The Nightingale

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I were a “romance” reader I would undoubtedly have given this book a higher rating. It is the story of two sisters navigating life during the Nazi occupation of France. Although I wouldn’t call it a romance, it is written like a romance – told in a highly dramatic fashion. The plot is ultimately satisfying. Although the first half of the book was rather slow (I’ve abandoned other books by Hannah for the same reason), I stuck with it and by the second half I was thoroughly invested in the characters and what happened to them. There were some errors with facts (hummingbirds in France?) that left me wondering what historical facts I could trust. But nothing was so jarring that it threw me out of the story. The framework is “true” and is based on real people who risked their lives to save downed pilots and Jewish children. This would make a marvelous movie.

Book description: 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.