Friday, January 22, 2016

The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah was a must-read for me.  I bought it on one of those days that I was desperate for a really good book and, from the reviews I had read, this was the one.  I don't usually like to buy hardback books, but I did.  Thank goodness!  It was one of the top three books that I read in 2015-my second favorite book of the year.

"In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are."

This novel is about two sisters, Viann and Isabelle, during World War II in France.  The book began in 1995 with an elderly woman moving into a nursing home and her reflections on her past.  A perfect beginning for a book!

Viann and Isabelle were sisters who were living in France as the Nazi's began their invasion. Viann was the older of the two sisters and was married with a daughter.  Isabelle was eighteen years old away at school. Viann's husband was called away to serve in the war, so she and her daughter were left on the farm alone. Viann also taught in the small school there. Meanwhile, headstrong Isabelle was kicked out of her school and sent back to her father in Paris.

Isabelle went to live with Viann when it was clear that her father didn't want her around, but her outspokenness became a problem when the a Nazi Captain moved into Viann's farmhouse. As the war moved on, Isabelle began working for the Resistance, helping downed Allies travel across the mountains to Spain. She was called the Nightingale and was instrumental in helping many, many men to safety. 

The books tells about how this two very different sisters lived out the war and the different ways that they ended up helping others survive.

It is a wonderful book telling important stories.  Ms. Hannah did a great job researching for the book and her writing in this book is superb.

Isabelle's story was based on a true story that I found written about in the following article.  Very interesting.

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