I received this book, The Nightingale, for free from SheSpeaks.
About the Book:
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.
About the Author:
Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including Winter Garden, Night Road, and the blockbuster Firefly Lane which sold over 1.2 million copies.
Her novels Home Front and Night Road were among the first novels to appear in the #1 spot on 5 New York Times bestseller lists simultaneously. Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to write, produce, and direct.
Kristin’s highly anticipated new release, The Nightingale, will be published on February 3, 2015 (St. Martin’s Press). The novel –an epic love story and family drama set in France at the dawn of World War II–is a profound and compelling portrait of two estranged sisters, living in a city under siege and a country at war, where sometimes surviving means doing the unthinkable.
Vianne and Isabelle are sisters who are quite opposite in temperament. Their mother died when they were quite young and their father basically abandoned them afterwards in his grief. Vianne adapted a bit better in their new, group home atmosphere but Isabelle felt completely alone. When Vianne got married it almost seemed as if they would be a family again but then Vianne had a miscarriage and she fell into a pit of grief and could not care for Isabelle. At this point Isabelle went from boarding school to boarding school always seeking her father’s approval and never getting it.
Vianne lives quietly in the house that once held the home to which her father abandoned her. She and her husband now have a daughter and all is well. But things are changing as Hitler comes to power and starts his march towards France. Vianne’s husband is called up and Isabelle is sent to the countryside – against her will – to be safe from what is happening in Paris. But Isabelle does not want to just exist. She wants to resist. She is young and full of fire.
As the situation deteriorates and the war really comes home, even to their quiet little country town a Nazi office billets himself in their house. He is, despite his being part of the occupying army, a decent man and helps Vianne and her little family. Isabelle cannot deal with his being there and finds a way to get to Paris to further help the resistance.
As the war continues on the conditions for both women get worse. Vianne has to manage her life living under the nose of a the Nazis and Isabelle takes on increasingly dangerous tasks. Both women need to consider how far they will go to save themselves and others.
This was a totally enthralling book and I honestly could not put it down. I read it in one sitting on a rainy Saturday afternoon which seemed somehow fitting for the subject matter. The book starts in the present as Vianne faces moving out of her home to an assisted living facility due to health and she begins to look back on her life. The book tells the story of the horrors of World War II in France through how it impacted these two women. One who stayed in her home yet still faced the dangers of the Nazis and one who resisted them head on. The War extracted a heavy toll from both of them.
Ms. Hannah writes to bring her reader into the story so that you feel you are walking along with the refugees or standing in line for rations. As with any book about this period in history there are parts that are not easy to read or to understand really – for who can truly understand the levels of cruelty that man can inflict? I was truly amazed to learn about the aspects of the Resistance told in this book. I spent a bit of time with the google after I finished reading and the book has stayed with me. I suspect it’s one I’ll read again.