Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on July 12, 2016
I very much enjoyed Kristin Hannah character development and story. This book is written better than many books about WWII. The reader experiences the struggles and fear of those living in a Nazi occupied country. I am very, very troubled however. When I read about Isabelle organizing an escape route for airmen whose planes were shot down in France and then escorting them safely to Spain with the assistance of reluctant Basque, I had to stop because I clearly remembered reading this before. I vaguely also remember a black white movie or documentary about this. I searched and found the once read story of the Belgium, Andree de Jongh who actually did what the fictional character Isabelle did in the novel. Much, much, much of the book parallels de Jongh's true story - the description of the heroine; the number of people (118 by de Jongh and 117 by Isabelle) escorted through this escape route: this escape route having a code name (Nightingale in the book and Comet in real life); the description of the airmen's instructions on the train and staying behind the heroine when they walked in German occupied cities; de Jongh's/Isabelle father executed by firing squad; the reaction of the airmen to this female who was going to be the one who to lead them out of France; de Jongh's/Isabelle's invisibility to the Germans because she was "just" a woman: collaborating with the British to fund the escape of airmen from France; de Jongh's/Isabelle's capture in the Pyrenees by the Nazi's then interrogation and Nazi's disbelief and rejection of the idea that a woman was capable of doing this; and de Jongh's/Isabelle's imprisonment in Ravensbruck women's concentration camp. Why am I troubled? I searched the book, several interviews with the author and Ms. Hannah website and there was no mention of specific name "Andree de Jongh." Hannah acknowledged on her website that her search led her to "a story of a young Belgian woman who created an escape route out of Nazi occupied France." I strongly believe that the author should have dedicated, credited or acknowledge the name of Andree de Jongh in the book where it was easily visible to the reader. de Jongh is as invisible to the author as she was to the Germans and in a book that celebrated the bravery of women during war. Was Vianne's character based on a brave woman who also deserved bold recognition? This makes me sad.
2,336 people found this helpful
Report abuse Permalink

Product Details

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
70,036 global ratings