About the Nightingale
Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.
As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.
This is so far the best read on historical fiction in 2017. The book was published in 2015. Two years later, I get to experience this lovely book on the World War II. The Nightingale is based in France. I have previously read 2 other books based on World War II. The Joys of motherhood by Buchi Emecheta see review here. This touches on the impact of World War II in colonial Nigeria. Memories of Ann Frank by Alison Leslie Gold tells of a story of the War from the eyes of a teenage girl in the Netherlands. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak that is set in Germany during World War II and Narrow Road through the deep north by Richard Flanagan and Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden
A heart wrenching book where the writer takes her time to properly develop characters and the plot. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the book. I loved the suspense. The writer did a good job in blending the past and the present to bring out a wonderful story. The description of places made you feel like you were actually there. I could feel every place the writer described. You could taste, feel, smell and see all the descriptions.
My favorite character was Isabelle, she was so brave, at a time when people were to remain silent and go back to cocoons, and she came out brave. I felt sad that the three that is Vianne, Isabelle and their father did not get a chance to reunite and talk about the war. I also felt sad that indeed they did not get to reconcile amongst themselves. It’s unfortunate that they did not know how they all played an important part in rescuing their loved ones.
The Nazi’s rules and regulations are similar to those of Al Queda. Granted the Nazi’s were elected to government. However we see similarities in their style of leadership where people are confined, segregated, creating fear and suspicion amongst populations.
The book also reminded me of Underground Railroad, I have watched the series and yet to read the book. I see the similarity on the route the Nightingale used to that which was used to pass slaves to freedom.
This is the story of women in the war. War from the home front. War stories are in most cases told form men’s point of view. We rarely see the story from women who survive or actively take part in the war.
Kristin Hannah’s book is so far my best read in 2017. I loved the writing style. It was vivid in the descriptions of people, places and events. Emotions were conveyed so strongly and pictures of the characters and their surroundings came alive right before my eyes.
Quotes that stood out
“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.” ― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale