I have read many of Kristin Hannah’s books. In choosing to review “The Nightingale” I was interested in the time period in which the story occurs. I am a fan of all things regarding World War II, and this book seemed to bring me into it personally. I think that this is one of the best novels ever written by Kristin Hannah.
I could not put it down and wondered where the author got her ideas for the book, so I checked out Ms. Hannah’s website. Here’s what I found there:
“Sometimes a story sneaks up on you, hits you hard and dares you to look away. That was the case with The Nightingale. …research let me to the story of a young Belgian woman who had created an escape route out of Nazi-Occupied France…. Her story-one of heroism and danger and unbridled courage became the starting point….that story let me to others that were equally fascinating. Stories about women who had saved Jewish children and rescued downed airmen and put themselves in harm’s way to save others. Women who had paid terrible, unimaginable prices for their heroism. (sic) …I found myself consumed with a single, haunting question, as relevant today as it was seventy years ago: When would I, as a wife and mother, risk my life-and more importantly, my child’s life—to save a stranger?
The Nightingale is a novel about those women and the daring, dangerous choices they made to save their children and their way of life.”
I have not read much about the French people during the occupation by the Nazis. I know that there was a French resistance movement and that Vichy France was just as dangerous as was that area occupied by Nazis. This book provides insight to the daily life of ordinary citizens – the deprivations, starvation, fear, atrocities against the Jews, executions for minor infractions, and the list goes on. I started out with definite opinions about Viann and Isabelle, but by the end of the story, my heart was with each of them. This book haunted me, grabbed me, it made me wish for more. I was sorry that the book ended, but also glad that the end of the war had come– war that extracted a huge price from ordinary people trying to save themselves and their children.
I received a free Kindle copy of this book in return for my honest review from the NetGalley.com. The opinions expressed here are my own.