The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah narrated by, Polly Stone
My review is of the Audiobook
Available in-house in Hardcover
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real--and deadly--consequences.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.
This was my first Kristin Hannah book and I was completely captivated.
I didn't know much about how life was for the small towns in occupied France and it was heartbreaking. Also to learn about the women left behind and the conditions they had to live under, but how strong these women were was awe-inspiring. These two sisters are very different Vianne is a wife and mother, her husband is off at war her sister Isabelle is kind of a wild child who has been neglected by their father since the death of their mother, Isabelle is a jump first deal with the consequences later type of person and during a Nazi occupation that may not be the best attitude to have.
Although it took me a little while to warm to Isabelle, I did end up thinking she was more courageous than reckless by the end. And Vianne whose house has been taken over by a Nazi , a half decent man for sure she was very lucky with Beck he was, I believe, a kind soul who didn’t really believe in everything the Nazi party stood for. But as things tend to happen in war she ends up with a much meaner real Nazi staying at her home and that is when true darkness sets into her home. Vianne also at times was naïve about the what the Nazi’s were up to and gave a bit of information she later regretted very much, especially since her best friend Rachel is a Jew.
However Vianne and Isabelle both risk their lives for other people’s freedom, all the while not realizing what the other sister is doing, Vianne thinking Isabelle ran off to be with a man, and Isabelle feeling Vianne was a traitor for having a Nazi in her home, when really both women were doing things that could have gotten them killed.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, enjoyed might not be the right word for a book like this but you know what I mean, and it is a tough time period to read about but it is also important to know so it will not happen again.
Polly Stone’s narration took a little getting used to but I ended up really liking her , the accents and male and female voices were well done and I would listen to this narrator again.
This was a very powerful book and well written and I am left thinking of these sisters days after I have finished this book. I highly recommend it.
4 ½ Stars