|Title: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Edition: kindle edition
Pages: 449 pages
Language: Read in English
Genre: Historical fiction, WW II
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.
The story starts with an old woman moving into a retirement home and looks back at her past. She goes back to France in 1939, right before the big war.
In the flash backs, we follow Vianne and her younger sister Isabelle. When Vianne’s husband Antoine is called to the front to defend the borders of France, she stays behind with her daughter Sophie in a small French village. Their lives change when a young German officer comes to stay in their home.
In the meantime, Isabelle is in Paris refusing the surrender of France. Although Vianne asks her sister to stay safe and quiet she falls in love with a young man Gaetan that she meeting while leaving Paris on her way to her sister. While staying with her sister, Isabelle decides that she just cannot stand there and do nothing and she joins The Resistance. She tried to save as many people as possible while putting not only her life but also that of her sister and niece at risk.
“Men tell stories. Women get on with it”
I love historical fiction, and I had very high expectations of this one. I really loved this book, it was touching and beautifully written. While reading the last pages, it was hard not to cry. It shows how women in wartime had to deal with the Nazi occupation while most of their husbands, fathers, and brothers had to fight at the front. It was so vividly written how subtle and with small steps the Nazis took over the lives in small villages in occupied France and how this affected the people in a different way. Also the different characters are all well described, giving away small pieces at a time about their character and motives.
This story was not only about war, fear, starvation but also hope, confidence, and the will to survive.
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