The Nightingale
Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. As the war progresses, the sisters' relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

The Nightingale Details

TitleThe Nightingale
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 3rd, 2015
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN0312577222
ISBN-139780312577223
Number of pages440 pages
Rating
GenreHistorical Fiction, Historical, Fiction, War, World War II

The Nightingale Review

  • Lori
    December 15, 2014
    With tears still running down my cheeks I'm writing this review. I've started this review several times and I don't think I'll be able to adequately put into words the power in which this novel has moved me. Truely a remarkable story that I, literally, beg everyone who loves historical fiction to read. I will be gushing about this novel for some time to come.
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  • Regan
    December 26, 2015
    Beautiful.
  • Emily May
    March 23, 2015
    “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Isabelle. Paris is overrun. The Nazis control the city. What is an eighteen-year-old girl to do about all of that?” What, indeed.I really didn't know what to expect going into The Nightingale. Given the quote about love and war in the blurb, I kind of thought it might be an historical romance set during the Second World War - like the world really needs another The Bronze Horseman - but it turned out to be so much more than that.There are love stories in The Nightingale, “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Isabelle. Paris is overrun. The Nazis control the city. What is an eighteen-year-old girl to do about all of that?” What, indeed.I really didn't know what to expect going into The Nightingale. Given the quote about love and war in the blurb, I kind of thought it might be an historical romance set during the Second World War - like the world really needs another The Bronze Horseman - but it turned out to be so much more than that.There are love stories in The Nightingale, but that's not really what the book is about. It's about women in wartime, and it's an interesting, moving portrait of the Nazi occupation of France and what this meant for all the wives, daughters and widows left behind. We're told in the book that men always assume war is about them - it's true - so this is the untold story of the home front. These are the women who are forced to house Nazi soldiers, the women who are manipulated into betraying their friends, the women who wish they could fight for their country and the women who secretly do. The main story is about two very different sisters - Vianne and Isabelle - who are trying to survive during wartime. Vianne is older and misses her husband (who is in a Nazi war camp); she must deal with her rebellious younger sister and the Nazi soldier living in her home, whilst also making sure her daughter doesn't starve. Isabelle is one of those borderline insufferable characters that also inspires affection. She reminds me of fiery, annoying, but ultimately lovable heroines like Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind and Kitty from The Painted Veil. The best thing about her, though, is her growth. She starts out a naive 18 year old who falls in love with handsome young men instantly, and she later grows into someone wiser. I loved the way her characterization was handled.On that note about falling in love, this book throws up a number of red herrings. When Isabelle instantly falls for Gaetan, I was rolling my eyes and thinking "oh great. It's that kind of book." But don't worry, that isn't the story being told here and Isabelle has a lot to learn. It's a multilayered book and none of the relationships are straight forward.And it's also incredibly sad and moving in parts, as a book about war generally is. Children in wartime are forced to grow up so fast in order to survive. Take, for example, this exchange between Vianne and her daughter: “Vianne cupped Sophie’s thin face in her hands. “Sarah died last night,” she said gently.“Died? She wasn’t sick.”Vianne steeled herself. “It happens that way sometimes. God takes you unexpectedly. She’s gone to Heaven. To be with her grandmère, and yours.”Sophie pulled away, got to her feet, backed away. “Do you think I’m stupid?”“Wh-what do you mean?”“She’s Jewish.”Vianne hated what she saw in her daughter’s eyes right now. There was nothing young in her gaze—no innocence, no naïveté, no hope.” You really get a sense of how the Nazis took over the lives of the French people. How it was subtle and manipulative, built on fear. They gradually caused divisions within communities, scaring people into betraying their friends. It wasn't a perfect book, if there is such a creature. There were some slow parts that could have been shortened or edited out all together. And I wish the author hadn't used a bunch of American terms and measurements. For example, a "cup" measurement is not used in France. But whatever, I enjoyed it a lot. In the silence between them, she heard a frog croak and the leaves fluttering in a jasmine-scented breeze above their heads. A nightingale sang a sad and lonely song. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store
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  • Violet wells
    June 28, 2015
    It was the comparisons to All the Light We Cannot See that attracted me to The Nightingale. Though both novels are set during WW2 the similarities for me stopped there. All the Light is a magical novel electric with beautiful resounding prose and refined artistry; The Nightingale is a novel motored essentially by cliché and exaggeration. Clichéd writing isn’t just resorting continually to stock phrases (though Hannah does this a lot); it’s also straining for tension through exaggeration to the p It was the comparisons to All the Light We Cannot See that attracted me to The Nightingale. Though both novels are set during WW2 the similarities for me stopped there. All the Light is a magical novel electric with beautiful resounding prose and refined artistry; The Nightingale is a novel motored essentially by cliché and exaggeration. Clichéd writing isn’t just resorting continually to stock phrases (though Hannah does this a lot); it’s also straining for tension through exaggeration to the point where dramatic tension degenerates into melodrama. No surprise that clichéd phrases often perform a task of exaggeration. - “She was scared to death.” “She couldn’t believe her eyes.” The Nightingale reads like YA fantasy fiction. Everything is wildly exaggerated so that WW2 is perceived as a kind of post nuclear holocaust world where this one event utterly eclipses the world we live in. The perspective of the novel is one of hindsight as if all the characters are experiencing not the daily hardships of the war but the totality of all WW2’s horrors. It’s like her research consisted of jotting down every single horror story and deprivation and shoe-horning them all into her story. It’s mostly set in a small town in the middle of France yet this small town is “swarming” with German soldiers, Gestapo, SS, Jews, bomb damage as if the entire war is centred there (I was only surprised Hitler and Eva Braun didn’t have a holiday home there as well). The two main characters are loaded with the ordeals & accomplishments of an entire circuit of resistance members. Isabelle is every SOE heroine rolled into one and Vianne is a kind of female Schindler. Plausibility is often sacrificed to “thrills and spills”. In the space of three pages a Jewish woman is told the Nazis will arrive at her house the next morning. Three paragraphs later – or two hours later - she has magically acquired false identity papers. Three paragraphs later she is about to cross through a peaceful checkpoint when inexplicably the German guard begins machine gunning everyone as if he got bored just checking papers. He even takes the trouble to shoot the woman’s nine year old child in the back. This is all passed off without explanation as if it were a normal wartime incident. The big surprise though is that the ending is genuinely moving and really well managed. Hence all the gushing reviews. Basically to enjoy this you need to anaesthetize your critical faculties. That done I guess there’s enjoyment to be had because Hannah is a decent storyteller and is good at developing human relationships. No doubt it’ll soon be a Hollywood film.
