The quote above perfectly describes this novel! It’s rare to find a story centered on women during WWII without an epic love story or male protagonist, so when you discover one, it is usually one of the most powerful books you will ever read!
From the moment I began The Nightingale, I was extremely interested to see where this story was going to go. I had no idea what the coming pages would bring, but, in a way, I’m glad I didn’t. The last third of the book was the best part! It’s as though Kristen Hannah shifted into another gear to take us home. I couldn’t put the book down, and the words screamed with emotions I hadn’t experienced during the first two thirds.
The story follows two French sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during WWII. Vianne lives in the countryside with her husband and daughter, while Isabelle lives alone in Paris. After Vianne’s husband is conscripted, the task of keeping herself and her daughter alive as the war progresses falls on her. This isn’t an easy mission, especially when rations become scarce and life becomes more dangerous after an SS officer moves into their home. Meanwhile, in Paris, Isabelle has never been one to sit on the sidelines and soon joins the French Resistance, making a name for herself in the process.
As the war continues, both sisters will learn the meaning of the word courage and face decisions that will put the lives of their loved ones in jeopardy. Family is a deep bond that can’t be broken, no matter how estranged the people may be.
Loyalties are tested, sacrifices are made, survival is adamant, and love proves to be powerful! The Nightingale was a brutal, honest, and inspiring story that made me appreciate the world we live in today. It made me ask questions like, “Would I have been that brave if I were in Vianne or Isabelle’s place, or would I have crumbled in the first year of the war?” This was another great WWII book that I recommend to people who love a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching novel. In the beginning, I didn’t think I would get through this book, but I’m glad I did because it was truly inspiring!