The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

nightingaleWow!  This was my first thought as I finished this book.  I had been hearing for quite some time that I needed to read The Nightingale.  I had read Night Road recently, so I knew I liked Kristin Hannah’s style.

The Nightingale is the story of two sisters.  Their mother died when they were young and their father couldn’t handle raising them so he dropped them off at a finishing school.

Vianne was a bit older and took to life at her new home rather quickly.  She was successful, grew up, married, and became a mother.

Isabelle, the younger and more rebellious daughter, had a harder time.  She ran away from or was kicked out of multiple boarding and finishing schools before finally showing up on her father’s doorstep.

World War II is raging in other parts of Europe, but France has stayed pretty quiet…until the attacks start.  Isabelle gets sent to her sister’s house in the country and away from the danger in Paris.  She has a treacherous journey with the other refugees and realizes she wants to do more than run away to safety.

The war doesn’t hit Vianne’s doorstep until the refugees start flooding her rural town, with her sister among the survivors.  Vianne must deal with having her husband away at war, welcoming her sister into her home when their relationship is less than warm and fuzzy and then a Nazi officer decides to stay at her house too.

Each sister deals with the frustrations and hard times of the war differently.  This book shows both stories.

I’ve said it before, but I don’t think I could survive through some of the circumstances of World War II.  It scares me to see how normal their lives were and how quickly they changed.

I felt like the beginning of this book read a little slow.  I had a hard time getting through the first 100 pages or so.  At some points I even thought about not finishing it and moving on.  I can’t tell you what changed my mindset, but before I knew it, this book had enveloped me and I had to know how it ended.  I found myself telling people in my life about it and recommending it to anyone who enjoys history.  It was a part of history that I wasn’t familiar with and I’m glad I stuck it out.

Wow!  That pretty much sums it up.

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