Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

In love we find out who we want to be.

In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

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 France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.  

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 the compelling and mysterious 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. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real--and deadly--consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to 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. 

5 out of 5 stars

I had no idea when I began this book that the journey would be so memorable.  I knew going into the story it was getting some amazing reviews, I knew it was historical and set during WWII, and I knew it was optioned to be a movie.  But, that's about it.  I read the synopsis and honestly wasn't sure I was going to fall in love with it.  I have read some historical novels, which I've loved, The Outlander Series, Gone With the Wind, etc., but nothing related to World War II.  

The Nightingale is mostly told from a narrative POV and not the main characters POV.  I typically prefer the POV of the character so I can gain a better connection with them, however in this book it was very well done and I still felt an incredible connection to the characters.  We see the war and its effects playing out in parallel lives-sisters, Vianne and Isabelle.  The sisters are like night and day in approaches to situations and in life in general.  Both girls were mistreated and "unloved" by their father after their mother died when Isabelle was 4.  Age is also a factor, as Vianne is many years older than Isabelle.  The likelihood that they will ever be close sisters becomes slimmer with every passing day. 

Vianne is married and has a daughter named Sophie.  When her husband, Antoine, is drafted to the French Army she only wants to remain optimistic.  She never wants to believe that things will be horrible and would almost rather stick her head in the sand than face facts.  I can see exactly why she behaves this way since she wants to remain sane and if she gives into her true feelings she fears everything will come crashing down on her. 

Isabelle is full of sassiness and is bold to a fault.  She acts without thinking but is passionate about life and living it free.  I love her character and her bravery.  She would rather die fighting for what she believes in that live a life she hates.  She makes some poor decisions at times, but don't we all.  Her passion is an inspiration to anyone.  

To say I am thrilled this is going to be a movie is an understatement.  I was fully expecting a love story to take place during a war when I opened this book.  I was not prepared for the type of love story I actually received.  This is so much more than love between a man and woman.  It is a love story for the ages.  It reaches beyond romance and includes family, country and so much more.  I sobbed during this book, especially the last chapter or two.  I recommend it to anyone that is searching for a book that is not a cookie cutter story, but a journey of heroism, women's equality and bravery, and a love than encompasses a generation. 

No comments:

Post a Comment