Wow, where to start with this book? First, let me say that this is one of the best books I have read in a long time! Second, this is one of the most intense books I have read in a long time! Make sure you have your tissues ready (for real). Also, make sure you make some time to read, because this book is long but addictive.
I decided to read this book while we were at the beach last week and I would have more leisure time than usual. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah takes place in occupied France during World War II. It follows the journey of two sisters who are living in this occupied world. They both end up doing their part during the war through many hardships. There is danger, intrigue, romance and some sadness. The book goes back and forth from the 1940’s to 1995 with an older woman. One of the beauties of the writing is that we do not know who the older woman is until the very end of the book. The whole time you are trying to guess which sister it is.
I am not one who always looks for heavy reading. Especially not at the beach. However, the writer did such a good job of drawing you into the story that you could not put the book down. I will warn you: for me the the first few chapters were a little slow. Once the story picked up, I never felt that way again. This book was recommended to me by a friend and my mom. I also saw good reviews on Amazon (which is something I look for), and I just knew reading this book would be a good experience.
My instincts were so right. I saw one reviewer call this book “powerful”, and I think that is the perfect word to describe this book! I think I heard the word “occupied France” at some point in history class, yet somehow when I thought about World War II, I never thought about the French. I just knew they were on our side, and I assumed the war was the same for them as it was for the British and Americans. I had no clue what it was like to live in an occupied country. Sure, this is fiction, but the author obviously did a lot of research and used some real facts. For instance, I never knew that the Jews in France were going through the same thing as the rest of Europe, or that living in an occupied country with the Germans could literally be miserable.
The book also shines light on women and what they went through during war. It highlights their part during the war and what it was like to be left behind (for instance, when a German Officer is staying in your home). The writing was beautiful, and the book made me thankful for the life I get to live post World War II, as well as a new appreciation for what the war did to all of Europe.
Although this is a tear jerker, you will walk away so glad you read this book. The ending is also sweet and moving (plus you finally find out who that woman is). The author did a wonderful job of weaving the story together and taking the reader through all of the sisters’ experiences. It is no wonder that this book is on a lot of lists for top books of 2015. I am a little late to the party, but I’m glad I showed up. I read that this book will also be made into a movie (no surprise because of its success). So, make sure you read it before the movie is made! The book is always better than the movie (in my opinion). Once again, what a “powerful” book! I am forever changed by reading it.
Please, please tell us what we should read next! We are looking for something a little lighter, but need suggestions!