The Nightingale

The NightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 3rd 2015
Pages: 440
ISBN: 0312577222
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In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

It’s Paris 1939 and the Germans occupy parts of France. It is a brutal time. A horrible time. A sad time. A time of loss. It is also a time when ordinary people are capable of doing extraordinary things.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Isabelle. Paris is overrun. The Nazis control the city. What is an eighteen-year-old girl to do about all of that?”

Yes, what can be done? Many books on war focus on the part that men play, the battles, the war strategies. This book focuses on the wives, the Mothers, the Daughters, the women left behind and the struggles they face. The main characters in this book are two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle. Vianne is a married Mother is who left behind to care for her daughter when her husband goes off to war. Isabelle is a rebelious 18 year old seeking to find purpose in life. They are polar opposites of each other. Years and distance separate them but both in their own way fight to stay alive, to keep others alive and to be free.

Vianne is forced to take a German Commander into her home for lodging as her husband is being kept in a Nazi prison. Isablee, meets a young partisan who believes that the French people can wage war against the Nazi’s from within France. This book shows us how the Nazis took over France and ruled using fear and manipulation. How they turned neighbor against neighbor.

Both female characters in this book are sympathetic. Both take huge risks to protect and save the lives of ed others. This is a Woman’s war and both endear the unthinkable, both found their own way of fighting back against evil. Both women’s point of view are told in this novel. Time travels back and forth between the present day and the past. This novel has heart and soul. It has depth. It has well developed characters who make us proud, who break our hearts and who make us cry. I read the final chapters through tears. This book will break your heart but isn’t that what war does? Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. In this book, the women are the heroes.

Sad? Yes, this book is sad. But it also shows triumph of the human spirit. It shows us that no matter what, good can and will exist in the world. In the end Good will triumph over evil but at a cost.

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