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  • Aestas Book Blog
    March 9, 2015
    ::: FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED ::: 5 STARS!! ::: HOLY WOW!!! This book was absolutely epic! A sweeping, breathtaking journey that captivated me from the first page with the strength and beauty of the writing. Truly an unforgettable story!The Nightingale has a 4.8/5 rating average on Amazon (which is HUGE!!) and what that basically means is that practically everyone who is reading it is loving it. And I'm now adding my own 5 STAR rating to that list because this book owned my heart. The ending was so ::: FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED ::: 5 STARS!! ::: HOLY WOW!!! This book was absolutely epic! A sweeping, breathtaking journey that captivated me from the first page with the strength and beauty of the writing. Truly an unforgettable story!The Nightingale has a 4.8/5 rating average on Amazon (which is HUGE!!) and what that basically means is that practically everyone who is reading it is loving it. And I'm now adding my own 5 STAR rating to that list because this book owned my heart. The ending was so powerful that I read the last 10 pages with tears pouring down my face and days after finishing my read, I still can't stop thinking about it.I will say upfront though that this book was a little different than the kinds I usually read and review though because it wasn't solely focused on a love story, even though there were two love stories within it.While men endure great hardship during war, it affects everyone. This is the often-unspoken story of women's war. Mothers, daughter, sisters, wives... this is the story of their strength, endurance, sacrifice, and courage during the darkest part of their lives. So many of them didn't just wait for their men to return but took many grave risks to save as many other lives as they could.We begin the story in 1995 with an old woman towards the end of her life, moving out of her house into a retirement home. Without much of a future ahead of her, she begins to look backward at her past, taking us with her through her life story beginning in France 1939, right before the war changed her peaceful life.The flash back segments of the book are largely focused on two sisters: the older Vianne, the rule follower, and the younger Isabelle, the rebel. Vianne's idealic life in the countryside with her husband, Antoine, who she'd been in love with since she was fourteen and their young daughter, Sophie, was changed when he was to be mobilized and called to duty to fight in WW2. The postman became a soldier overnight, and the man she loved was sent to the front, leaving her behind not knowing what the future would bring. He stood up slowly and took her in his arms. She wanted to bottle how safe she felt in this moment, so she could drink of it later when loneliness and fear left her parched...“I love you,” he said against her lips.“I love you, too,” she said but the words that always seemed so big felt small now. What was love when put up against war. Months into her husband's deployment, with no word still from him and with their already-dire situation getting worse and worse after France surrendered to Germany, Vianne and Sophie's lives are once again changed when a young German officer requisitions their home, making it his own. Faced with one hardship after another, they both do everything they can to survive, and pray for Antoine's safe return. “You needn’t worry, Madame,” he said. “We have been admonished to act as gentlemen. My mother would demand the same, and, in truth, she scares me more than my general.” It was such an ordinary remark that Vianne was taken aback.She had no idea how to respond to this stranger who dressed like the enemy and looked like a young man she might have met at church…He remained where he was, a respectful distance from her. “I apologize for any inconvenience, Madame.”"My husband will be home soon.”“We all hope to be home soon.” Miles away, Vianne's younger sister Isabelle attends a sort of finishing school for French woman and hates every single moment of it. Her outspoken and rebellious nature unwilling to bow to their rules. When the war comes though, she makes her way through the wilderness to Paris. Her beloved city was like a once-beautiful courtesan grown old and thin, weary, abandoned by her lovers. In less than a year, this magnificent city had been stripped of its essence by the endless clatter of German jackboots on the streets and disfigured by swastikas that flew from every monument. Refusing to accept France's surrender, and despite her sister's pleading to stay quiet and safe, she follows her heart and meets a young man named Gaetan. She falls in love with him and his belief that the French can fight the Nazis from within France. But when things take an unexpected turn, she decides to take matters into her own hands, regardless of what anyone tells her she can't do, and joins an underground group, The Resistance, that risks their lives to make a difference and help save as many others as they can. On this cool October morning, her life would change. From the morning she boarded this train… she would no longer be the girl in the bookshop… From now on, she was Juliette Gervaise, code name the Nightingale. You know that feeling when a book is so absorbing that you just want to cancel all your plans so you can keep reading it... and even when you can't read it, you're thinking about it? Yeah, that was me with this book! Once I started reading, I could barely put it down until I'd reached the last page.As the past and present storylines began to entwine, these shivers ran down me as certain reveals were brought into the light. Real shivers. Tears would spring to my eyes with even the simplest of things -- but ones that had such a hugely powerful impact on the story. A letter from Paris. BOOM. Tears. “Please… Just say strong and be there for me when the time comes for me to leave this cage… Because of you, I can survive. I hope that you can find strength in me, too, V. That because of me, you will find a way to be strong. Hold my daughter tightly tonight, and tell her that somewhere far away, her papa is thinking of her. And tell her I will return.I love you.” This book is honest in portraying the events that occurred to these characters, but not overly graphic. It doesn't need to be. The things that happen, and they way they are told are so powerful that you FEEL them. There are some scenes though that are hard to read because they are quite painful and I'll warn that there may be triggers for some people, but then again, this is a story that takes place during a brutal war. There's everything you can expect from such a story -- brutal firefights, prison camps, beatings, near starvation, sacrifice... but there is also hope, resilience, survival. As I neared the end of the book, during the last few pages, tears began to pour down my face. It was achingly beautiful.Many of you will be wondering if there is a happy ending. I don't want to give things away, but I want you to know that I was completely okay with this ending. It's naturally not all sunshine and roses, how can it be with such a setting? But my gut feeling tells me that even hard-core romance fans will still love this book. I was moved to tears several times, but in many ways my heart was healed. “I love you, Antoine Mariac, and I expect you to come home to me.” Kristin Hannah's writing is some of the best I've ever read. It's extraordinarily vivid and evocative. This was my first book by her and I felt like I was right there with these characters -- not only were their emotions so strongly conveyed, but the picture of their surroundings came to life before my eyes.I have searched for years without luck for a book that could even come close to comparing to my all-time favorite book, The Bronze Horseman (more into here). This book however, is the closest I’ve ever come to one that captured a similar feeling. The story is vastly different — while The Bronze Horseman completely revolved around one love story that was the driving force behind the entire trilogy, The Nightingale was focused on two sisters and their experiences surviving the war -- while the sisters each had their own love stories, it was their personal journeys that this book was focused on. I also found TBH to generally be more emotional than TN. So, it’s not of course a direct parallel. But I will say that if you’re a fan of TBH and if, like me, you’ve been searching for years for a similar book, then you absolutely must read this.This was honestly one of the most powerful stories I've read. It will stay in my heart, I know this for a fact. More than anything, what I take away from it is gratitude... gratitude for every single freedom and luxury that I know so many of us naturally take for granted. They are precious. This book reminded me of that. Rating: 5 STARS!! Standalone novel. _______________________________________For those of you who want to know who lives and who dies... (view spoiler)[ Antoine survives the war and returns home to his beloved wife Vianne and daughter Sophie -- who both also made it. They rebuild their family and eventually begin a new life together in America (although you do not see this in detail, it is implied). Isabelle's rebellious nature and choice to risk her life to save others eventually gets her caught (towards the end of the book). She is beaten almost to death and thrown into a camp. She survives this only barely. When the war is over, she returns home and is reunited with her love, Gaetan. She dies in his arms without regrets for the choices that led her there. The ending of the book is a hugely emotional reunion in 1995 for the survivors of the war. (hide spoiler)]_______________________________________ For more of my reviews, book news and updates:✦ Main blog: Aestas Book Blog✦ Facebook Blog Page✦ Twitter ✦ Subscribe by email
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  • Laura
    January 23, 2015
    So many 4 & 5 star reviews here, but I'm afraid I just thought this WWII historical novel was okay. There are so many novels about this time period and I didn't think this one rose above the heap. The last one to do that for me was Kate Atkinson's Life After Life and this just can't even compare to that or to David Gillham's City of Women.There's some nice detail about the home front in France, which I have read less about than the English home front. And there are some exciting scenes featu So many 4 & 5 star reviews here, but I'm afraid I just thought this WWII historical novel was okay. There are so many novels about this time period and I didn't think this one rose above the heap. The last one to do that for me was Kate Atkinson's Life After Life and this just can't even compare to that or to David Gillham's City of Women.There's some nice detail about the home front in France, which I have read less about than the English home front. And there are some exciting scenes featuring the French resistance's efforts to get downed pilots out of France. But there are also some small but annoying anachronisms (antibiotics were not really available until after the war; Germans didn't put up signs saying people would be put in "concentration camps"). Everything seemed very predictable: a hiding place in the barn is introduced; you just know it's going to figure in hiding Jews later. A kind Nazi is featured, as well as a sadistic one. And the last quarter of the book races through torture and concentration camps and death marches in a way I found tedious and unenlightening. Then there is what is supposed to be a twist at the end, but I felt like I saw it coming.So if you really, really love WWII historicals this might be worth your time, but I've read better from Kristin Hannah and much better about WWII.
