The Nightingale (Hardcover)
Virgie's Pick: In war, heroic action is evident both on the battlefield and at home. Most war stories focus on combat deeds, but civilians also fight for their countries in ways that may be equally as dangerous as picking up a weapon. If you are looking for a great World War II historical fiction that will keep you glued to your seat and bring you to uncontrollable tears, then consider reading this book by Kristin Hannah.
The novel begins in 1995, when an elderly and terminally ill French woman prepares to move from her home to a nursing home. There are few possessions that are important to her, but she insists on bringing an old trunk. Her son humors her, not knowing that the trunk contains important mementos as well as false identification papers from WWII. He has no clue who his mother really is … and this is precisely when the real story begins!
Two French sisters, just ordinary women living in a city under siege and a country at war, are forced with unthinkable decisions in order to survive. These sisters take different paths to heroism in World War II. Isabelle, a beautiful young woman, plunges into the war effort as a French Resistance operative, leading downed pilots across the Pyrennes Mountains from France to Spain. This unlikely role for a beautiful young woman serves as her disguise. Her sister, Vianne, is devastated when her husband is called to the battlefield. She finds herself living in her own house with a Nazi general, as she desperately tries to survive and protect her daughter, as well as hiding Jewish children to save them from the atrocities of war.
In my opinion, this book has it all; a compelling plot taking place within a historic point in history, courageous and resilient characters so different from each other, but both so lovable, and a story so heartbreaking to bring me to tears! It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed such a book. I was disappointed when I finished it … only because I didn’t want it to end!— From Staff Picks for February 2015
This is the compelling story of two French sisters who take different paths to heroism in World War II. Although each sister joins the French resistance in her own way, I consider both of them champions! In my opinion, this book has it all; a compelling plot, history, courageous and resilient characters, and a story so heartbreaking it will bring readers to tears!
-Recommended by Virgie
February 2015 Indie Next List
“Filled with sacrifice, betrayal, suspense, courage, and ultimately, forgiveness, The Nightingale offers a haunting glimpse of what it was like for women to survive during WWII. Set in a small town in France, The Nightingale tells the alternating stories of two sisters, their father, and the friends and enemies that occupy their lives during this tragic period of history. Based on a true story, The Nightingale weaves a riveting tale around the heroism of Isabelle, a young woman who serves as a key player in the underground Resistance, and her sister, Viann, who is back home under German occupation, near starvation and struggling to save Jewish children. In the end, however, perhaps this novel is more about the sisterly bonds of love that, although stretched to the limit, still endure. You will not forget the song of The Nightingale.”
— Marnie Mamminga, Redbery Books, Cable, WI
A #1 New York Times bestseller, Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year, and soon to be a major motion picture, this unforgettable novel of love and strength in the face of war has enthralled a generation.
France, 1939 - 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 Gaetan, 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 World War II 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.
Goodreads Best Historical Novel of the Year - People's Choice Favorite Fiction Winner - #1 Indie Next Selection - A Buzzfeed and The Week Best Book of the Year
Praise for The Nightingale
"Haunting, action-packed, and compelling." --Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Absolutely riveting ...Read this book." --Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute
"Beautifully written and richly evocative." --Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"A hauntingly rich WWII novel about courage, brutality, love, survival--and the essence of what makes us human." --Family Circle
"A heart-pounding story." --USA Today
"An enormous story. Richly satisfying. I loved it." --Anne Rice
"A respectful and absorbing page-turner." --Kirkus Reviews
"Tender, compelling...a satisfying slice of life in Nazi-occupied France." --Jewish Book Council
"Expect to devour The Nightingale in as few sittings as possible; the high-stakes plot and lovable characters won't allow any rest until all of their fates are known." --Shelf Awareness
"I loved The Nightingale." --Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Powerful...an unforgettable portrait of love and war." --People
About the Author
Kristin Hannah is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the The Nightingale, soon to be a major motion picture directed by Michelle MacLaren. Her latest novel is The Great Alone, set in Alaska. Hannah is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Firefly Lane, Winter Garden, Night Road, Fly Away, and Home Front, which has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (producers of the Oscar-nominated film The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to write, produce, and direct. She is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.