Title: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
“Men tell stories. 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. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”
This book was recommended to me by Shannon (@talesfromthecountry) and seeing as she raved about it so much, I was excited to pick it up. Following the story of sisters Isabelle and Vianne, The Nightingale is set in France and explores the brutality of war from a new perspective – that of the women left behind. Vianne’s husband is conscripted to fight and from then on, Vianne must take control of her house and her family. Her sister, however, finds another way to fight back, and decides to go to Paris and help rescue fallen pilots. Two very different sisters. Two very different stories, but both are equally important and impactful.
Hannah is a beautiful storyteller, and her writing is one of the reasons I fell in love with this story so much. During such an extraordinary time, it was nice for her to reflect on the beauty of the mundane, and what I like most about the sisters’ story is that it reminds the reader to cherish the ordinary; your family, friends, house, and job shouldn’t be taken for granted, because they could be gone in an instant.
I’ve read a few books which are set during WWII, but this one left me speechless at its ability to showcase the humanity in a time of such atrocity. Isabelle and Vianne are such different women by they both prove their strength in different ways. Illuminating a whole new perceptive, The Nightingale proves that heroes of the war come in all shapes and sizes.
I also loved the intricacy of the plot; there was always lots going on, and the little details made the story plausible, and also memorable. I enjoyed being with the sisters while they endured their situations and I love how Hannah showcased their individual personalities.
Impactful, emotional, and most importantly powerful, The Nightingale is a stunning story of strength, endurance, and the love of a family, both by blood and not. This book sheds an important light on perhaps some forgotten stories in this awful period in time, and also reminds the reader that strength can be found in surprising places, and ordinary people will draw incredible strength when given the opportunity.