Tuesday, May 18, 2021

78 - 2021 The Nightingale; Kristin Hannah

 

TITLE/AUTHOR The Nightingale; Kristin Hannah

PUBLISHER:  St. Martins

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2015 

GENRE: Fiction / Historical / WWII

FORMAT:  print LENGTH:  pp. 567

SOURCE:  my shelves

SETTING(s):  France (1939 - 1945)

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A powerful story of two very different sisters and how their lives were impacted during WWII.

BRIEF REVIEW:   The Nightingale,  begins in 1998 Oregon with an elderly, unnamed woman sorting through papers and reflecting on her younger days as a young woman during the war.

Vianne and Isabelle are sisters whose lives take different paths after their mother died. Vianne, significantly older, marries Antoine and the couple and their young daughter Sophie move to the French countryside of Carriveau.  Isabelle had attended boarding school and when old enough to go it alone, the fearless, rebellious and independent Isabelle moves to Paris.  

As German troops move into France and war breaks out Antoine is called to serve and, in the countryside, everything changes for Vianne, a teacher, and daughter Sophie.  As the Germans infiltrate the countryside and one Nazi forces his way into her home, her instincts as protector of her young daughter kick into high gear and she must do what it takes for them survive the ordeal of war.  Meanwhile, Isabelle recovering from a love loss refuses to sit idly by as the brutal Nazi occupation grows, she joins the resistance movement, constantly putting her life at risk with every move she makes.

The strength of this novel, IMO, was not in the way in which it depicts the war, although the second half of the book was darker and more intense.  I still thought the war aspect felt mild in terms of describing the brutality and horror of war.  The author's strength was in the wonderful job she did describing how each sister was affected by war and what they had to endure and the sacrifices they made while the men were called to serve.  The women were often faced with agonizing choices and the utter strength and bravery shown by the sisters and other women made each of them heroes in their own right. 

A story of both survival and loss and ultimately redemption, based in part on a Belgian woman who inspired the role of Isabelle (The Nightingale) in the war effort.  I throughly enjoyed reading this novel and have gained a new appreciation for historical fiction in 2021 - my 9th book in this genre thus far.

RATING:  4.5/5  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

MEMORABLE QUOTES: 

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

"It's not biology that determines fatherhood. It is love."

34 comments:

  1. I read this sometime back and I am always amazed at the huge impact this War made on everyone. Each book is so different and though survival is the theme, the feeling of patriotism and love for country and family run so deep within most of us it is unimaginable, until put to the test.

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    1. There are all different and I always try to find the right balance - not too light nor too heavy. Glad you had a chance to try this one as well.

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  2. This is such a good book! I gave it 4.5 stars, too. Reviewed here.

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    1. I just checked out your review and see our thoughts seemed quite similar.

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  3. This has been on my kindle forever and I'll read it eventually. I made the mistake of reading 3 WWII HF books in the first few months of 2021 and needed a break. They were great books but emotionally draining. All to say I will read The Nightingale - at some point. Nice review, Diane.

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  4. Mary, I can understand needing a break - too much war themes can be quite depressing. I am a mood reader so I need a variety of genres as a result.

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  5. When I can get over the bad taste left by Firefly Lane, perhaps I'll try this Hannah book. Everyone who reads it seems to love it.

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    1. I didn't care for those earlier books and stopped reading Hannah for a while.

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  6. A book that has been on my wishlist for a while for sure. I hope to get to it one of these days as it sounds like I'm missing out on a great story.

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    1. It took me forever to motivate myself to read it but, glad I did!

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  7. I had this on my list a while back; now, I need to check the library again. Love the quotes!

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    1. The size (nearly 600pp) made me put it off for years as well as the fact it was a WWII story. So glad I finally read it.

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  8. I'm not a fan of WWII so doubt I'll ever read this. But, if I do maybe it will give me a new appreciation for historical fiction also.

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  9. I am not a fan of WWII and I keep putting Hannah off because so many have described her writing as tedious. Do you find it so?

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    1. No, I don't think her style is "tedious" I was never a fan of her earlier books though in which she loved to write about sisters. I never had a sister and so stories about them never interested me. Funny though, this too is about "sisters" but, I got tired of so many people asking if I read it and how much they loved it. It's really s good story.

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  10. That does sound like a really good one!

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  11. I would totally watch this if they made a series. But yea, I enjoyed this one as well.

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  12. I've read several novels depicting what goes on in occupied territory while the men are away fighting the war, and have found them to be both heartbreaking and inspirational. What these women and children went through, and what they had to do in order to survive, is a story that needs to be told more often.

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    1. Sam, I loved The Zookeeper's Wife and, probably the movie even more than the book.

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  13. I've heard a lot of good things about this one. It's on my list, but who knows when I'll get to it. :)

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    1. It took me 6 years to decide to finally read it. Peer Pressure! LOL

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  14. Wonderful review and quotations, Diane.
    I have a copy of this book, and will read it at some point. I know it will be very touching.

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  15. I haven't yet read a book by this author, but I have a couple of hers on my TBR shelf, including this one. I am so glad you ended up really liking this one. Perhaps one day I will finally read it too. :-)

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  16. I just talked to someone who listed this as their favorite book! I haven't read it yet but I really want to try it - or really anything by Kristin Hannah.

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  17. I've been on a roll with historical fiction lately, too! Really enjoyed this one a few years ago.

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  18. Our book club members all loved this book. I was hesitant to read it, as I always am with popular fiction, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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  19. Yeah I've been liking historical fiction a lot lately. I enjoyed this one in 2017. Pretty scary war scenes. It's out as a movie in 2022 ...

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  20. I loved this book as well. Hannah really does historical fiction in a way that I enjoy.

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    1. I agree Helen some of her earlier books --mostly the contemporary "sisters" theme didn't work well fo me.

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  21. I know I'm in the minority who hasn't read this, but I need to!

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    1. LOL and I thought I was the last one:) The nearly 600pp and the fact I hadn't been reading many historical novels was the reason I back-burnered it but, glad I read it.

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