In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
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.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII 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
After reading the first two lines of the description above I knew this was a book I wanted to read, a book that would deliver great things and not disappoint, and a book that would bring 2015 to a five thumbs end on the review blog. Unfortunately it was not to be; it really wasn’t the book’s fault as there really was nothing bad at all about it, it was me I just didn’t love it as I hoped I would.
The main protagonists of this novel are two sisters, which the book is centred around, and even though I don’t have any sisters I found them, up to a certain point to be very realistic; they had opposing views and opinions on most everything in their lives, and totally different personalities to each other which helped make them feel like more like siblings rather than two characters the Author had deemed must be related. It was interesting to see how handled the circumstances they found themselves in, in their own way and this lent the feeling that although they were sisters they were still individuals in their own right.
Set in Nazi-occupied France, I found this novel to be full of good historical research, which the Author then included in the telling of the story. This brought the reality of living under occupation to the front of the readers mind and helped them to live the experiences, to some degree that the characters were faced with. It is easy to see why, after many days of seeing bodies hanging from trees in the village square one begins to not notice them anymore; it is a kind of self-preservation for the mind.
Why didn’t this make the much anticipated 5 thumbs review I was expecting to give it; I hate to say this but it was the romantic interludes which seemed forced and unnatural, and the parts immediately following the end of the war which, after considering everything I had read before, seemed a little anti-climatic.
I would highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy reading of this time period, but for me it didn’t make me want to read anything else written by this Author.