“But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”
So, once upon a time I CRIED MY EYES OUT while reading a novel. A novel by the name of The Nightingale. Y’all, not even playing. Just thinking of one specific scene right now….
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.
This is the kind of story that takes you deep into the heart of a devastating era in our world history. It takes a look at what it would have been like for the countries the Nazis invaded and took over. What were the choices women (since most of the men we off fighting) had to make when Nazis demanded their houses and their cities? What were the risks? Did everyone simply give in or where those who fought back?
So as you can imagine, while I loved this novel, it’s no easy read. The subject matter doesn’t allow for that. Yet should you read it? Absolutely.
One thing I really liked was the character development. Early on both sisters had their issues, but I loved seeing how they developed throughout the pages. I thought it was accurate and an honest portrayal and by the end I was a fan of both of them.
I’m curious to read more about the French women during the Nazi invasion, especially since the actions of both sisters are based on true stories.
It’s always a bad idea to read low star reviews of books you really enjoy – it brings out my book sass. But right quick, I gotta say something. I’ve read and heard some complaints about some of the characters and actions predictable, but I don’t agree. These are the stories that really did happen. I’m thankful for a story that sheds light on the work women accomplished in France during WWII.
Have you read this one? This was a book club pick, so what are you reading for your book club?