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  • Mandy Crider
    April 20, 2015
    I don't even know where to start this review. I am typing it through teary eyes, so I will keep it simple. (Insert tissues here)My pick for Vianne when this becomes a movie is Naomi Watts or Kate Winslet and for Isabella is Julianne Hough or Amanda Seyfried. Let's see if Hollywood takes my suggestion!This WW2 novel was so beautifully written. This war was a time of bitter hatred and in this story Kristin Hannah brings to life love, survival, bitterness, strength, and persistence. Vianne and Isab I don't even know where to start this review. I am typing it through teary eyes, so I will keep it simple. (Insert tissues here)My pick for Vianne when this becomes a movie is Naomi Watts or Kate Winslet and for Isabella is Julianne Hough or Amanda Seyfried. Let's see if Hollywood takes my suggestion!This WW2 novel was so beautifully written. This war was a time of bitter hatred and in this story Kristin Hannah brings to life love, survival, bitterness, strength, and persistence. Vianne and Isabelle are the most outstanding characters I've ever read. It would be an honor to know them if they were real. I have so much more I could add but I will not because it would take so much of my review.This is a story that will make you cry and have hope in believing that if you keep stepping forward and never looking back you will make it. I highly recommend this book. It's absolutely wonderful and a gorgeous story. I will cherish it always as it is now one of my top 3 favorites :)I'm looking forward to this movie becoming a film. I will be there opening night :) in the front row!!!
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  • MomToKippy
    April 16, 2015
    For me this was a fusion of sub-literary chick lit and WWII fiction in that it was too cliche and melodramatic much of the time. I thought the female perspective of occupied France and the tales of the resistance as well as the opposing sisters' perspectives were generally good ideas but the whole thing lacked in the execution.The tone of the book doesn't feel authentic to the time period and there are numerous unbelievable incidents and interactions. The historical facts are covered but the atm For me this was a fusion of sub-literary chick lit and WWII fiction in that it was too cliche and melodramatic much of the time. I thought the female perspective of occupied France and the tales of the resistance as well as the opposing sisters' perspectives were generally good ideas but the whole thing lacked in the execution.The tone of the book doesn't feel authentic to the time period and there are numerous unbelievable incidents and interactions. The historical facts are covered but the atmosphere and characters feel too modern. There are just too many dialogue and behavioral anachronisms. It's as if the the history had been researched only superficially and the rest filled in by the author's imagination with caricatures and stereotypes. Sorry but I think Hannah's fans deserve better.
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  • Natalie
    February 13, 2016
    “My nightingale, I got you home.”This review contains *spoilers*.I honestly didn't expect to like The Nightingale as much as I did.The premise of the book intrigued me (I've been really into historical fiction lately). This story follows two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during World War II and their hardships trying to survive. My heart broke for each sister as I read their stories full of loss and pain. And I loved the shifting point-of-view that allowed me to see inside each character's head. “My nightingale, I got you home.”This review contains *spoilers*.I honestly didn't expect to like The Nightingale as much as I did.The premise of the book intrigued me (I've been really into historical fiction lately). This story follows two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during World War II and their hardships trying to survive. My heart broke for each sister as I read their stories full of loss and pain. And I loved the shifting point-of-view that allowed me to see inside each character's head. But one of the best things about the story for me was Isabelle. I loved her as a main character and her character development was phenomenal. She started out as a impetuous 18 year old, but in order to survive the war, she turned into someone tough and driven and so strong.“She let fear give her a little shake and she almost gave in to it. Then she thought about the swastikas that flew from the Eiffel Tower and Vianne living with the enemy and Antoine lost in some prisoner of war camp. And Edith Cavell. Certainly she had been afraid sometimes, too; Isabelle would not let fear stand in her way.”Reading from Vianne’s point of view was just as nerve-wracking as reading from Isabelle’s. Herr Captain Beck made me really uncomfortable — whenever he helped Vianne and her daughter, I felt exactly as torn as she felt. Now I’m starting to get really emotional thinking about Vianne, especially thinking about her friendship with Rachel. Their friendship is so rich and real and it made Rachel’s departure that more emotional for me. I had actual tears running down my face when she helped Rachel and her children escape. Vianne’s character growth was outstanding and it definitely surprised me. “I’ll write if I can,” Rachel said.Vianne’s throat tightened. Even if the best happened, she might not hear from her friend for years. Or ever. In this new world, there was no certain way to keep in touch with those you loved.”This book definitely astonished me. It showed me kindness when I least expected it (Eduardo and Madame Babineau) and it showed me the losses and fears of so many people and their bravery trying to live through extremely difficult times. The story is moving and heartbreaking and the characters interesting and complex. What do I possibly read after this?“He smiled. “You have a habit of saying whatever is on your mind, don’t you, Isabelle?”“Always. Why did you leave me?”He touched her face with a gentleness that made her want to cry; it felt like a good-bye, that touch, and she knew good-bye. “I wanted to forget you.”Isabelle and Gaëtan made me really emotional. I’m glad we got to see him again after he left her. Their reunion made me smile after feeling sad for so long because of the events in this book. They are so good together. But being happy didn't last long because I found out that the older woman from 1995 wasn’t Isabelle she was Vianne— Isabella had died right in Gaëtan's arms. (I found this song to be really fitting while reading.)*Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying The Nightingale, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!* This review and more can be found on my blog.
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  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)
    March 31, 2015
    1.5 stars. Oh, the IRONY. You might have never heard of it, but in 1981 French author Régine Deforges released a book called La bicyclette bleue, 1939-1942 (part of a trilogy), which related the story of two sisters** during WWII in France. Léa, the outspoken, rebel and reckless one, who joins the Resistance after fleeing from the invasion of Paris and Françoise, the older, who has to live under the same roof of a SS during the Occupation. RING A BELL? This novel, many times bestseller in France 1.5 stars. Oh, the IRONY. You might have never heard of it, but in 1981 French author Régine Deforges released a book called La bicyclette bleue, 1939-1942 (part of a trilogy), which related the story of two sisters** during WWII in France. Léa, the outspoken, rebel and reckless one, who joins the Resistance after fleeing from the invasion of Paris and Françoise, the older, who has to live under the same roof of a SS during the Occupation. RING A BELL? This novel, many times bestseller in France, borrowed A LOT from Gone with the Wind, which led to many trials (that Régine Deforges won, in the end, saying that it was all part of "a game" with her editor - Where have I heard that before? Hmm). Anyway. It seems oh so ironic to me to find so many similarities between The Nightingale and La bicyclette bleue, 1939-1942, because, you know, I'm resilient, but reading the same story is starting to get old. Of course, of course, I exaggerate, and I'm not saying that Kristin Hannah plagiarized Régine Deforges's novel. As for Gone with the Wind's parts, there's none here as far as I'm concerned. No. Both authors of these WWII novels must have used the same inspirations is all - especially real testimonies, surely. Yet it throws me off, even if I didn't even like La bicyclette bleue, 1939-1942 - I'm not a fan, but I can't forget the plot either, and Kristin Hannah's characters don't strike me as interesting enough to follow the same storyline again. I know, I'm talking about WWII settings and I should love and suffer and FEEL for these characters but ... I just don't. They seem very flat and unrealistic to me? Sorry?Oh, and you know what else throws me off? The shameless lack of any researches about the world. Anachronisms everywhere. Post-card France in one meal (I mean, the Baguette, the canelés, the ile flottante, Cognac (for reasons), the Lavander and Rosamery (which are Provencal plants but WHY THE FUCK NOT). Vianne & Antoine luxurious - YES, those meals and houses are VERY luxurious for that period of time - lifestyle that their jobs cannot explain. Antoine is a postman, alright? In 1939 his salary should be around 600 francs per year. As for Vianne, as a teacher, she could pretend to 900 francs, tops. How in the WORLD can they have 65,000 francs in the bank?! Tell me, really, I need to know how to multiply my funds like that (if that's explained later in the book, I apologize). Perhaps it sounds like details to you, and perhaps they are. But when I read an Historical novel, more than Historical facts I need for the book to carry me away in another time. I need to BELIEVE in it. I sure don't want to read about some cliché, too modern world lacking any savor, picturing my country in such a stereotypical way. So fake, really. Not to mention that I found the writing repetitive and too dramatic, the dialogue awkward and way too much telling rather than showing.The Nightingale tackles such an essential issue - indeed I believe that the portrayal of women's role in WWII is VERY important, and I understand why it would appeal to many readers. Yet I can't see myself finishing it, because really, the similarities and clichés are killing me. Wasted potential, sadly. They do have the curse words right, though. Merde.PS. This is a detail, but I do not know one Parisian who would INSTANTLY say something along the lines as, "oh, the bomb must have fallen into the 2nd Arrondissement". Nope. Streets, districts names like la Bastille or Les Halles, alright, but randomly quoting an arrondissement when YOU'RE NOT EVEN PARISIAN? Pl-ease. Unbelievable - like the whole thing, apparently. The Nightingale is FULL of inaccuracies like this one, and I expected more from the winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award in HISTORICAL fiction. Ugh. ** Three, actually - thanks Anne for reminding me :D For more of my reviews, please visit:
