The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a gripping historical fiction novel that follows two French sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during WWII and the invasion of Germany in France. Through the stories of these two brave but very different sisters, the author not only shows the reader the hardships of the “women’s war” at home, but asks the reader to reflect on the statement, “In love we find out who we want to be and in war we find out who we are.”
As a reader, I praise how Kristin Hannah chose to represent the different roles that women took during WWII that took tremendous sacrifice and bravery. The two different roles of the sisters in the book – one of a rebel and the other of a mother – intersect frequently, and throughout much of the book, put them at odds with each other. This conflictual relationship prompts the reader to not only assess what one would be capable of to protect the people they love while maintaining one’s principles, but also brings to question how one’s different experiences with love and loss can affect how they may decide to act in war, as well as how they view others’ efforts during war.
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Although this book is considered historical fiction, it appeals to a wide audience and is highly recommended for any lover of great, well researched, and thought-provoking fiction. You will love the rich characters that Kristin Hannah has developed and the slice of the French country life it portrays. The reader will feel inspired by these two brave women who represent the many unacknowledged women who fought and responded to the needs of those involved in WWII.
Other Titles by Kristin Hannah: Firefly Lane, Winter Garden, Night Road, Home Front, Fly Away, Between Sisters, Magic Hour, Comfort & Joy, On Mystic Lake (and many more!)
Upcoming Book Review: this census-taker by China Mieville
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb