Friday, April 28, 2017

The Nightingale Kristin Hannah Book Review - Riveting Historical Novel Set in Nazi France


I received this book to review from SheSpeaks 


Few novels succeed in creating interpersonal relationships with such complexity ranging from joy to the deepest depths of despair between female characters than does The Nightingale. And against the backdrop of France as it is ravaged by the Nazis during World War II, no less.

That, in a nutshell, is how I'd sum up this fictional book by #1 New York Times Best Selling Author Kristin Hannah. This title, originally published in 2015, was just released in paperback by publisher St. Martin's Press highly regarded for their well-written historical novels.

This intriguing piece of fiction is set in Nazi-occupied France in a little French village known as Carriveau, beginning when Vianne bids farewell to her husband who is off to the warfront. Actually, at the time of her goodbye to Antoine, she really doesn't think there's any chance that the Nazis will invade her country. 

How wrong Vianne realizes -- as readers soon find out -- that carefree French living is forever changed for the worse. This new reality pushes a married woman who doesn't know if her husband will come back from battle dead or alive now alone with her daughter without a father, and rebel eighteen-year old single sister Isabelle all into new existences where none of them know if they will survive another day with bombs constantly dropping on this once peaceful place. 

Eventually, the Germans take over Vianne's home and she and her young daughter have no choice but to live with the enemy or else there's a good chance they will die. Fast-changing circumstances quickly ensue, having the both of them facing a seemingly endless series of difficult choices as well choices in which they really have no choice at all.

Meanwhile, liberal black sheep of the family Isabelle meets up and falls for the charming partisan Gaetan, who believes the French can defeat the Nazi invasion from within. Tables are turned when he betrays her, sending this sassy, fearless young lady off to make difficult choices of her own. In the blink of an eye she's joined the Resistance, putting her life on the line to save fellow citizens. 

"In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are."  

                                                   from The Nightingale

Reading a historical novel like this one draws you in, transporting you to another place and time, carrying you inside hearts, minds and souls of the story's strong multi-dimensional, women characters. If your experience with this book is anything like mine, you likely will be inspired and won't be able to put this book down. 

A sister, a mother, and a daughter -- you can imagine the drama with that kind of family dynamic interacting under the stresses of World War II. All I'm going to say here is with two adult sisters with a huge age gap between them and different marital status (one is a married mother) leading very different wartime lives, you can expect some sparks between the siblings fueling family drama. That's what makes the protagonist and other female characters in this novel so fascinating.  

Grab some the tissues. Through The Nightingale you'll get an idea of what it must have been like to live and survive in wartime Europe. But, at the same time, you will experience flash moments of joy and learning about what's most important about relationships and simply being alive.

Want to know how everything turns out? You'll need to read the book to find out exactly what happens.

About the Author
American best-selling author Kristin Hannah is a former lawyer who has written twenty-two novels. Some of her other popular books include Firefly Lane, Winter Garden and Fly Away. This is the first title I've read by Hannah and I can't wait to read some of her other novels.

A few of Hannah's photos in France inspiring The Nightingale...

More About The Nightingale
Released in 2015 in hardcover and just this week in paperback. Buy it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To stay up to date on all the buzz about The Nightingale, follow St Martin's Press on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. You can also connect with author Kristin Hannah on Facebook.

FTC Disclosure: I received the book from SheSpeaks to facilitate this review. However, opinions here are my own. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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