The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Compelling drama of 2 sisters in Occupied France

My rating:  5 out of 5

Set at the time that France surrendered to the Nazis during World War II , this is the moving story of two French sisters, and how they fought to survive in their own, different, ways.

Vianne watches her husband leave for war, just before the Nazis take over her small town.  The town is full of gossip and collaborators, but scarce on food and necessities for the locals.  Vianne concentrates on bringing up her daughter and trying to stay safe.  Then an officer is billeted on her, and her neighbour appears to be in danger. 

Meanwhile Isabelle, Vianne’s younger sister, moves to Paris and becomes involved with the resistance. 

Occasionally the book moves forward to 1995, when one of the sisters is living in the USA and contemplating a visit to France for a reunion.

This is a moving and wonderful story of love and courage in these dark times.  Relationships between family and friends are examined – who can you trust, and what would you risk to save a stranger.  Vianne and Isabelle are ordinary people who have had their lives changed by the times they live in, and this is the story of all those like them.

Like all the Kristin Hannah novels I have read (to date) The Nightingale is compelling reading and very atmospheric.   The characters feel complete, and the story is easy to follow and full of interest.   Certainly a book that made me stop and think (and also grab for the tissues!).

According to the internet a film of this book is due to be released in December 2022. 

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Other books I have read, and reviewed, by this author (click on book cover to see review) :

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