Why did I wait so long to read this wonderful book? I had seen The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah being raved about for years and for some reason I never read it. It was only when I visited my parents’ place and saw this book on their shelf that I finally decided to give it a go. Even then it sat in my to be read pile for ages, alone and unloved, until I picked it up recently and started reading. And then I couldn’t stop until I had read it all.
Set in France during World War II, The Nightingale tells the story of the horror of war through the viewpoints of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle. Vianne lives in a small rural village with her daughter, waiting for her husband to come home from war. When the German army occupies France, Vianne is forced to share her home with the enemy. With food and other supplies scarce, Vianne must make impossible choices to keep her daughter alive.
Isabelle is the younger and rebellious sister who can’t sit by and watch the German army occupy her country. She meets a man, Gaetan, who inspires her to join the Resistance. Isabelle travels to Paris where she will play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the enemy.
The Nightingale is such a powerful, haunting, brilliant novel of courage, resilience and determination. It shows how war affected women and children as much as it did the men who were away fighting on the front. It made me weep buckets in places–something that Kristin Hannah also did when I read The Great Alone recently. It was richly detailed and full of unforgettable characters. It 100% lived up to all the hype.
I could go on and on about how amazing this book is but it’s probably best if you just read it for yourself.
Verdict: A stunning, unforgettable book about war, love and resilience.
What’s a book set in WWI or WWII that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments.