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The Nightingale: A Novel Paperback – April 25, 2017
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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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Praise for The Nightingale:
"Haunting, action-packed, and compelling." ―Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Absolutely riveting!...Read this book." ―Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute
"Beautifully written and richly evocative." ―Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“A hauntingly rich WWII novel about courage, brutality, love, survival―and the essence of what makes us human.” ―Family Circle
“A heart-pounding story.” ―USA Today
"An enormous story. Richly satisfying. I loved it." ―Anne Rice
"A respectful and absorbing page-turner." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Tender, compelling...a satisfying slice of life in Nazi-occupied France." ―Jewish Book Council
“Expect to devour The Nightingale in as few sittings as possible; the high-stakes plot and lovable characters won’t allow any rest until all of their fates are known.” ―Shelf Awareness
"I loved The Nightingale." ―Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Powerful...an unforgettable portrait of love and war." ―People
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“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” - pg 1
This story is about what it’s like to be a woman during war. The author says on her website that “In war, women’s stories are all too often forgotten or overlooked.” I had never thought about how true that really was until I read this book. Vianne and Isabelle are two sisters that we follow through World War II. One stays home and takes care of her kids and one helps in the war effort. Their story showed me that this statement is not true:
“And it’s a fact that women are useless in war. Your job is to wait for our return.” - pg 26
What a beautiful reminder not overlook women and their strength. Even as a woman, I'm guilty of doing that sometimes.
Since this is an historical-fiction story, I felt like there should have been an afterword talking about what was historical and what wasn’t. But don’t worry I’ve googled it all for you :) The Nightingale is inspired by a real person, Andree de Jongh. Don’t go read her biography before reading this book unless you want to be spoiled. Andree de Jongh and her corresponding character in the book were themselves inspired by a real nurse named Edith Cavell who served during World War I. You should read about her too :)
I love pictures and the author has some beautiful pictures of places that inspired the locations in her book.
I’m a geek for any reference to art or culture, so when I saw a reference to “drab-eyed, dark-clothed people who looked like they belonged in an Edvard Munch painting.” (pg 239) I had to look it up. He’s most famous for doing The Scream.
You’ll love the writing in this book. It’s beautiful. I highlighted so many good quotes that I can’t share them all. This might be my favorite one:
“Lately, though, I find myself thinking about the war and my past, about the people I lost. Lost. it makes it sound as if I misplaced my loved ones;” - pg 1
The Nightingale deserves all the hype and awards it's gotten. You should read it.
"The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah tells the story of two French sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, and the lives they were forced to lead--and chose against all reason to lead--during the throes of World War II when France was occupied by the Nazis. This is a fictional story of the very real bravery of two women--two ordinary young women who represent their generation. So much of what all women did during World War II was truly remarkable but later unremarked upon. There was no glory. No ticker-tape parades. No gleaming medals. They were so brave and daring--even if it was just trying to feed their families every day--that their hearts, minds and souls had to have been sheathed in armor.
Warning: After the first few chapters, which are absolutely necessary to set the scene, the book becomes so engrossing and so compelling that I lost track of time. I would be shocked to realize an hour of reading time had passed.
Women, read this book and be proud. And when you do read it, ask yourself this question: What would you have done?