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  • Jennifer
    January 30, 2015
    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah may be my favorite novel of 2015... and yes, I realize it's only February. It's just that good. The setting is World War II, Nazi-occupied France. The story follows two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, and how they each respond in times of great challenge. Their parallel stories are as different as their personalities, but are just as suspenseful, complicated, and emotional. Although The Nightingale is considered fiction, it is firmly planted in well-researched tru The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah may be my favorite novel of 2015... and yes, I realize it's only February. It's just that good. The setting is World War II, Nazi-occupied France. The story follows two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, and how they each respond in times of great challenge. Their parallel stories are as different as their personalities, but are just as suspenseful, complicated, and emotional. Although The Nightingale is considered fiction, it is firmly planted in well-researched truth. Isabelle's character is based on the late Andrée de Jongh (1916-2007), an amazing woman who repeatedly risked her life helping British and American servicemen escape on foot from Nazi-occupied Belgium and France. You can read more about the woman herself HERE.Sadly, Andrée de Jongh is only one of the many quiet heroes that our future generations will likely never know if not for inspired authors like Kristin Hannah. The Nightingale offers a story of women surviving in unthinkable circumstances - the underestimated gender finding a way to take action. It shows readers that at times protectiveness requires dangerous risks, fear often proceeds acts of bravery, and those who may appear weak can indeed possess incredible strength. I didn't want this book to end because it's not just about the ravages of war, it's also about love, life, and rebellious courage. These women, who had everything (and everyone) to lose, put it all on the line to help others. I have been spared from the direct horrors of war, but I asked the same question that Ms. Hannah herself asked in an interview about her book, “I found myself consumed with a single, overwhelming question, as relevant today as it was seventy years ago: When would I, as a wife and mother, risk my life — and more important, my child's life — to save a stranger?” Most of us wouldn't. But which is worst: The fear of the risk or the fear of letting children grow up in a world where good people do nothing to stop evil? I cannot recommend this book highly enough.My favorite quote:“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.”Note: Isabelle started out her life as an unruly child, but her tendency to rebel led to great things. If you're raising a hellion yourself, just hang in there – you never know what their independent spirit might develop into!
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  • Angela M
    January 2, 2015
    I almost didn't read this book and it would have been my loss if I didn't, because I would have missed out on knowing Isabel and Vianne , and the story of their indescribable bravery and volition to save lives in their roles in the French Resistance during WWII. Oh I know this is a work of fiction and these two women are characters in a novel . But I also know as history tells us there were real men and women risking their lives doing the very same things Isabel and Vianne did . A recent article I almost didn't read this book and it would have been my loss if I didn't, because I would have missed out on knowing Isabel and Vianne , and the story of their indescribable bravery and volition to save lives in their roles in the French Resistance during WWII. Oh I know this is a work of fiction and these two women are characters in a novel . But I also know as history tells us there were real men and women risking their lives doing the very same things Isabel and Vianne did . A recent article tells how Hannah based the story on real events and real people ."The subject of “The Nightingale” was an outgrowth of research Hannah had done for her earlier novel “Winter Garden,” when she came across information about a Resistance heroine — the 19-year-old Belgian woman Andrée de Jongh. This brave teenager, inspired in turn by the earlier World War I heroine Edith Cavell, established the Comet Escape Line, a secret network of people who risked their lives to help Allied servicemen escape over the Pyrenees to Spain. De Jongh’s story inspired Hannah to conduct further research into the French Resistance, finding stories about women who had put themselves and their children in peril by hiding Jewish families. And de Jongh became the model for Isabelle, the younger sister, who, as “the Nightingale,” personally led downed Allied pilots over the mountains to safety." ( Seattle Times February 22, 2015)The story is all encompassing in many ways , depicting not only the war , the holocaust, the suffering and starvation, the death , the concentration camps , the emotional, physical and mental toll on people and the unrelentingly will of the people in the Resistance . We see the depth of friendship between Vianne and Rachel , a mother's or father's love for their children and the sacrifices they will make to save them with Vianne and Sophia and with Julian and Isabel and we see the raw innocence of first love that becomes a deeper love with Isabel and Gaetan .I almost didn't read this because I had previously read two other books by Hannah , one of which I loved and one that I didn't , but I could not continue to ignore the 4 and mostly 5 star ratings that so many of my Goodreads friends gave this book . These are friends who are drawn to the same books that I have loved . I'm glad I paid attention to them . My Goodreads friend Evelyn said that by the end of the book she couldn't breathe. I think that she described the feeling perfectly. I wonder why it is that the books that make me feel like I can't breathe are the ones that I love the most . I think it's because these books evoke the feelings that make us human. In this case it is a story that begs us to remember what happened. I couldn't recommend it more .
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  • Nea
    December 6, 2014
    Kristin Hannah is a pro in the chick-lit genre, and I applaud her efforts to break into historical fiction with The Nightingale. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I loved the result. When I read historical fiction in a war setting, I expect a certain rawness that just wasn't delivered here. Yes, she included historically accurate descriptions of carnage, but the tone was destroyed with a barrage of trite elements. The two main characters happen to be beautiful, irresistible, young sisters with da Kristin Hannah is a pro in the chick-lit genre, and I applaud her efforts to break into historical fiction with The Nightingale. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I loved the result. When I read historical fiction in a war setting, I expect a certain rawness that just wasn't delivered here. Yes, she included historically accurate descriptions of carnage, but the tone was destroyed with a barrage of trite elements. The two main characters happen to be beautiful, irresistible, young sisters with daddy issues. Of course! Isabelle is a rebellious, virgin brat who engages in her first act of passion with a handsome, bad-boyish, older guy who doesn't seem to notice that they are both starving, injured, stinking to high hell, covered in blood, and stuck outside after running for days from enemy planes and bullets. Vianne, the older sister, is equally beautiful and naive, but also disgustingly helpless, fragile and unable to think for herself. I daydreamed of slapping her several times.Character development allowed for some improvement in the women, so they weren't totally unlikable throughout the book. However, they never felt real. They felt like Hollywood characters: The perfect actresses who play the roles of average people. I think I threw up in my mouth a bit with the addition of a strikingly handsome, kind Nazi acting as some type of Prince Charming on his time off from beating and killing people. Between the lines I read: "Oh yes, Mr. Nazi, you're irresistible, let's enjoy forbidden moments and fall in love, and hope the reader actually enjoys this bullsh!t."My complaints aside, I didn't rate this book too poorly because there were good parts. The Nightingale offers historically accurate details, moments of intrigue, and even some glimpses of true female strength. It simply lacked a consistent, believable tone. The unnaturalness and many nuances constantly jarred me away from the WWII setting. I liked the end most of all, so I suggest finishing the book if you start it.My recommendation: If you're a big chick-lit fan, this book may be for you. On the other hand, if you prefer literary fiction or just want to read a great war novel, look elsewhere.
