Book Impressions: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah was published in 2015.

This amazing portrait of two sisters in war-torn France will haunt you and fill you with thoughtful contemplation on what it means to suffer at the hands of the enemy and still find the strength and courage to help others.

On Goodreads, I give The Nightingale 5 out of 5 stars.

The Nightingale is about two sisters in occupied France during WWII. The sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, are at first glance completely opposite. By the end of this gritty and shattering story, it’s clear the sisters are two sides of the same coin. Vianne quietly endures the ravages of war as she strives to protect her home and her daughter. As she waits for her husband to return from war, she braves hardship and abuse, but she also reluctantly and quietly stumbles into the dangerous task of saving Jewish children. Isabelle is headstrong and outspoken, and she passionately and with tremendous personal hardship sets out to help lost allied soldiers who need to find their way home.

As in most war stories, The Nightingale portrays the effects of war on those who are forced to endure privation, prejudice, violence, injustice, and death. Kristin Hannah does an excellent job of zeroing in on one fictional family that not only makes a difference to many lives but does so with heartbreaking aplomb, dignity, and self-effacing courage.

The Nightingale is about WWII in France, but it’s also a love story. It’s about separation, suffering, and betrayal. It’s about enduring in the face of hopelessness. It’s about forgiveness, acceptance, unexpected kindness, and selflessly surviving so others can be saved.

The Nightingale is beautifully written, captivating, and engaging. War is hell, but from that hell comes so many heroes and survivors whose stories must be told, even through works of fiction.

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“‘Ask for help when you need it, and give help when you can. I think that is how we serve God—and each other and ourselves—in dark times as these.'” ~ chapter 12

“‘But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.'” ~ chapter 37

“In Paris, with a glass of wine in your hand, you can just be.” ~ chapter 39

“Wounds heal. Love lasts. We remain.” ~ chapter 39

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What do you think?

My Goodreads

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