Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah---A Review

Good Morning my reading friends!  It is a great day to be alive!

It's October,the wind is brisk, the sun is shining and I am in my element.  I love the fall probably more than I love spring.   I also love historical reads and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah was surely one of  those reads I would have hated to miss out on.

I guess my grandson Noah is a lot like me in this respect.   He loves history and thinks he may want to teach history someday.   He loves to read about the world wars and one of my favorite reads from my teenage years was We thought We Heard the Angels Sing, by Lt. James C Whittaker.    Thinking of that now, I may need to revisit it  in these, my golden years.


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

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

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.


The Nightengale is the best book I have read in a very long time.   That whole era with Hitler and the Holocaust has had a very profound effect upon my psyche.   I grew up in the fifties and was taught that the Jewish people were God's chosen people and as a result, I am very empathetic to their cause and their survival.   The inhumanity shown during that period of time was unforgivable and has always resonated within me.  I do not understand how we can mistreat one another to such extremes.

Much as the Nightingale is set during the holocaust, I had never thought about the occupation of foreign lands by the Nazis and what effect that had on the locals.   I had never explored in my mind the perspective of the women left behind as the men went to the front lines, or what a woman could do to help in the war efforts.   Hannah's writing has not only expanded my overall understanding of this historical time period, but it has forced me to review my life and what I would or would not have done had I been in such circumstances.  I must admit, I am so thankful that I have never been up close and personal with war.   I am spoiled and weak...not sure I could deal with these circumstances in any respectable sort of manner.

I fell in love with Hannah's characters....Vianne and Isabelle.    They were very different from one another, Vianne being more accepting, wiser, mature as opposed to Isabelle's assertive, jump in head first, and rebellious spirit.    However both women could not bear to see their countrymen and friends suffer.  The storyline was oppressive as wartime would be....worry, loneliness, food shortages, sorrows and suffering.    And yet, there was always hope.    Even in the most dire circumstances, the human spirit seldom looses all hope and seeks to prevail.   That said, even the smallest victory can be an enormous reward/treasure.   Both of our characters experienced true grit and growth as the war progressed and as they found their respective responsibilities and voices.

I know there are some who could read this 400+ page novel in one sitting.   I could not.   I had to take it slow and mull over the contents until I reached the halfway point.    Then I was invested to the point that I no longer wanted to do the dishes, laundry, or visit with the kids and grandkids.    I wanted and needed alone time with the rest of the story.  And as the last page approached, I sobbed and read to the conclusion through blurred eyes.  I feel through books and Hannah's book left me better than when I started. I am alive with a wide array of emotions and reactions to the story, to the characters and to the author.  This was a phenomenal book!

I rated it a 5 wink read PLUS!!
Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.    I purchased this book for my personal collection.

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