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  • Stephanie
    February 8, 2015
    Everyone should read The Nightingale!!This was a well-written, emotionally wrenching, and POWERFUL book. It is now on my list of best books ever! I got the notice that my request for this book was in last night on the "cloud library" and once I started reading, I couldn't stop. The tears are still streaming down my face as I write this review.The book is set during World War II in France, occupied by the Nazi's. The story focuses on two sisters (Isabelle and Vianne) who had a difficult upbringin Everyone should read The Nightingale!!This was a well-written, emotionally wrenching, and POWERFUL book. It is now on my list of best books ever! I got the notice that my request for this book was in last night on the "cloud library" and once I started reading, I couldn't stop. The tears are still streaming down my face as I write this review.The book is set during World War II in France, occupied by the Nazi's. The story focuses on two sisters (Isabelle and Vianne) who had a difficult upbringing and who couldn't be more different. How they survive the war and navigate through this period is compelling. Hard times are described realistically -- death, starvation, sacrifice, atrocities, heartbreak, love in the time of war.... I don't want to give too much of the plot away -- please read it -- you won't regret it!! This book also depicts how women were able to help in the war. Not only by supporting their families to survive, but also by hiding Jewish children and escorting Allied pilots to safety. I love how Hannah depicted these little-known stories.This was my first book by Kristin Hannah... I will be seeking out more!
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  • Helen Stavraki
    May 19, 2016
    Το υπέροχο λυπητερό κελάηδημα αυτού του αηδονιού με συγκλόνισε εξ αρχής, με αγκάλιασε και με ταξίδεψε σε ιστορικές διαδρομές γεμάτες φρίκη και πόνο με μοναδικό κίνητρο επιβίωσης την αγάπη και όπλο αντίστασης την δύναμη που κρύβουμε μέσα μας και δεν το γνωρίζουμε. Μεταφερόμαστε στη Γαλλία κατα τη διάρκεια του Β παγκοσμίου πολέμου και εκεί αρχίζει να αποτυπώνεται η απόλυτη σκληρότητα,η ωμή βία, η εξαθλίωση και η απόγνωση των απλών ανθρώπων που γίνονται έρμαια στους δυνατούς του κόσμου που την τύχ Το υπέροχο λυπητερό κελάηδημα αυτού του αηδονιού με συγκλόνισε εξ αρχής, με αγκάλιασε και με ταξίδεψε σε ιστορικές διαδρομές γεμάτες φρίκη και πόνο με μοναδικό κίνητρο επιβίωσης την αγάπη και όπλο αντίστασης την δύναμη που κρύβουμε μέσα μας και δεν το γνωρίζουμε. Μεταφερόμαστε στη Γαλλία κατα τη διάρκεια του Β´ παγκοσμίου πολέμου και εκεί αρχίζει να αποτυπώνεται η απόλυτη σκληρότητα,η ωμή βία, η εξαθλίωση και η απόγνωση των απλών ανθρώπων που γίνονται έρμαια στους δυνατούς του κόσμου που την τύχη μας ορίζουν. Αφού οι ναζί εισβάλουν και καταλαμβάνουν την Γαλλία,δυο αδελφές εντελώς διαφορετικές μα και τοσο ίδιες ξεκινούν το δικό τους αγώνα,που δεν περιορίζεται μόνο στην επιβίωση αλλά ξεκινούν την αντίσταση και την ανιση μάχη ενάντια στους κατακτητές σιωπηλά και θαρραλέα αψηφώντας τις αμείλικτες συνέπειες και τον όλεθρο του πολέμου. Η μια ειναι μάνα και έχει σημαία και λόγω ύπαρξης το παιδί της και την οικογένεια της. Η άλλη ειναι μια παρορμητική ατίθασα θηλυκή φύση που ενώνει ολα τα ιδανικά και τις αξίες της στο όνομα ενός μεγάλου έρωτα. Όνειρα και ελπίδες, ανατροπές, λυρικές περιγραφές και πάνω απο ολα απρόσμενη τρυφερότητα και ανθρωπιά. Συμπόνοια και αλληλεγγύη ανακατεμένα με πόνο τρόμο και στερήσεις σε κάνουν να αισθάνεσαι περηφάνεια, συγκίνηση και βαθύ σεβασμό για τον αγώνα αγάπης αυτών των γυναικών. Το αηδόνι ειναι ο καλός οιωνός,το μόνο ελπιδοφόρο σημείο αναφοράς που με το κελάηδημα του φέρνει χαρμόσυνες ειδήσεις και ελπίδα. Ειναι ένα μικρό απροστάτευτο εξαθλιωμένο και μοναχικό αηδόνακι που ζει μόνο με αγάπη. Ειναι είδος υπό εξαφάνιση. Και κινδυνεύει. Ίσως να υπάρχουν κι αλλα αηδόνια που η ζωή τους εξαρτάται απο την πίστη και την αγάπη για τον συνάνθρωπο, την οικογένεια, τη φιλια, τα ιδανικά,την ισότητα,το δίκαιο, την ελευθερία και την ειρηνη. Ναι, αναμφίβολα υπαρχουν ανάμεσα μας- μέσα μας. “Η αγάπη πρέπει να είναι δυνατότερη από το μίσος, αλλιώς δεν έχουμε μέλλον"Συστήνεται ανεπιφυλακτα Καλή ανάγνωση.
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  • Drew (Drew’s Cup of Tea)
    January 6, 2017
    Oh my goodness, I loved it. I loved it so much.I haven't felt this invested in a book for a long time. Those addictive, fast paced YA books come and go - think Heartless, a 2016 favorite of mine. And then there are those rich, descriptive adult books that fill you up with new knowledge - like The Martian and The Wonder. It's rare when a book combines both of these things. And that's exactly what The Nightingale somehow, brilliantly managed to do.This book takes a look at two sisters living in Fr Oh my goodness, I loved it. I loved it so much.I haven't felt this invested in a book for a long time. Those addictive, fast paced YA books come and go - think Heartless, a 2016 favorite of mine. And then there are those rich, descriptive adult books that fill you up with new knowledge - like The Martian and The Wonder. It's rare when a book combines both of these things. And that's exactly what The Nightingale somehow, brilliantly managed to do.This book takes a look at two sisters living in France during World War Two. No one believes the Nazis will invade France, but that's exactly what happens. We follow Vianne's side of the story; her sadness as her husband is drafted and she's left to look after her young daughter by herself. When a Nazi general moves into her house, things become even more complicated.Then there's Isabelle, Vianne's eighteen year old impulsive, reckless sister whose hatred toward the Nazis drives her to join a French Resistance group. But passing out pamphlets isn't enough, and soon Isabelle is caught up in a dangerous, secret rebellion.I loved Vianne and Isabelle so much. They were strong women who were put through the worst. They showed the females' side of the war. As Isabelle said, most people thought of men being involved in war, but didn't remember the female pilots, medical workers, or women back home surviving until their husband's return. “Men tell stories,” I say. It is the truest, simplest answer to his question. “Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.” The writing was so gorgeous and it astounded me how exciting the plot was. You would think the average 400+ page adult historical fiction would be pretty boring, right? I know I did, and I was so wrong. The tense plot had me ripping through the pages as Isabelle manipulated her way into Paris or Vianne slept under the same roof as a Nazi.Ironically, I just finished another WWII book, Blood for Blood, and I said how brutally it showcased the horrors of the Nazis - but The Nightingale makes that book look nice in comparison. Make no mistake - this book has rape, torture, death, and doesn't shy away from details of children going hungry or women being sent to concentration camps. But I hugely appreciated the detail, even if it made me flinch or tearfully want to skip ahead, because it put me in the minds of two survivors. I felt their suffering, pain, and determination.A beautiful, heartbreakingly honest story.
