The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Rating: 4/5


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 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 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.

Why I Read It

Kristin Hannah’s book Firefly Lane is a favorite of mine, recommended years ago by my older sister who loves her books. I’ve come across other books of Hannah’s since then, but none of their plots really pulled me in. This one did, though, probably because I’m a feminist and love a good story about women in war and the important-but-overlooked role they play. And I love stories about sisters. And now I read the book and handed it off to my sister, who will hopefully read it and like it.

My Thoughts

Definitely a good story. I loved the book, personally, and I’d recommend it to anyone. I probably will recommend it to everyone, honestly, starting here: READ IT!

I loved the sisters and their weird relationship. Not weird in a fun and quirky way, but weird in an awkward way where they don’t know how to act around each other. Just read it, you’ll get it. I’m awful and I love damaged relationships.

My only warning is do NOT read this in public. I read a lot of it in between classes and unfortunately I was reading parts that made me tear up and almost ugly cry. Ugh. The injustice of it all. But also that’s a plus, because obviously I was meant to get emotional at those parts and it worked. That doesn’t always happen for me. I cry like a baby in movies and I’m very emotional and sensitive in person, but I don’t know, when it comes to books I don’t always cry. But I DID!


So, the reason I’m giving it a 4 and not a 5: there were moments, just a few, where the book kind of dragged for me. I was reading it and I just really needed a mental break. Not because the content itself was so heavy that I needed a mental health break, but like an actual mental break from reading because I was just kind of . . . Over it at the moment.

And the book was sooooo long. Not to be That Person, but I think it probably could’ve been a little shorter. And I don’t typically say that! I actually really love long books, because the action just continues forever and you’re just eternally in this amazing other world and things are happening to the character(s) you love and it’s amazing! I hate when books are too short!

But jeez, this was just heavy, man. Heavy. Like a lot to take in. And it took forever to read. I’ve read books this long that I was able to read in a snap, but because there were parts that dragged for me and that I felt weren’t totally necessary to have it just took forever. Obviously most parts were necessary, and I get that. But there were parts I’d read where I was like, okay, do I REALLY need this? And later on I’d think about it and, no, I didn’t really NEED that at all. It could’ve not been there. And I mean that in the nicest way that is humanly possible. Sometimes things are lovely, but just not necessary, okay?

It’s hard to explain, but I’m more than positive you get what I’m saying by now. I think we all kind of get it.

The book was amazing though, and I do really recommend it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t bother writing a review!

Have you read it? What were your thoughts? If you haven’t, do you plan on it?

One thought on “The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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