Title: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Genre: Historical Fiction
“In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.”
WOW WOW WOW! As with many WWII novels, this was a love/hate relationship (because you know not everything can end happily for everyone). I literally couldn’t put this book down! I won a copy of “The Winter Garden” by this author earlier in the year and it made me want to read more by her. This book was also the winner of the Goodreads Choice for Historical Fiction in 2015.
The Nightingale shares the experiences and relationships of two sisters Isabelle (alias Juliette) and Vianne. When the girls were young their father went to war and came back a very changed man. Their mother passed away when Vianne was 14 and Isabelle was 3. Their father dumped them off with a stranger to raise them. Feeling abandoned, Vianne ended up having a baby and getting married by the age of 17. Struggling with her own feelings of abandonment all over again, Isabelle grows up desperately wanting to feel connected to anyone. Fast forward to 1939 and the sisters are back under the same roof trying to survive after Vianne’s husband has been sent off to fight in the war leaving her and their daughter Sophie behind. Isabelle has a rebellious spirit and wants to fight for their freedom, while Vianne is more concerned with protecting her small family. As the story progresses, Isabelle runs off to make a difference for the rebellion while a little of her spirit rubs off on her sister, who fights to secretly save and disguise Jewish children.
My recommendation is that you have a box of tissues nearby when you read this one. That, and start reading in the morning when you have no other plans for your day.
Age Appropriateness: I would say this one is a bit more mature than the Winter Garden was due to some sexual content that is in the book (Including rape). Although not a frequent occurrence, it does exist. While a reality of the times, I wouldn’t consider it suitable for younger readers.