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“I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. She has captured a particular slice of French life during World War II with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the two sisters and Hannah's exploration of what we do in moments of great challenge. Do we rise to the occasion or fail? Are we heroes or cowards? Are we loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? Hannah explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart.”—Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestseller author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
"In this epic novel, set in France in World War II, two sisters who live in a small village find themselves estranged when they disagree about the imminent threat of occupation. Separated by principles and temperament, each must find her own way forward as she faces moral questions and life-or-death choices. Haunting, action-packed, and compelling.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
"I read The Nightingale in one sitting, completely transported to wartime France, completely forgetting where I was. A historical novel—built on Kristin Hannah’s proven skill with story, complex and enduring family ties, and passion—one that will captivate readers." –Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness
"I found The Nightingale absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also historically informative….Read this book. It will keep you guessing throughout about the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, both brave young women who did what they thought was the right thing to do in the most of difficult circumstances. They had—in the words of Lawrence Langer the WW2 historian scholar—too often to make ‘choiceless choices.’" –Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute
"A beautifully written and richly evocative examination of life, love, and the ravages of war, and the different ways people react to unthinkable situations—not to mention the terrible and mounting toll of keeping secrets. This powerhouse of a story is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to be another major hit.” –Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
The Amazon Spotlight Pick for February 2015: Kristin Hannah is a popular thriller writer with legions of fans, but her latest novel, The Nightingale, soars to new heights (sorry) and will earn her even more ecstatic readers. Both a weeper and a thinker, the book tells the story of two French sisters – one in Paris, one in the countryside – during WWII; each is crippled by the death of their beloved mother and cavalier abandonment of their father; each plays a part in the French underground; each finds a way to love and forgive. If this sounds sudsy. . . well, it is, a little. . . but a melodrama that combines historical accuracy (Hannah has said her inspiration for Isabelle was the real life story of a woman who led downed Allied soldiers on foot over the Pyrenees) and social/political activism is a hard one to resist. Even better to keep you turning pages: the central conceit works – the book is narrated by one of the sisters in the present, though you really don’t know until the very end which sister it is. Fast-paced, detailed, and full of romance (both the sexual/interpersonal kind and the larger, trickier romance of history and war), this novel is destined to land (sorry, again) on the top of best sellers lists and night tables everywhere. -- Sara Nelson--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B00JO8PEN2
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press (February 3, 2015)
- Publication date : February 3, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 4933 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 594 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #375 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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This novel is set in France during WWII. The plot centers around the French Resistance and the persecution of the Jews in France.
The author doesn't seem to know much of the history of the French Resistance. For example, they completely missed the French movie The Sorrow and the Pity (the title in English). This movie presents a stark picture of the French during the war and after the war. Although the resistance was mythologized after the war, during the war there was very little resistance to the Nazis. Also, the French have a long history of antisemitism, which continues to this day.
In this novel there is an active French resistance, with French people outraged at any hint of collaboration with the Nazis. In fact, many French people collaborated and the others just kept their heads down. The French resistance was far less active than the resistance in Czechoslovakia, Denmark or many other countries.
The writing is not bad, but the complete butchering of history in a historical novel got to me. I'm sorry that I spent $2.99 on this book. I should have read the preview first. But I mistakenly trusted the vast number of positive reviews.
So I add my five-star review to the others. Read this book. It will take you away from whatever you're doing. This was my first book from Kristin Hannah. It won't be my last
I expected so much more. The premise for the story was promising: the role of women during WWII France. But the author quickly fell into clichés. The characters have no depth whatsoever.
The sub-themes have been so overused that it clearly shows a lack of imagination: the idealist young girl who longs for love and approval from her father, PTSD from WWI, first love, sibling rivalry. Mix it all in, give it a good shake and voilà: best seller!
The plot is O.K., but the writing is unbearable. I felt like watching an episode of The Bold and the Beautiful.
One last thing: I am French and I have to say that the author’s description of everyday life during WWII felt terribly inaccurate.
There are so many good books out there. You can do better.
Top reviews from other countries
The research for the book is lamentable. There are glaring historical, cultural and geographical inaccuracies that detract from the story. There are also plot errors and straightforward mistakes littering the text. It would be unfair to expose the main errors as it will spoil the plot for anyone wishing to read the book, but for example, the main town in which the story is set, the fictional Carriveau, starts in German occupied France not far from Orleans or Tours. Toward the end of the story it has moved a few hundred miles south to be near Oradour sur Glane, not far from Limoges. Members of the French resistance forget which are pseudonyms and which are real names. Laurence Olivier is considered an appropriate name to avoid attention. A giant steel wheel becomes a stone wheel in the course of just one paragraph.
The author appears to have cobbled together scenes from most of the famous second world war novels: Schindlers List, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Book Thief. At one point it appeared as if a Tale of Two Cities was going to make an appearance. The effect is of a massive cliché and a desperate lack of originality.
There is an obsession in making the two heroines stronger than the men. For example, a starved, weakened nineteen year old woman is made out to be stronger than young, fit, well trained airmen.
The writing itself varies in quality. At times, especially at the beginning, it isn’t bad, but it does become repetitive and sentimental. There are times it descends from an historical novel to become something of a farce like the TV series Allo Allo, and becomes something of an insult to the brave women in particular who fought with the resistance in the second world war.
However, what the book does have is an engaging story line, hook and pace. Although risible and sentimental in places, it is never boring and I read it to the end. The shame is that with a few more edits and better research, it could have been something special.
There were references to the smell of hay in April in France (wrong season!), hummingbirds on roses in a French garden (hummingbirds don’t live in France and don’t feed on roses!), misspelt German words, plenty of typos in English.
It just didn’t at all evoke France/continental Europe (I’m Swiss).
The success of this book flies in the face of the authors of historical novels who meticulously research their field.
First of all, Isabelle's code name, Anyone who has read even a single book about undercover work during the wars would know that the first rule in giving an agent a code name is that it does not even hint at the agent's real identity. Now Isabelle's surname is Rosignol. Her code name is The Nightingale. Rosignol means nightingale in French. I rest my case.
My second criticism has to do with Isabelle's character. We first get to know her as a wild, rebellious, hard-headed teenager who always gets her own way. We are supposed to believe that overnight, without any gradual coming-of-age moments, she turns into a mature and selfless heroine capable of leading grown men over mountains she has only navigated once in her life, risking life and limb to do so, obeying orders like a docile little lamb. Sorry, no!