And I'm now adding my own 5 STAR rating to that list because this book owned my heart The ending was so powerful that I read the last 10 pages with tears pouring down my face and days after finishing my read I still can't stop thinking about itI will say upfront though that this book was a little different than the kinds I usually read and review though because it wasn't solely focused on a love story even though there were two love stories within itWhile men endure great hardship during war it affects everyone This is the often unspoken story of women's war Mothers daughter sisters wives this is the story of their strength endurance sacrifice and courage during the darkest part of their lives So many of them didn't just wait for their men to return but took many grave risks to save as many other lives as they couldWe begin the story in 1995 with an old woman towards the end of her life moving out of her house into a retirement home Without much of a future ahead of her she begins to look backward at her past taking us with her through her life story beginning in France 1939 right before the war changed her peaceful lifeThe flash back segments of the book are largely focused on two sisters the older Vianne the rule follower and the younger Isabelle the rebel Vianne's idealic life in the countryside with her husband Antoine who she'd been in love with since she was fourteen and their young daughter Sophie was changed when he was to be mobilized and called to duty to fight in WW2 The postman became a soldier overnight and the man she loved was sent to the front leaving her behind not knowing what the future would bring He stood up slowly and took her in his arms She wanted to bottle how safe she felt in this moment so she could drink of it later when loneliness and fear left her parched“I love you” he said against her lips“I love you too” she said but the words that always seemed so big felt small now What was love when put up against war Months into her husband's deployment with no word still from him and with their already dire situation getting worse and worse after France surrendered to Germany Vianne and Sophie's lives are once again changed when a young German officer reuisitions their home making it his own Faced with one hardship after another they both do everything they can to survive and pray for Antoine's safe return “You needn’t worry Madame” he said “We have been admonished to act as gentlemen My mother would demand the same and in truth she scares me than my general” It was such an ordinary remark that Vianne was taken abackShe had no idea how to respond to this stranger who dressed like the enemy and looked like a young man she might have met at churchHe remained where he was a respectful distance from her “I apologize for any inconvenience Madame”My husband will be home soon”“We all hope to be home soon” Miles away Vianne's younger sister Isabelle attends a sort of finishing school for French woman and hates every single moment of it Her outspoken and rebellious nature unwilling to bow to their rules When the war comes though she makes her way through the wilderness to Paris Her beloved city was like a once beautiful courtesan grown old and thin weary abandoned by her lovers In less than a year this magnificent city had been stripped of its essence by the endless clatter of German jackboots on the streets and disfigured by swastikas that flew from every monument Refusing to accept France's surrender and despite her sister's pleading to stay uiet and safe she follows her heart and meets a young man named Gaetan She falls in love with him and his belief that the French can fight the Nazis from within France But when things take an unexpected turn she decides to take matters into her own hands regardless of what anyone tells her she can't do and joins an underground group The Resistance that risks their lives to make a difference and help save as many others as they can On this cool October morning her life would change From the morning she boarded this train she would no longer be the girl in the bookshop From now on she was Juliette Gervaise code name the Nightingale You know that feeling when a book is so absorbing that you just want to cancel all your plans so you can keep reading it and even when you can't read it you're thinking about it? Yeah that was me with this book Once I started reading I could barely put it down until I'd reached the last pageAs the past and present storylines began to entwine these shivers ran down me as certain reveals were brought into the light Real shivers Tears would spring to my eyes with even the simplest of things but ones that had such a hugely powerful impact on the story A letter from Paris BOOM Tears “Please Just say strong and be there for me when the time comes for me to leave this cage Because of you I can survive I hope that you can find strength in me too V That because of me you will find a way to be strong Hold my daughter tightly tonight and tell her that somewhere far away her papa is thinking of her And tell her I will returnI love you” This book is honest in portraying the events that occurred to these characters but not overly graphic It doesn't need to be The things that happen and they way they are told are so powerful that you FEEL them There are some scenes though that are hard to read because they are uite painful and I'll warn that there may be triggers for some people but then again this is a story that takes place during a brutal war There's everything you can expect from such a story brutal firefights prison camps beatings near starvation sacrifice but there is also hope resilience survival As I neared the end of the book during the last few pages tears began to pour down my face It was achingly beautifulMany of you will be wondering if there is a happy ending I don't want to give things away but I want you to know that I was completely okay with this ending It's naturally not all sunshine and roses how can it be with such a setting? But my gut feeling tells me that even hard core romance fans will still love this book I was moved to tears several times but in many ways my heart was healed “I love you Antoine Mariac and I expect you to come home to me” Kristin Hannah's writing is some of the best I've ever read It's extraordinarily vivid and evocative This was my first book by her and I felt like I was right there with these characters not only were their emotions so strongly conveyed but the picture of their surroundings came to life before my eyesI have searched for years without luck for a book that could even come close to comparing to my all time favorite book The Bronze Horseman into here This book however is the closest I’ve ever come to one that captured a similar feeling The story is vastly different — while The Bronze Horseman completely revolved around one love story that was the driving force behind the entire trilogy The Nightingale was focused on two sisters and their experiences surviving the war while the sisters each had their own love stories it was their personal journeys that this book was focused on I also found TBH to generally be emotional than TN So it’s not of course a direct parallel But I will say that if you’re a fan of TBH and if like me you’ve been searching for years for a similar book then you absolutely must read thisThis was honestly one of the most powerful stories I've read It will stay in my heart I know this for a fact More than anything what I take away from it is gratitude gratitude for every single freedom and luxury that I know so many of us naturally take for granted They are precious This book reminded me of that Rating 5 STARS Standalone novel For those of you who want to know who lives and who dies view spoiler Antoine survives the war and returns home to his beloved wife Vianne and daughter Sophie who both also made it They rebuild their family and eventually begin a new life together in America although you do not see this in detail it is implied Isabelle's rebellious nature and choice to risk her life to save others eventually gets her caught towards the end of the book She is beaten almost to death and thrown into a camp She survives this only barely When the war is over she returns home and is reunited with her love Gaetan She dies in his arms without regrets for the choices that led her there The ending of the book is a hugely emotional reunion in 1995 for the survivors of the war hide spoiler