Reader reviews and comments on The Nightingale, plus links to write your own review.

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The Nightingale

by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah X
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2015, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2017, 592 pages

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Sherilyn R. (Bountiful, UT)

Women and the Price of Heroism
Kristin Hannah's latest book The Nightingale is the story of two sisters and how each reacts to the challenges of living in France under Nazi occupation.

The sisters grew up in the years after the Great War and both saw and felt the destructive effects of that war on their family and those left behind. Their father returned from World War I a very different man than the one who left and then shortly thereafter their mother died. Their father could not or would not care for his daughters and they were pawned off on relatives, schools and others, growing up with little familial love and connection.

While the book is focused on the lives and different personalities of the two sisters and how each in their own way responds to the horrors of war, the question at the very heart of the book is - when would I risk my life -- and most important, my child's life - to save a stranger?

Hannah says that In love we find out who we want to be, in war we find out who we are. And sometimes, perhaps, what we would do to survive. This book is and exploration of that thought.

Hannah was particularly good at introducing lesser known historical events from the war, i.e. the exodus from Paris, the Vichy collaboration with the Nazi's, the betrayal of the Parisians by the French Police, the events at the Velodrome d/Hiver, retaliation against French resistance, and the dangers of the Pyrenees escape routes. I would heartily recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Kathy G. (Alamo, CA)

The Nightingale
Hold the phone, cancel appointments and have some tissues handy for a well-researched novel of the very disturbing years (1940-1945)of Nazi occupied France. A story that will stay with you long after you have finished. It is not only about the occupation but about the brave women who risked their lives and lives of their families to save strangers. I strongly recommend the Nightingale to all readers. We as a society, must never forget the sacrifices people make in order to save a way of life and ideals that form such strong characters.
Gwen C. (Clearfield, PA)

The Nightingale
Wow! Rearrange your schedule before you pick this book up because it will not be contained in a gentle read each evening. It demands your attention.

It's a tale within a tale: 1995 -an old, dying woman finally returning to Paris; 1940's – two sisters (Viann and Isabelle) reacting to occupied France in different ways. Which sister is the one journeying home? In heart rendering detail we learn of France's fate during World War II, true friendship, parental love and sacrifice, and the potential for strength of character that lies within each of us.

In these days of beheadings and innocents caught up in war zones, this is an essential book to read. Kristen Hannah's Nightingale transcends the pages of historical fiction and poses the question, "When evil is everywhere around you, what would you do?" Like the strips of fabric tied to the tree in the garden reminding Viann of loss, this book will float in my subconscious forever. Bravo, Kristen Hannah!
Power Reviewer
Cam G. (Murrells Inlet, SC)

Difficult read, wonderful book
Set during the German occupation of France during WWII, The Nightingale, is about two young sisters who put their lives in constant danger dealing with the Nazis.

Isabelle, the younger sister, impetuous and daring, joins the Resistance at the age of 19. In the meantime, Viann, her older sister, remains at home while her husband goes off to war.. How these two brave women go about in their own way to help the "cause" is awe-inspiring.
Hannah's skillful writing, her awesome characterizations make for a great read.

This is a very special book!
Marjorie W. (Bonita Springs, FL)

The Nightingale
As a fan of Kristan Hannah, I was anxious to read and review the Nightingale. I was not disappointed and can not wait to share this book with my friends.
This is a story of love and sacrifice during the horror of the German occupation of France. Although I had heard before of the French people and there treatment of some of their own, this story reinforced (to me) their unbelievable actions. Yet it was a beautiful story of love - particular of family- and how sad and beautiful it can be.
I highly recommend this book and will certainly suggest it to my book club.
Lesley F. (San Diego, CA)

The Nightingale Sings
When I opened this book I was delighted to discover that I had already read a book by Kristin Hannah - a book I had picked up, used, called Firefly Lane. It was a very real, very touching story, and I cried, having experienced some of what is in that book. Friends who read it after me felt the same. Oh yes, the same thing has happened as I finished reading her latest, The Nightingale. The plot twists and turns preclude discussing it to avoid spoiling anything for readers. Thank you, Mrs. Hannah for this awesome book written not a moment too soon as so few people who will recognize the truth in it are left. May this story keep their experiences alive even longer. Memories matter. Love lasts. We remain. What a brilliant, message.
Diane D. (South Portland, ME)

Gripping & wonderful!
I loved this book. Kristin Hannah weaves such a hauntingly wonderful story in The Nightingale. The characters are so richly developed that the reader can't help but keep turning the pages! I was skeptical that it was yet another novel about the Holocaust, but do yourself a favor and read this one!!! It's going to stick with me!
Nancy L. (Zephyrhills, FL)

The Nightingale Sings
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is easily the best book I have read in a very long time. Hannah crafts a character driven story about two sisters: Isabelle Rossignol and Vian Rossignol Mauriac, young women who live both in Paris as well as in a small country town in central France. The story begins in August, 1939, as France realizes it must arm itself against the very real Nazi threat, and continues until the end of the war in 1945. These women are transformed, each in her own way, from ordinary French girls into fierce warriors. Vian uses every ounce of her being to keep safe her child and the children she teaches. Isabelle emerges as a cornerstone of the French Resistance movement. From the start, I was into these two lives and found it difficult to set the book down. I became a woman in occupied France and steeled myself as each new horrible circumstance confronted me. I read the last fifty pages or so with eyes full of tears. Do not miss this thoughtful and compelling story of two very courageous women and the lives they changed forever.

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