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  • Lady Vigilante (Feifei)
    February 1, 2015
    4 stars!I can see why this book is loved by many and it really does warrant all the high ratings. It’s written in such a raw and poignant manner I think every reader will be moved in some way by the tragic beauty in this story. Also, this review will be weird and shorter than normal because:A) I’ve been distracted lately and have lost the ability to reviewB) This was a really good book and that right there says it allThere are two main female leads, sisters Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac and the st 4 stars!I can see why this book is loved by many and it really does warrant all the high ratings. It’s written in such a raw and poignant manner I think every reader will be moved in some way by the tragic beauty in this story. Also, this review will be weird and shorter than normal because:A) I’ve been distracted lately and have lost the ability to reviewB) This was a really good book and that right there says it allThere are two main female leads, sisters Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac and the story is told through both of their POVs. Vianne is the more passive woman who easily conforms and Isabelle is the fierce rebel. I think what surprised me the most was that even though I’m usually drawn to strong, independent characters like Isabelle it wasn’t her that stood out to me – it was Vianne. I’m a sucker for in-depth character development and seeing Vianne become a stronger, tougher, more assertive woman as the plot progressed made me root for her. Isabelle’s character didn’t change – once a rebel, always a rebel. I did think some of her actions were childish in the beginning and lacked maturity but I also got that in war times nothing else matters besides life and death. It was equally heartwarming and heartbreaking to read about their sisterly bond and strained relationship with their father, and the sacrifices both made to survive. There’s also a German captain who I felt SO much for. I cried a lot while reading this book and one of the reasons I did was because of him. Usually if a book keeps my attention and makes me ugly cry it’ll automatically go onto my favorites list. While I liked this book immensely, my problem with it is that there wasn’t anything else that made it stand out among the many, MANY other war stories I’ve read. The commonality for these kinds of books is that they will:1. Make me cry2. Be extremely riveting and keep my attention3. Be read in one sittingAnd that was the case with The Nightingale: nothing more, nothing less. Just like those other war stories, this one’s unforgettable in its own way, but didn’t make me want to jump on rooftops and scream to the whole world that this was a one of a kind book. Personally, I feel like those who’ve read many books with this same setting will like it, but also find little that makes it an outstanding read but those that want to dip their toe into historical fiction will find this to be a big winner. Either way, happy reading to all!
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  • Brandie
    October 3, 2014
    By far the most heart breaking and one of the hardest books emotionally that I have ever read. It has been a long time since I've cried so much reading a book. Even though it's tough to stomach, it was a really incredible story that I know will stay with me for a very long time. _________________After sleeping on this, I haven't stopped thinking about it and had to bump it up to 5 stars, with a proper review.I like a good cry once in awhile. What I wasn’t expecting was the sob fest I would get w By far the most heart breaking and one of the hardest books emotionally that I have ever read. It has been a long time since I've cried so much reading a book. Even though it's tough to stomach, it was a really incredible story that I know will stay with me for a very long time. _________________After sleeping on this, I haven't stopped thinking about it and had to bump it up to 5 stars, with a proper review.I like a good cry once in awhile. What I wasn’t expecting was the sob fest I would get while reading this incredible book. It has been a long time since a book has brought me to so many tears, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Just that this book was heartbreaking and at times very difficult to read because of the subject matter. Most of all it was a complete eye opener for me.I have never been a fan of historical fiction. But having read almost all of Hannah’s books, including Winter Garden, which was historical and I loved it, I decided to give this book a try.History was my least favorite subject in school, and I retained very little information about the Holocaust and the Nazi’s, other than obviously how completely awful it was. Clearly Hannah did a lot of research for this novel because, even though it’s a work of fiction, it felt so true to life and it completely devastated me. The horror people went through during those times is unfathomable to me. And I lived it through the eyes of these two sisters. It broke my heart over and over again. So much that I can’t stop thinking about the book still today.The book starts in 1995 from the POV of an older woman who’s son is about to put her in an assisted living facility, then it takes you to France in the 1940’s. As this woman is reminiscing about her life during WWII, you don’t know who she is until the very end of the book, and that was brilliant on Hannah’s part.Although the flashbacks to France and the war are incredibly difficult to read, I couldn’t put the book down because I had to know who the woman was at the end. And I needed to know what happened to these two sisters in the story, more than I needed sleep last night. Seeing the war through their eyes was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Hannah’s prose is beautiful, her writing flawless. I have always loved her novels and have rarely read one without crying, but this book was by far the most emotional novel I’ve ever read. Beautiful and tragic at the same time, this book will stay with me for a very long time.If you are a fan of historical fiction, this is a must read. If you haven’t read Kristin Hannah, I recommend you add her to your list immediately! Just make sure you have a box of tissues close by. And trust me, every single book of hers is worth all the tears!
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  • Carol
    December 29, 2014
    NIGHTINGALE is an excellent WW2 novel, but, in some instances, not unlike others of its kind. It explores the horrors of war via occupation by the Nazi's, their brutality and mass murdering of Jews, and the despicable treatment in concentration camps.What separates this work of historical fiction from all the rest is the emphasis placed on the important part women played during wartime. The amazing stories of bravery by two sisters, Vianne who struggles to keep the home fires burning while battl NIGHTINGALE is an excellent WW2 novel, but, in some instances, not unlike others of its kind. It explores the horrors of war via occupation by the Nazi's, their brutality and mass murdering of Jews, and the despicable treatment in concentration camps.What separates this work of historical fiction from all the rest is the emphasis placed on the important part women played during wartime. The amazing stories of bravery by two sisters, Vianne who struggles to keep the home fires burning while battling starvation and invasion by SS Officers, and the rebellious and beautiful Isabelle who joins the resistance full steam ahead by passing secret messages day and night and smuggling downed pilots through treacherous mountains so they can fight another day. There is, of course, a wonderful love story intertwined with all the inhumanity as well as a most interesting end to the novel. Enjoyed it!
