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The Nightingale: A Novel Hardcover – February 3, 2015
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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
“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
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Top Customer Reviews
One final note. The author does not characterize the Basque adequately. These people have traditionally lived and traveled through northern Spain and southern France without regard for the border. And, they lived and interacted closely with Gypsies. Many of the secret passes between France and Spain in the Pyrenees were monitored and protected by a combination of Basques and Gypsies who hated the Germans because of how they were persecuted by the Nazis.
Overall, this is a quick and emotional read, designed to appeal more to women than men. It would be improved by a greater attention to context, the groups involved in the French resistance and what they actually did to help people escape France.