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 (with quotes!). And because this is a book pairings blog “where books meet lifestyle,” I have also provided some recommended book pairings for further learning.
Book Review of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
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 of life's 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 of 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. However, I personally recommend the traditional written version, as I found the audio narrator to be dry and monotone, and switched to the traditional version. This is a must-read.
Quotes from The Nightingale Book
Below are some of my favorite quotes from The Nightingale:
If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.
But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.
Today’s young people want to know everything about everyone. They think talking about a problem will solve it. I come from a quieter generation. We understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention.
She wanted to bottle how safe she felt in this moment, so she could drink of it later when loneliness and fear left her parched.
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Ask for help when you need it, and give help when you can.
For more like The Nightingale,
- Explore inspiration photos, videos and more on Kristin Hannah's website.
- Watch a World War II-themed movie or read more World War II Historical fiction books.
- Add some World War II-themed travel to your bucket list. Pearl Harbor and Normandy are on my literary bucket list for personal reasons, but the Anne Frank house is my #1 bucket list item. I simply can't imagine what it feels like to be in that very spot.
- Check out more of Kristin Hannah's best books, including The Great Alone and Firefly Lane.
- Or, read books from authors like Kristin Hannah.
I sincerely hope this book review of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah inspires you to pick up this popular book and/or continue to learn more about World War II.