- File Size: 4109 KB
- Print Length: 593 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press (February 3, 2015)
- Publication Date: February 3, 2015
- Sold by: Macmillan
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JO8PEN2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Nightingale: A Novel Kindle Edition
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“I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. She has captured a particular slice of French life during World War II with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the two sisters and Hannah's exploration of what we do in moments of great challenge. Do we rise to the occasion or fail? Are we heroes or cowards? Are we loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? Hannah explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart.”—Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestseller author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
"In this epic novel, set in France in World War II, two sisters who live in a small village find themselves estranged when they disagree about the imminent threat of occupation. Separated by principles and temperament, each must find her own way forward as she faces moral questions and life-or-death choices. Haunting, action-packed, and compelling.”—Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
"I read The Nightingale in one sitting, completely transported to wartime France, completely forgetting where I was. A historical novel—built on Kristin Hannah’s proven skill with story, complex and enduring family ties, and passion—one that will captivate readers." –Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness
"I found The Nightingale absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also historically informative….Read this book. It will keep you guessing throughout about the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, both brave young women who did what they thought was the right thing to do in the most of difficult circumstances. They had—in the words of Lawrence Langer the WW2 historian scholar—too often to make ‘choiceless choices.’" –Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute
"A beautifully written and richly evocative examination of life, love, and the ravages of war, and the different ways people react to unthinkable situations—not to mention the terrible and mounting toll of keeping secrets. This powerhouse of a story is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to be another major hit.” –Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
The Amazon Spotlight Pick for February 2015: Kristin Hannah is a popular thriller writer with legions of fans, but her latest novel, The Nightingale, soars to new heights (sorry) and will earn her even more ecstatic readers. Both a weeper and a thinker, the book tells the story of two French sisters – one in Paris, one in the countryside – during WWII; each is crippled by the death of their beloved mother and cavalier abandonment of their father; each plays a part in the French underground; each finds a way to love and forgive. If this sounds sudsy. . . well, it is, a little. . . but a melodrama that combines historical accuracy (Hannah has said her inspiration for Isabelle was the real life story of a woman who led downed Allied soldiers on foot over the Pyrenees) and social/political activism is a hard one to resist. Even better to keep you turning pages: the central conceit works – the book is narrated by one of the sisters in the present, though you really don’t know until the very end which sister it is. Fast-paced, detailed, and full of romance (both the sexual/interpersonal kind and the larger, trickier romance of history and war), this novel is destined to land (sorry, again) on the top of best sellers lists and night tables everywhere. -- Sara Nelson
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So I add my five-star review to the others. Read this book. It will take you away from whatever you're doing. This was my first book from Kristin Hannah. It won't be my last
This novel is set in France during WWII. The plot centers around the French Resistance and the persecution of the Jews in France.
The author doesn't seem to know much of the history of the French Resistance. For example, they completely missed the French movie The Sorrow and the Pity (the title in English). This movie presents a stark picture of the French during the war and after the war. Although the resistance was mythologized after the war, during the war there was very little resistance to the Nazis. Also, the French have a long history of antisemitism, which continues to this day.
In this novel there is an active French resistance, with French people outraged at any hint of collaboration with the Nazis. In fact, many French people collaborated and the others just kept their heads down. The French resistance was far less active than the resistance in Czechoslovakia, Denmark or many other countries.
The writing is not bad, but the complete butchering of history in a historical novel got to me. I'm sorry that I spent $2.99 on this book. I should have read the preview first. But I mistakenly trusted the vast number of positive reviews.
Top international reviews
The research for the book is lamentable. There are glaring historical, cultural and geographical inaccuracies that detract from the story. There are also plot errors and straightforward mistakes littering the text. It would be unfair to expose the main errors as it will spoil the plot for anyone wishing to read the book, but for example, the main town in which the story is set, the fictional Carriveau, starts in German occupied France not far from Orleans or Tours. Toward the end of the story it has moved a few hundred miles south to be near Oradour sur Glane, not far from Limoges. Members of the French resistance forget which are pseudonyms and which are real names. Laurence Olivier is considered an appropriate name to avoid attention. A giant steel wheel becomes a stone wheel in the course of just one paragraph.
The author appears to have cobbled together scenes from most of the famous second world war novels: Schindlers List, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Book Thief. At one point it appeared as if a Tale of Two Cities was going to make an appearance. The effect is of a massive cliché and a desperate lack of originality.
There is an obsession in making the two heroines stronger than the men. For example, a starved, weakened nineteen year old woman is made out to be stronger than young, fit, well trained airmen.
The writing itself varies in quality. At times, especially at the beginning, it isn’t bad, but it does become repetitive and sentimental. There are times it descends from an historical novel to become something of a farce like the TV series Allo Allo, and becomes something of an insult to the brave women in particular who fought with the resistance in the second world war.
However, what the book does have is an engaging story line, hook and pace. Although risible and sentimental in places, it is never boring and I read it to the end. The shame is that with a few more edits and better research, it could have been something special.
There were references to the smell of hay in April in France (wrong season!), hummingbirds on roses in a French garden (hummingbirds don’t live in France and don’t feed on roses!), misspelt German words, plenty of typos in English.
It just didn’t at all evoke France/continental Europe (I’m Swiss).
The success of this book flies in the face of the authors of historical novels who meticulously research their field.
