Top positive review
Reviewed in Canada on February 8, 2016
THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah is a historical fiction novel that takes place during World War II, in France, occupied by the Nazi's.
The book starts in 1995 from the POV of an older woman, her son a doctor, is about to put her in an assisted living facility, then it takes you to France in the 1940’s. As this woman is reminiscing about her life during WWII, you don’t know who she is until the very end of the book. I couldn’t put the book down because I had to know who the woman was at the end. Just brilliant!
This is the tale of the two very different sisters, Viviane, and her younger sister Isabelle - who are trying to survive during wartime. Vianne and Isabelle, different in so many ways, will both embark on separate journeys. Surrounded by danger, these sisters learn about love and loss.
Vianne feels responsible for keeping her younger sister, Isabelle, safe. When the occupation begins, Isabelle is sent to stay with Vianne, being cast out of Paris by her father. Vianne's husband, Antoine, has been called to report to the Army, leaving Vianne and their young daughter, Sophie, behind. As the Germans invade Paris, Isabelle begins the journey to her sister's home.
When Isabelle arrives on Vianne's home, she is determined to join the resistance and make a difference. Young and impulsive, Vianne is certain that her younger sister will get herself, if not all of them, killed.
I have to say that this is not my genre of choice, but after being invited by a Goodreads member to join their Buddy Read, and not making it in time, I still felt obliged to read this book now. All I can say is what an emotional and gut-wrenching novel this was to read. I couldn’t put the book down, once I started it. I had to know what was going to happen to my friends. This is one book where you will need to keep your Kleenex handy. This book had me in tears.
This is the story of two sisters, told through both POVs, of the bravery of Vianne who struggles at home to provide for her children, battling starvation and invasion by SS Officers, and Isabelle who joins the resistance passing secret messages day and night and smuggling downed pilots through the mountains.
The story covers not only the war, the holocaust, the suffering and starvation, death , the concentration camps , but more than that the will of people to survive.
My favourite quote:
“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”
A very emotional read!