“She was crying for it all at last–for the pain and loss and fear and anger, for the war and what it had done to her and to all of them, for the knowledge of evil she could never shake, for the horror of where she’d been and what she’d done to survive.”
What a powerful story!
I love Kristin Hannah’s books, and especially appreciate the way she writes about the resilience of the human spirit. ‘The Nightingale’ has been in my Audible library since 2016 (!) I am definitely late to the party but I’m so glad I’m here. I don’t normally gravitate toward World War II historical fiction but despite the painful subject matter, this is an incredibly compelling, readable and poignant story.
It is hard to comprehend that such hatred and prejudice flourished during the Nazi occupation of France. This is the background for the story of two French sisters, Isabelle and Viann. Seemingly opposite in every way, they both do what they feel they must to survive during the brutal wartime occupation.
Passionate and impetuous Isabelle is driven to join the Resistance while Viann, a married teacher with a young daughter, is struggling to survive the day to day hunger, food shortages and casual brutality of the Germans. Yet both are heroes and their stories were absolutely heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.
Isabelle was based on the real-life Andrée de Jongh, a woman who was part of the Belgian Resistance and who saved downed pilots by leading them over the Pyranees mountains to freedom, as Isabelle did. Such incredible bravery!
This is a must-read book. The themes and events feel very timely and current so that the world does not allow such virulent hatred to spread once again.
About the Book:
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 good-bye 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, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gaëtan, 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.