Author: Kristin Hannah
There are very few non-fiction accounts of women who experienced war in many tragic and unbelievable circumstances but this novel tells a story of two sisters living in France at the time of World War two and paints a picture of just what would have been experienced by many at that time.
It also tells a story of two women embarking on their own separate paths towards survival and freedom.
Vianne is married and has a child and is living in the south of France, while her sister Isabelle, a ‘free spirit’, is living in Paris and not prepared to adhere to any of the restrictions imposed by the Germans when they entered that city.
Isabelle is ordered by her father to leave Paris and join and support her sister while Vianne’s husband is away fighting at the front. Reluctantly she agrees and joins an exodus of Parisians traveling south where they believe it will be safer for them under the Vichy treaty. That journey becomes particularly dangerous and Isabelle arrives at Vianne’s home in terrible condition.
The treaty collapses, a great complement of the German army move in, and life becomes a huge struggle for all, especially for any Jewish residents.
Isabelle and Vianne find the resilience to fight against their different struggles in their own separate ways but both display a huge amount of love, compassion and heroism.
The Nightingale is beautifully written and I found it to be emotional and inspiring. It is a book I would read again.