Title: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Synopsis: Vianne and Isabelle have always been different. Not only were they born years apart, Isabelle has always been outspoken and impulsive while Vianne has played it safe. When Isabelle is kicked out of her last finishing school, she makes her way to Paris just as Germany invades. To her (and her sister’s) dismay, she is sent to live with Vianne and her daughter in a small village not far away to escape the invasion. But German occupation is spreading, and the women soon find their village also occupied- with a captain even billeted in Vianne’s home. Isabelle quickly resolves to do something, anything to fight back, while Vianne resolves to survive. As the war continues and conditions worsen, what will become of them?
Quote: “But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”
Review: While this book started much slower than I would have liked, it picked up speed and was racing by the end! Hannah does a wonderful job of developing her characters as they grow and change through the war and find their own places in it. The story really places you into the shoes of those who experienced German occupation and I love seeing their resilience in the face of such terrible times.
Somehow this year my reading kept returning to WWII, quite by happenstance. It makes me wish that I had studied it more in college, but my history interests were typically in an earlier era and I wasn’t that interested in the World Wars and really anything past 1900. But in reading these different novels it has showed me how truly global the fight was and how many different types of people that it affected in numerous different ways. Reading the variety has truly given me an appreciation for the era and the things that people went through. It’s heartbreaking but studying and learning about the less savory parts of history (although, really, that’s the majority of humanity) can inform us on how to avoid repeating it. While this book earns 4 out of 5 stars in my book for the slow pace at times, it’s definitely a recommended read.