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  • Brandi
    November 30, 2015
    Love & War.Family & Foe.Life & Death.The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters living during a perilous time in French history. During the Nazi occupation of France during WWII, Vianne and Isabelle, different in so many ways, will both embark on separate journeys. Surrounded by danger, these sisters learn about love and loss. Survival verses morality, a quite acceptance or having the courage to make a stand. This story had me completely captivated, from the beginning, until the Love & War.Family & Foe.Life & Death.The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters living during a perilous time in French history. During the Nazi occupation of France during WWII, Vianne and Isabelle, different in so many ways, will both embark on separate journeys. Surrounded by danger, these sisters learn about love and loss. Survival verses morality, a quite acceptance or having the courage to make a stand. This story had me completely captivated, from the beginning, until the last page. In love we find out who we want to be; In war we find out who we are." A heartbreaking, thought-provoking novel, I simply cannot explain how much this story moved me. Each detail had purpose, and the overall impact was an unforgettable experience. A word of warning for my romance junkie friends, the romance is light, but in my opinion it was still very powerful. In all honesty, it felt realistic considering the setting. I know now what matters, and it is not what I lost. It is my memories. Wounds heal. Love last. We remain. Buddy Read with Pavlina! I have high hopes for this one, with it being compared to The Bronze Horseman and all ;)
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    April 11, 2015
    MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading ListI finished this book in tears. I'm not sure there are many that haven't done the same. What is there left for me to say that I'm sure so many people have already said about this book. It made me mad, made me sad, made me cry, made me happy. The things these two sisters went through during this horrible time is unbelievable. I know this is a work of fiction but the truth is there in things that have happened. More atrocities than are in this book. But, I'm ta MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading ListI finished this book in tears. I'm not sure there are many that haven't done the same. What is there left for me to say that I'm sure so many people have already said about this book. It made me mad, made me sad, made me cry, made me happy. The things these two sisters went through during this horrible time is unbelievable. I know this is a work of fiction but the truth is there in things that have happened. More atrocities than are in this book. But, I'm talking about THIS book. All of these people they talk about in this book trying to survive. They are starving, they are killed, they are destroyed. But there are a few brave souls willing to risk their lives to help as many as they can. To me, this book is about struggle, compassion you didn't know you could have, broken hearts and lives. All of these things for some sadistic idiot. I can never understand the things people do to other people, they still do! The story of Vianne and her sister Isabelle is something that gets inside of your heart and makes you route for them and for all they do. Your on the edge of your seat through a lot of it! I'm just at a loss for words at how much this book touched my heart. I recommend it to anyone who also has a heart. *I would like to thank St. Martin's Press and my book group for a copy of this wonderful book*
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  • Elyse
    December 24, 2014
    I'm late to the party...But here goes:"The Nightingale" begins with an unnamed elderly woman as the narrator. She is living in Oregon, and the year is 1995. Her son is helping her move...so she is downsizing her possessions. She insists that she must bring her old- large- trunk that she kept stored in the attic. In the truck contains 'past memories'. There is a WW11 identity card of a young French women, named Juliette Gervaise. As the story transports to France, 1939, we are wondering about Jul I'm late to the party...But here goes:"The Nightingale" begins with an unnamed elderly woman as the narrator. She is living in Oregon, and the year is 1995. Her son is helping her move...so she is downsizing her possessions. She insists that she must bring her old- large- trunk that she kept stored in the attic. In the truck contains 'past memories'. There is a WW11 identity card of a young French women, named Juliette Gervaise. As the story transports to France, 1939, we are wondering about Juliette Gervaise... and the elderly unnamed woman in 1995 ... and how they are connected to the story, ( we don't find out until towards the end). We meet the Rosingal sisters: Vianne and Isabelle. ( when war was still in the 'threat-stage'). Their personalities are different. Vianne is 10 years older, married with a child....and lives in the country. Her husband is sent off to war. Isabel has just been been kicked out of - yet another- boarding school. She is 18 at the start..and sent back home to live with her father in Paris. The sisters father had abandon them years ago ( ages 14 & 4), after their mother had died, by dropping them off, with the caretaker out in the country. So, Isabel knows her dad is not going to be very happy to have her back home. When the Germans invade Paris, her father sends Isabelle to live with Vianne. As a result of the Nazi occupation, a German soldier is stationed at Vianne's house... And Isabelle ends up going back to Paris because her attitude, defiance, and rebellion, is putting Vivianne and her daughter Sophie in danger. Isabelle and Vianne both have different perspectives and reactions to the injustices of war. They both are standing for what they believe is right, they both have courage, and both show compassion in different ways. As the story moves on we see the sisters reconcile and/or at least acknowledge their differences. Through the storytelling -we see how the Nazi's treated France - ( and what police officers did to their own French people- especially 'all' Jews. ( The roundups, the hiding, and the deportations). The history is haunting & horrific. The real emotional impact of "The Nightingale", is towards the end of the book. It's hard not to 'feel' something.....Yet parts did not feel authentic to me...with scenes and dialogue being over exaggerated. Parts were predictable, and cliché. I think I'm the rare bird with novel. 3.5 rating.
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  • Candace
    March 10, 2015
    'The Nightingale' is a historical fiction, set in German-occupied France during WWII. Spanning the years of the war, this riveting story follows two sisters as they struggle to survive and persevere through the Nazi invasion. As the reader, you get to see the war that was taking place on the home front from each sister's unique vantage point. It is a heart wrenching, beautiful and tragic story. As the older sister, Vianne feels responsible for keeping her younger sister, Isabelle, safe. When the 'The Nightingale' is a historical fiction, set in German-occupied France during WWII. Spanning the years of the war, this riveting story follows two sisters as they struggle to survive and persevere through the Nazi invasion. As the reader, you get to see the war that was taking place on the home front from each sister's unique vantage point. It is a heart wrenching, beautiful and tragic story. As the older sister, Vianne feels responsible for keeping her younger sister, Isabelle, safe. When the occupation begins, Isabelle is sent to stay with Vianne in the country, being cast out of Paris by her father. Vianne's husband, Antoine, has been called to report to the Army, leaving Vianne and their young daughter, Sophie, behind. As the Germans invade Paris, Isabelle begins the trek to her sister's home, witnessing the atrocities committed by the invading troops firsthand. By the time that Isabelle arrives on Vianne's doorstep, she is determined to join the resistance and make a difference. Young and impulsive, Vianne is certain that her younger sister will get herself, if not all of them, killed. Their relationship is tenuous, at best, and Vianne struggles to get through to her strong-minded sibling. Vianne is naive, having not witnessed the actions of the invading Nazis, as her sister had. She believes that if they keep their heads down and don't draw attention to themselves, they'll be okay. She follows the rules and tries to reign in Isabelle's defiant behaviors before it is too late. However, as time passes and the occupation grows increasingly difficult, the sisters go their separate ways. Each of them sets out on a different course, trying to survive the best way they know how. Despite the distance between them, each sister ends up fighting the Nazi invasion in different ways. The bold and daring Isabelle actively assists allied airmen in their escapes, while the mild-mannered Vianne begins helping hide away Jewish children.While there was romance in this book, it took a back stage to the war story. However, this gripping story held my attention from start to finish. I listened to the entire audiobook in one day, without stopping. This is a beautifully written, inspiring story. I loved every minute of it! Hands-down, one of the best stories I've read this year.
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  • Melissa
    October 1, 2014
    “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” This is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come. I think most people would agree, the best kind of books are those that evoke strong emotions and make you feel. Among my favorites are books that made me think about life, fall in love or ripped me to pieces and left me in tears. THE NIGHTINGALE managed to do all of those things.I’ve always had a fascination with World War II stories and with anything taking “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” This is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come. I think most people would agree, the best kind of books are those that evoke strong emotions and make you feel. Among my favorites are books that made me think about life, fall in love or ripped me to pieces and left me in tears. THE NIGHTINGALE managed to do all of those things.I’ve always had a fascination with World War II stories and with anything taking place during this time period, you have to be prepared for a tragic story. Even though this book was beyond sad, I’m not exaggerating when I say I broke down, it was beautifully written and utterly captivating.The Nightingale is a story of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, from France, who find themselves in the midst of the Nazi invasion and the struggles of war. With an alternating perspective, Kristin Hannah tells two very different stories through the sister's eyes. Two different perspectives that made me ponder what I would have done in their situations. Would I fight against the horror or sit back and follow the rules instead?Vianne, the oldest sister, lives in rural France with her husband and young daughter. When she gets the news that her husband's been called up to fight against the Germans, she’s terrified. She convinces herself the best thing to do, for her and her daughter’s survival, is to keep her head down and follow the rules. Surely, everything will go back to normal when Antoine returns.Isabelle, the younger sister, has always felt alone and unloved. After her mother died, she was abandoned by her father and shipped off to a boarding school by Vianne and Antoine. She’s become a risk taker and rule breaker, which won’t allow her to sit back and do nothing while the Nazi’s take everything and destroy France.Amongst all the darkness, devastation and loss, there were some bright spots. The biggest being Gaetan. It destroyed me that Isabelle finally found someone that truly understood her and shared her passion. Someone that she desperately wanted to love, but the circumstances made it impossible for them to even try and make a go of it. Ever the optimist, I found myself hoping against all hope that they could find a way to make it work. Where there's a will there's a way, right? “If we weren’t here - hiding in a safe house - if the world weren’t ripping itself apart, if this was just an ordinary world, would you want there to be an us, Gaetan?” Vianne and Isabelle's story destroyed me. I don’t think that I've ever found myself sobbing the way I did at the end of this book. It was both the best and worst ending imaginable. This by far is my favorite book this year or maybe ever.
