The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale has literally been sitting on my TBR since it first came out. Slightly regretful I didn’t pick it up

 earlier! It was such a fantastic read I consumed it within two days. (would have been one day but that pesky thing called work got in the way of my reading time…)

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. 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. Suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, 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. He is a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France 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.


While The Nightingale deals with some heavy themes it really is a beautiful story. Though I didn’t identify with either of the sisters straight away, I came to love both equally as their stories throughout the war progressed. I felt both Isabelle and Vianne were strong characters in their own right and I really felt for the challenges they had to face.

There was so much attention to detail – I felt like I was right there in France. The starvation and daily struggles with striving just to live were so vivid. So interesting to have the story told from those who were left behind while the men were fighting. A side of the story you don’t hear as much and nice to have the story not told through letters as well.

I cried my eyes out at the ending – it fitted so well. I was second guessing myself as to whose point of view we were experiencing in the future. It was a wonderfully written book, with vivid characters. The connections each of the characters have with each other and the central theme of love. Love to pull us through the war but also help to get over and through life after war.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
What did you think of Isabelle’s and Vianne’s relationship? At what point did you realise which sister we were following in 1995?
If you like historical fiction try Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Happy Reading!

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