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This book review of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (one of the best historical fiction authors) gives you the details of this beloved World War II novel. And because this is a book pairings blog, I have also provided some recommended book pairings for further learning.

  • #1 New York Times bestseller
  • Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year
  • Reese’s Book Club pick

Book Review of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Without Spoilers)

Where do you begin writing about a book that reaches out and touches you?  I guess here. Am I being too sappy already? Well then, suffice it to say, there’s a reason The Nightingale is so beloved by so many.   

This is the story of two women (sisters) during World War II in France.  First, in a quaint town, teacher Vianne and her young daughter Sophie say goodbye to their husband and father, Mauriac, who was Vianne’s childhood sweetheart, as he goes off to battle.

Surprisingly to Vianne, the Nazis invade France, and a Nazi soldier takes shelter in their home.  Her life then becomes a constant risk, and food, money, heat and other life necessities dwindle away. 

As the war escalates, Vianne must continually face difficult and dangerous decisions, all while she waits and prays for Mauriac’s safe return.

Meanwhile, Vianne’s younger sister, Isabelle, a rebel and spitfire at heart meets and quickly falls in “young love” with the partisan Gaetan. 

After Gaetan betrays her, she joins the underground resistance and, like her sister, must continually face difficult and dangerous decisions.

There are emotional twists and tragedies, as there are in all war stories, but I will leave those for the reader. 

What happens will touch your heart and shock your conscience about the horrors of War.  

I have a special connection to World War II stories. My maternal grandfather survived the Pearl Harbor attack by hiding in a tree and my paternal grandfather stormed the bloody beaches at Normandy.  Both survived.  My husband’s maternal grandfather was the lone survivor of five pilot brothers in the War  — a real-life Saving Private Ryan

I have always looked at these acts of courage and countless moments of tragedy in this War with awe.  How could this have actually happened?  

The beautiful writing of The Nightingale inspired me to fly through this story of a “difficult” subject matter. 

TIPS

  • I strongly recommend the traditional print version (or the ebook), as I found the audio narrator to be dry and monotone. Blog readers have told me the same. Once I switched to the traditional print version, I couldn’t put it down.

In conclusion, The Nightingale is, quite simply, a must-read.


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Book Pairings

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Nightingale worth reading?

Yes. Readers worldwide love The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah because it shares such a gripping and harrowing World War II historical fiction story that keeps you glued to the pages and left in tears.

Is The Nightingale hard to read?

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is hard to read in the sense that it involves violent and potentially triggering content about World War II. However, it is not hard to read in terms of reading level. Most adults will be able to easily read it.

What is the main idea of The Nightingale?

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is about the power of love and the survival of strong and resilient women during World War II. It provides hope after even the darkest of times.

What are the sisters’ names in The Nightingale?

In The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, the sisters’ names are Vianne and Isabelle.

Conclusion

To conclude this book review of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, suffice it to say that it is a must-read for anyone who loves historical fiction, particularly about strong and resilient women. While the content about World War II is difficult, it is an emotional and unforgettable read that countless readers across the world have adored for the past several years.

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