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  • Cheri
    December 5, 2015
    3.5 StarsI read this now (rather than maybe sometime in the future) because a goodreads friend (thank you, Jennifer!) mentioned in her recent review that they were making a movie out of this book. I enjoyed this, but it would be inaccurate for me to say I loved it. I just never really believed in the characters, I never felt they were authentic or “real.” As a result, all of Isabel’s behavior and actions felt created for the purpose of manipulation, and I never really could shake that feeling fo 3.5 StarsI read this now (rather than maybe sometime in the future) because a goodreads friend (thank you, Jennifer!) mentioned in her recent review that they were making a movie out of this book. I enjoyed this, but it would be inaccurate for me to say I loved it. I just never really believed in the characters, I never felt they were authentic or “real.” As a result, all of Isabel’s behavior and actions felt created for the purpose of manipulation, and I never really could shake that feeling for long enough to allow myself to believe in this story. Vienne was much the same, but is more of a background character.Yes, there are moments and parts of this book that felt more genuine than others, and it isn’t that I felt any scenes were impossible or inaccurate. This isn’t a history book, and I wasn’t concerned with historical accuracy as much as it just didn’t work for me as well as it did for others. It felt a bit like a YA version of something like Nancy Drew. Good enough, but not great, not “All the Light We Cannot See.”For me, where this story really shines is toward the end of the book. The real history haunts us, we read about it, hear stories about it, and we try to push it to the back of our minds, if momentarily, enough so we can go through our days, do the shopping, mow the lawn, go to work. I was moved by reading this, but you can’t help but be moved with even the mention of those days, the horrors, man’s inhumanity to man never gets to the point where one will say “oh, that again.” I’m glad that this reaches an audience, for me, that is enough.
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  • Sue
    November 30, 2015
    THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah is a historical fiction novel that takes place during World War II, in France, occupied by the Nazi's. The book starts in 1995 from the POV of an older woman, her son a doctor, is about to put her in an assisted living facility, then it takes you to France in the 1940’s. As this woman is reminiscing about her life during WWII, you don’t know who she is until the very end of the book. I couldn’t put the book down because I had to know who the woman was at the end THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah is a historical fiction novel that takes place during World War II, in France, occupied by the Nazi's. The book starts in 1995 from the POV of an older woman, her son a doctor, is about to put her in an assisted living facility, then it takes you to France in the 1940’s. As this woman is reminiscing about her life during WWII, you don’t know who she is until the very end of the book. I couldn’t put the book down because I had to know who the woman was at the end. Just brilliant!This is the tale of the two very different sisters, Viviane, and her younger sister Isabelle - who are trying to survive during wartime. Vianne and Isabelle, different in so many ways, will both embark on separate journeys. Surrounded by danger, these sisters learn about love and loss. Vianne feels responsible for keeping her younger sister, Isabelle, safe. When the occupation begins, Isabelle is sent to stay with Vianne, being cast out of Paris by her father. Vianne's husband, Antoine, has been called to report to the Army, leaving Vianne and their young daughter, Sophie, behind. As the Germans invade Paris, Isabelle begins the journey to her sister's home. When Isabelle arrives on Vianne's home, she is determined to join the resistance and make a difference. Young and impulsive, Vianne is certain that her younger sister will get herself, if not all of them, killed. I have to say that this is not my genre of choice, but after being invited by a Goodreads member to join their Buddy Read, and not making it in time, I still felt obliged to read this book now. All I can say is what an emotional and gut-wrenching novel this was to read. I couldn’t put the book down, once I started it. I had to know what was going to happen to my friends. This is one book where you will need to keep your Kleenex handy. This book had me in tears.This is the story of two sisters, told through both POVs, of the bravery of Vianne who struggles at home to provide for her children, battling starvation and invasion by SS Officers, and Isabelle who joins the resistance passing secret messages day and night and smuggling downed pilots through the mountains.The story covers not only the war, the holocaust, the suffering and starvation, death , the concentration camps , but more than that the will of people to survive. My favorite quote:“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.”A very emotional read!
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  • Elizabeth (Liz)
    March 9, 2015
    Holy Jesus. Holy. Jesus. I don't even have words. This book should be enshrined and worshiped. I'm dehydrated from the sheer sobbing and the copious amounts of snot. I'm so emotionally exhausted and overcome....who knows how long it will be before I'm right in the head and heart again. I don't know exactly how you 'favorite' a book like this, but I also can't fathom how you don't. 5 stars is nothing. 5 stars WAS the bar. The bar has been raised. As in, the bar has been blown out of the fucking w Holy Jesus. Holy. Jesus. I don't even have words. This book should be enshrined and worshiped. I'm dehydrated from the sheer sobbing and the copious amounts of snot. I'm so emotionally exhausted and overcome....who knows how long it will be before I'm right in the head and heart again. I don't know exactly how you 'favorite' a book like this, but I also can't fathom how you don't. 5 stars is nothing. 5 stars WAS the bar. The bar has been raised. As in, the bar has been blown out of the fucking water. I found perfection, and it's entitled The Nightingale.I'm not worthy, Kristin Hannah. Brava!!
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  • Jennifer Masterson
    July 4, 2015
    Sniffle sniffle!!! 5 HUGE STARS!!! There should be a warning that comes with this novel: "don't listen or read the end without a box of tissues!" The Nightingale was fantastic!!! I didn't expect to love this book the way I did. I wanted to be Isabelle at times! Her bravery was remarkable! This is a GREAT audiobook! The narrator was phenomenal!The Nightingale is basically about two sisters in Nazi occupied France during World War II. Vianne the older of the two sisters and the young and adventuro Sniffle sniffle!!! 5 HUGE STARS!!! There should be a warning that comes with this novel: "don't listen or read the end without a box of tissues!" The Nightingale was fantastic!!! I didn't expect to love this book the way I did. I wanted to be Isabelle at times! Her bravery was remarkable! This is a GREAT audiobook! The narrator was phenomenal!The Nightingale is basically about two sisters in Nazi occupied France during World War II. Vianne the older of the two sisters and the young and adventurous Isabelle. Although their stories are totally different they both endured tragedy beyond comprehension. What they endured was almost too much to bare at times. The novel goes back and forth in time to 1995, seamlessly. Although most of this book takes place during the War.At times the book did seem a tad bit cliche but it was so wonderful that I'm not knocking it down by even half a star. This was my first Kristin Hannah novel but it certainly will not be my last! I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE! It's being made into a movie and I'm putting it out there that Emily Blunt should definitely play Vianne and Melanie Laurent should play Isabelle!
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  • Tabetha
    May 23, 2015
    Rating: Five Emotional Stars Review: to comeThe story of two French sisters and their epic journey during WWII, as they try first to merely survive the War, then both become a part of the French Resistance. In each of their own ways, Vianne and Isabelle are able to make a difference and save lives, in a time when an entire generation is being wiped out. This book reads like a film, and I was not surprised to read that it is going to become one! It captured my attention all the way through, and l Rating: Five Emotional Stars Review: to comeThe story of two French sisters and their epic journey during WWII, as they try first to merely survive the War, then both become a part of the French Resistance. In each of their own ways, Vianne and Isabelle are able to make a difference and save lives, in a time when an entire generation is being wiped out. This book reads like a film, and I was not surprised to read that it is going to become one! It captured my attention all the way through, and left me first with tears streaming, then muffled sobs, then finally with the cry that brought my husband and boys to my side, trying to console me. It has excitement, intrigue, romance, and of course, moments of terror and horror...tissues needed...
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  • Rebecca
    February 4, 2015
    I expected a lot more from this book. Maybe it's because I had huge expectations but I feel quite let down by it. I appreciate the strong role of women but I was never really attached to the characters. It was like something was missing. The drama was over-powering and I struggled with the romance. It's not that it was necessarily a terrible novel but I was hoping for something incredible and it didn't quite rise to that for me personally.
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