First of all, Isabelle's code name, Anyone who has read even a single book about undercover work during the wars would know that the first rule in giving an agent a code name is that it does not even hint at the agent's real identity. Now Isabelle's surname is Rosignol. Her code name is The Nightingale. Rosignol means nightingale in French. I rest my case.
My second criticism has to do with Isabelle's character. We first get to know her as a wild, rebellious, hard-headed teenager who always gets her own way. We are supposed to believe that overnight, without any gradual coming-of-age moments, she turns into a mature and selfless heroine capable of leading grown men over mountains she has only navigated once in her life, risking life and limb to do so, obeying orders like a docile little lamb. Sorry, no!
A story about two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle during WWII. Isabelle the younger sister is headstrong, a rebel and outspoken whilst the older sister Vianne who got pregnant and married at a young age is quiet and steadfast. When the war broke out, the sisters who are not that close to begin with because of the ten year gap are now driven further apart because of Isabelle's drive to make a difference.
This is a story about courage and resilience of the women involved in the French revolution. I know there are quite a few inaccuracies about the author's narration of what happened during the war but then this is fiction based on some real events and not exactly a documentary so I can overlook the liberties taken by the author to tell the story of the Rossignol sisters.
I've watched a lot of WWII movies but mostly through the male POVs of the British and the Americans. This book is set in France and highlights the bravery of the French women who risked their lives during the war. "Men tell stories." I say. "Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books.
"Wounds heal. Love lasts. We remain."
I highly recommend this book to friends. A box of tissues by your side will come in handy.
The Germans take over the town spreading fear throughout its' inhabitants. Isabelle seeks out the resistance whilst Viann protects her home and family. I was reminded of "Suite Francais" very much, and I have to say that The Nightingale fell quite a way short for me. Both of these books deal with the people of Paris fleeing their city. The account here is like a pale immitation of Nemerovsky. The writing lacks real depth and in parts reads like an airport romance.
However, as the story developed I was drawn into the plot and made it to the end.
The book starts in present day 1995 when an old woman is packing up her home to move into a retirement home, we first meet her when she opens a trunk and finds a "carte d'identité” a French identity card from the Second World War in a name which is made clear was not her own.
We are then brought back to wartime France, Isabelle and her sister Viann are tested in so many ways, they are brought to their knees through the control of the German Nazis.
I loved how the author showed two ordinary women and through total fear they show their strength while being heroes.
I loved this book not only for the excellent writing but never have I read a book which showed the true hardships and fears the French people lived during the Nazi occupation. This is one book which should be read by everyone as it not only is a wonderful work of historical fiction, but it is a true testimony of the heroes of France as well as an education, we should all be thankful that Hitler and his followers were defeated, as their cruelty and hatred knew no bounds.
Happy to recommend.
Isabelle is headstrong, rebellious and spirited and much younger than Vianne. Having lost their mother Vianne could have been maternal and caring to Isabelle but instead she is intolerant and unsympathetic.
The novel covers the start of the war - and the German invasion of France - right through to the end. It conveys graphically what it’s like to live during an invasion and what it takes to survive. Both sisters are brave and both are tested by the war. The novel is well-written, exciting, heart-breaking and impossible to put down.
I wept at the end and would recommend this to anyone and everyone - it’s a wonderful book.
The Nightingale centres around the story of two sisters and the novel tells the story of their journey through world war two. Their stories take place in occupied France and is extremely moving.
I had to rely the entire novel to my husband after reading! I was so taken aback at finally closing the door on both Vianne and Isabelle.
‘The father who went to war was not the one who came home’
Vianne and Isabelle may have had different childhood experiences, but ultimately what pains one, pain the other in a different way. They are both still, in some way grieving for the loss of their mother. While Vianne has thrown herself into married life. Isabelle has thrown her efforts into teenage rebellion. The each carry a sense of abandonment from their father, a man that never fully returned from the first world war.
‘What was love when put up against war?’
When the Germans invade Paris, each sister must make a choice of how they will choose to survive. It will be the choice they have to live with for the rest of their lives…
‘French women do not ask Nazi’s for help’ – Isabelle
Vianne’s husband is called up to service, which eventually will lead him to a POW camp. Leaving Vianne to decide how best she and her young daughter Sophie will cope in the now occupied Loire Valley.
Whilst Isabella aspires to join the Free French Movement and fight back against the Nazi’s.
Each choice, will cost each woman dearly, in ways they can never have foreseen.
The location of occupied France is incredibly atmospheric. It also brings it home to you, the fear French women lived under, with Nazi’s at their doors. I have visited Jersey and the various monuments to the occupation. I think this maybe added to my enjoyment of the novel, but also my terror.
This is a story of sisterhood, maternal instincts and the power of women to survive. Highly recommended for book groups, also as a gift for your mother/sister or female relative. 5*
We would highly recommend the book. Our discussion has been really good and it makes a brilliant book club read. We tried to ponder the ultimate question of what we would do in the circumstances, and we are very grateful we are not in such a terrible situation.
It really lives up to the praise it has received in reviews.
I am so glad this was chosen in our book club to read as I'm not sure I would have chosen this myself.
Set between the second world war in occupied France and 1995 America, it brings to life the horrors and experience of the war and life in France for two sisters. Two sisters different in many ways but also very alike.
Though her writing Kristin Hannah reminds us of the heroic ordinary people of WWII and the risks they took to not only survive themselves but to also save others, often complete strangers.
Having read this fictional novel I now want to learn more about the real people that inspired Kirstin Hannah to write it, and hear about the selfless acts that turned ordinary people into extraordinary humans.