REVIEW: THE NIGHTINGALE, BY KRISTIN HANNAH

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Our story begins in 1995, in Bend, Oregon, where an unnamed elderly woman is our first person narrator, describing moments from her past. Remembering the secrets she kept, some of them locked away in an old trunk. She is preparing to leave the house in which she has lived for many years, at her son’s urging. She is very ill and she is pondering whether or not she can share the truths of her life. One truth in the narrator’s voice: “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

Seamlessly, the story sweeps between the past and the future, beginning in 1939, in France, with a war on the horizon, into moments in the mid-nineties, and finally, we realize just who that unnamed old lady is and what she has done to sacrifice for the cause. Halfway through the story, I thought I knew who the narrator was, so imagine my surprise at the end to discover I was wrong.

When Viann and her daughter Sophie are left behind after her husband Antoine goes off to war, and Isabelle leaves the village to return to Paris, wanting to do something to make a difference, none of them could even begin to imagine what lies ahead.

The Nightingale is the riveting story of the acts of courage that each of them will take and the unexpected events that will change them forever.

What does Isabelle do to make a difference? How will she move beyond the early activities as a courier for the Resistance to something so dramatic that nobody who knows her could imagine it? And in the face of the unspeakable acts she witnesses, what sacrifices will Viann make that she could not have imagined taking on?

Through the author’s talented prose, the reader is drawn into the emotional and physical lives of the characters, experiencing what they experience: feeling their pain, their loss, and their fear. The complexity of the sibling rivalries between the two sisters, whose mother had died early in their lives and whose father emotionally abandoned them, was vividly drawn. The feelings were evocative, leaving this reader fully engaged and eager to find out what would happen next. Definitely a five star read for me.

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24 thoughts on “REVIEW: THE NIGHTINGALE, BY KRISTIN HANNAH

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  2. I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much! I am reading it now and am about 30% into it. It’s very tough to read emotionally. My heart is pretty much breaking every second I’m reading it!!

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  3. I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much! I’m reading it now and about 30% into it. It’s pretty much breaking my heart the entire time I’ve been reading! Very tough to read emotionally. I’m anxious to see how things end up and who the woman in the beginning is.

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