Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Despite their differences, Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris, while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. When the Second World War breaks out and Antoine is conscripted to fight, Isabelle is sent to the country by her father to help Vianne.

As war develops, the strength of the sisters' relationship is put to the test. With life changing, and confronted by unbelievable horrors,  Vianne and Isabelle find themselves responding in ways they never thought possible, as bravery and resistance take differing forms for each of the two sisters.

I have heard it said that the publishing world is saturated with books about World War Two and the market really does not need any more. It is a reasonable point but all the while authors can produce material of this superb quality I say "yes please".

There has been much hype about this book which frequently puts me off reading a book but this novel is fantastic and I was not disappointed in any way. Put simply, this novel is superb and is well worthy of the hype that recommends it.

All of the characters were easy to engage with, not just the two main characters who felt wonderfully real, but the more minor characters also. The dialogue was extremely believable and brought the characters to life.

It is a very detailed novel and Ms. Hannah has researched life in war torn France with accuracy. It is packed with the minutiae of life as well as more major issues and focuses the readers attention on the day to day lives of ordinary French people during the Nazi occupation.

In many ways, this book is about strengths and weaknesses and also about how the two can overlap. It is about bravery, relationships, persecution, survival and fear. But mostly, it is about love and the way in which it brings hope and can strengthen us.

I was completely engrossed by this book and highly recommend it to everyone. It is a heartbreaking novel and a cup of tea and box of tissues will be needed to get through it. However, it is extremely thought provoking and I could see myself giving this book a second read at some point (there are very few books that I consider worth a second read.)

ISBN: 978-1447283072

Publisher: Pan

About the Author:

Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels, including the blockbuster Firefly Lane, Night Road and Home Front. She is a former lawyer turned writer and is the mother of one son. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii with her husband.

1 comment:

  1. How interesting. My sister really liked this book. She said it was better than "All the Light you Cannot See". So I borrowed it from the library but I couldn't even get 1/4 of the way through. I tried! But I couldn't stand either of the main characters; i wanted to slap both Vianne and Isabelle. I don't know why but I had to give up on those characters.
    I wonder what others thought of the book? I'll have to check Goodreads.