This book was sent to Traveling With T for review consideration.
The year is 1939. The day is a beautiful day- a sweet family- Viann, Antoine and their daughter Sophie take a picnic and enjoy the weather, the scenery- the smell of life. Viann does not know it then- but she will soon learn the simple joys and pleasures of such a day- as her life and everything around her come crumbling down- making her wonder “How far do you go to protect the people you love?”
When Antoine is called to war against the Nazi’s, Viann is nervous. She has seen what war can do to a person. But, she believes that her husband will be home soon- and life can go back to the way it was before he was called to war.
This is not in the cards, though. As the Nazi’s invade France- life gets harder for everyone- but harder for some people. People begin to suspect things, to turn on neighbors and friends- and women worry about how to feed their off-spring in a place where food is scarce.
Isabelle, Viann’s sister, is a different type of woman. Young and beautiful, looking for love and desiring a place to belong- when talk of the war begins to happen- she does not shrink away. She wants to be part of it, to help the French overcome the Nazi’s in anyway she can. She does not desire to be at home- keeping home fires burning and slowly starving to death- she desires to take risks, to help her fellow man and to play a role in the winning of the war.
Both sisters, in their own way, have their plans for surviving the war- for holding on to everything they can- to not only survive- but to help others. Both sisters have a compelling story to tell- a story that Kristin Hannah explores deeply in THE NIGHTINGALE.
Traveling With T’s Thoughts:
There is no other way to put this: This book was an emotionally hard read. It was. It’s not the first fiction book that I’ve read about the time in WWII, the pain and the suffering- but this one struck me as being so much more. Maybe it’s because it’s more about the women’s part in the war- maybe it’s because Kristin Hannah makes me ugly cry.
So, first- the cover: Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. I really like how Paris is dark and grey- and how the bird is in gold foil- it’s symbolic.
The characters: Kristin Hannah did a great job of fleshing out each character. You could feel Viann’s nervousness about how she was going to fare without Antoine- and then her strength, when she realized that she not only had to- she must. You could love Isabelle for her strong opinions, for her desire to save France- and yet, want to pinch her for some of the choices and how they played out. While Isabelle knew she was strong, Viann did not- and seeing how each woman find out that there was strength and weakness in them was so interesting. So intriguing. Even heartbreaking at times.
By the end of the book, I was emotionally spent. I had cried like a baby, I had wept tears not only for what Viann and Isabelle went through, endured, had to face- but for the stories of all the unknown women who faced similar tales. Being over 400 pages, I expected it to take me a few days to read- but the pages flew by as I couldn’t put the book down- and simply had to know what happened next.
Highly recommend- however, if you are sensitive to stories of war- please take caution. While not brutally graphic- there are several heartbreaking moments.
*This book was sent to Traveling With T by St. Martin’s Press for review consideration. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press, I have 1 copy of THE NIGHTINGALE to give to a lucky reader (US only). Check the Rafflecopter for details:
Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,
T @ Traveling With T