(Review) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Publication Date: February 3, 2015.
Publisher: St. Martin's Press.
Genre: Historical fiction, World War II, France, French Resistance, Nazi Germany.
Pages: 440.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

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The Nightingale is one of the twenty best books according to Amazon.

France, 1939.
Antoine and Vianne Mauriac, and young daughter Sophie, live in Carriveau, France. They live an idyllic life. Vianne's insecurities about her past is strengthened by the loving relationship she has with Antoine. Vianne's father abandoned her and a young sister named Isabelle after their mother's death. Vianne's father lives in Paris and Isabelle lives with him.
Vianne and Isabelle are polar in personalities. Vianne is domestic, reserved, dependent, and filled with guilt and insecurities from the past. Isabelle is passionate, bold, independent, and intent in finding a calling.
The story begins and alternates with two time periods: World War II and 1995.
The Nightingale has several themes: family saga, civilian affects of war in France, love story, World War II history, French Resistance, Holocaust, and reconciliation.

My Thoughts:
This is the best fiction book I've read in 2015. Magnifique!
I'd read a few reviewers remark the story is sentimental. Good grief. How can this story not be sentimental? It is filled with emotional and riveting scenes. In addition: feelings, thoughts, dialogues, and circumstances all reflect this nature. The sentimental element of the story is a strong bite that carries the reader through till the end, but it is not the only element.
The following reasons led me to award The Nightingale 5 stars for excellent.

  • Multiple layers and definitions of love: a love a mother has for her child, the love between two people who are romantically in love, the love of two sisters, the love for one's country, the love for freedom, forbidden love, and love given and received despite the consequences. 
  • The character from 1995, gives the story a conclusion, and a perspective that only comes from maturity in looking back at the past. 
  • Internal and external conflicts. The Nightingale has several examples of conflicts. Some conflicts are both internal and external. 
  • A story of sacrifice. The two sisters showed a beautiful and loving example for all people throughout history who have given the ultimate in love. 
  • The two sisters are the strength of the story. When the book begins, one sister seems to triumph in strength over the other sister, but a transformation occurs for both.
  • Passion. When I think of passion my first thought is passion between lovers, but what about the passion for our country, for freedom, and for peace?