If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah left me speechless and in tears. For two nights in a row, I sat crying as I finished the novel. There should be a warning on this book…
DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IN PUBLIC!
Oh, I tried reading this over my lunch hour until tears started forming in the corner of my eyes and I quickly put away my lunch things and scurried back to my desk in hopes that no one saw my near public display of emotion.
During the course of 400 pages you follow the journey of 2 sisters each with a different ideas of how to deal with the Nazi invasion of France. Two distinct personalities, two distinct viewpoints with one single goal in mind…survive the war alive.
Hannah paints a brutal yet hopeful view of wartime France. Women (and men) banding together to save themselves and their country. I’ve read a lot of WWII fiction and this book brought back memories of Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire, Sarah’s Key and Night. In fact, Hannah thanks Tatiana de Rosnay, author of Sarah’s Key, in her Acknowledgements at the end of the book.
With so many stories out there told about the Jewish experience during WWII, it was refreshing to immerse myself in another key aspect of the war that lead to the successful Allied victory. Tragic as The Nightingale is as you near the end, it’s the small moments of happiness that bring you joy as a reader and renew your hope in humanity during the ugliest of times.