Published by St. Martin's Press on February 3rd 2015
Genres: Fiction, Historical
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In love we find out who we want to be.In war we find out who we are.
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 a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
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 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. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures 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.
I loved this story. I like that they give us two completely different characters. Although these two sisters both lost their parents (one to death and one left shell-shocked from World War I), they have both dealt with it in their own ways. Vianne finds herself a husband and tries to work on her own new picture-perfect family while Isabelle, who refuses to be rejected by her father, goes from school to school, breaking the rules and trying to get her father’s love and attention.
Through the story, we see a side of World War II that hardly anyone has written about, at least I haven’t seen much. Either woman sees her role differently during the war. Both are naive in their own way and through the things they endure, come to find that they are stronger and more vulnerable than they think they are. Vianne sees her role as waiting around till her husband returns, while Isabelle believes that women can fight in the war as well as any man.
Over time, both their agendas are tested as it becomes harder and harder to be who you are and who you want to be, while the Germans slowly breakdown everything you have known to be true. Vianne will have to choose between doing what is right morally and doing what is right to stay safe. Isabelle will learn that being smart and strong aren’t exactly the same thing.
Both will keep a secret from each other hoping that by keeping their secret, the other will stay safe.
Although we see both these women as weak in some ways, I think the moral of the story here is that women have always had a role and power. Even the fact that we are traditionally seen as weaker, is actually an advantage to us, and both these women exploited this power as much as possible.
I would definitely recommend as one with strong female characters.