Read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah Online

The Nightingale

In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.FRANCE, 1939In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesnt believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her childs life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another. Viannes sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Getan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real--and deadly--consequences....

Title : The Nightingale
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312577223
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 440 pages
Url Type : Home » Download » The Nightingale

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The Nightingale Reviews

  • Carol

    NIGHTINGALE is an excellent WW2 novel, but, in some instances, not unlike others of its kind. It explores the horrors of war via occupation by the Nazi's, their brutality and mass murdering of Jews, and the despicable treatment in concentration camps.

    What separates this work of historical fiction from all the rest is the emphasis placed on the important part women played during wartime. The amazing stories of bravery by two sisters, Vianne who struggles to keep the home fires burning while battl

    ...more

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    I'm not sure what I can say about this book that hasn't already been said, but the quality and sheer excellence to this story blew my mind. I'm not typically a fan of historical fiction, which is likely why I've avoided it for so long, but once this was described to me as "historical fiction light" I felt it was safe to take a gamble on it. When we decided for this to be the Suspenseful Clues and Thrilling Reviews September book choice, I was nervous because WHAT IF I HATED THIS BELOVED BOOK?!

    C
    ...more

  • Drew

    Oh my goodness, I loved it. I loved it so much.

    I haven't felt this invested in a book for a long time. Those addictive, fast paced YA books come and go - think Heartless, a 2016 favorite of mine. And then there are those rich, descriptive adult books that fill you up with new knowledge - like The Martian and The Wonder. It's rare when a book combines both of these things. And that's exactly what The Nightingale somehow, brilliantly managed to do.

    This book takes a look at two sisters living in Fr

    “Men tell stories,” I say. It is the truest, simplest answer to his question. “Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”


    The writing was so gorgeous and it astounded me how exciting the plot was. You would think the average 400+ page adult historical fiction would be pretty boring, right? I know I did, and I was so wrong. The tense plot had me ripping through the pages as Isabelle manipulated her way into Paris or Vianne slept under the same roof as a Nazi.

    Ironically, I just finished another WWII book, Blood for Blood, and I said how brutally it showcased the horrors of the Nazis - but The Nightingale makes that book look nice in comparison. Make no mistake - this book has rape, torture, death, and doesn't shy away from details of children going hungry or women being sent to concentration camps. But I hugely appreciated the detail, even if it made me flinch or tearfully want to skip ahead, because it put me in the minds of two survivors. I felt their suffering, pain, and determination.

    A beautiful, heartbreakingly honest story. ...more

  • Matthew

    4.5 to 5 stars - This is a very complete book. I hope that makes sense when I say it. I was satisfied with the entire experience.

    Emotional and at times nerve-wracking. Love and hope mixed with fear and suffering. Hard choices that are unavoidable, easy choices that come with great risk. This book is a historical fiction roller coaster ride.

    Even if you are not into historical fiction or WWII, I think this is worth checking out. Also, I would highly recommend it to those who enjoyed Between Shades
    ...more

  • Aestas Book Blog

    ::: FULL REVIEW NOW POSTED ::: 5 STARS!! :::



    HOLY WOW!!! This book was absolutely epic! A sweeping, breathtaking journey that captivated me from the first page with the strength and beauty of the writing. Truly an unforgettable story!

    The Nightingale has a 4.8/5 rating average on Amazon (which is HUGE!!) and what that basically means is that practically everyone who is reading it is loving it. And I'm now adding my own 5 STAR rating to that list because this book owned my heart. The ending was so

    He stood up slowly and took her in his arms. She wanted to bottle how safe she felt in this moment, so she could drink of it later when loneliness and fear left her parched...

    “I love you,” he said against her lips.

    “I love you, too,” she said but the words that always seemed so big felt small now. What was love when put up against war.


    Months into her husband's deployment, with no word still from him and with their already-dire situation getting worse and worse after France surrendered to Germany, Vianne and Sophie's lives are once again changed when a young German officer requisitions their home, making it his own. Faced with one hardship after another, they both do everything they can to survive, and pray for Antoine's safe return.

    “You needn’t worry, Madame,” he said. “We have been admonished to act as gentlemen. My mother would demand the same, and, in truth, she scares me more than my general.” It was such an ordinary remark that Vianne was taken aback.

    She had no idea how to respond to this stranger who dressed like the enemy and looked like a young man she might have met at church…

    He remained where he was, a respectful distance from her. “I apologize for any inconvenience, Madame.”

    "My husband will be home soon.”

    “We all hope to be home soon.”


    Miles away, Vianne's younger sister Isabelle attends a sort of finishing school for French woman and hates every single moment of it. Her outspoken and rebellious nature unwilling to bow to their rules. When the war comes though, she makes her way through the wilderness to Paris.

    Her beloved city was like a once-beautiful courtesan grown old and thin, weary, abandoned by her lovers. In less than a year, this magnificent city had been stripped of its essence by the endless clatter of German jackboots on the streets and disfigured by swastikas that flew from every monument.


    Refusing to accept France's surrender, and despite her sister's pleading to stay quiet and safe, she follows her heart and meets a young man named Gaetan. She falls in love with him and his belief that the French can fight the Nazis from within France. But when things take an unexpected turn, she decides to take matters into her own hands, regardless of what anyone tells her she can't do, and joins an underground group, The Resistance, that risks their lives to make a difference and help save as many others as they can.

    On this cool October morning, her life would change. From the morning she boarded this train… she would no longer be the girl in the bookshop…

    From now on, she was Juliette Gervaise, code name the Nightingale.


    You know that feeling when a book is so absorbing that you just want to cancel all your plans so you can keep reading it... and even when you can't read it, you're thinking about it? Yeah, that was me with this book! Once I started reading, I could barely put it down until I'd reached the last page.

    As the past and present storylines began to entwine, these shivers ran down me as certain reveals were brought into the light. Real shivers. Tears would spring to my eyes with even the simplest of things -- but ones that had such a hugely powerful impact on the story. A letter from Paris. BOOM. Tears.

    “Please… Just say strong and be there for me when the time comes for me to leave this cage… Because of you, I can survive. I hope that you can find strength in me, too, V. That because of me, you will find a way to be strong.

    Hold my daughter tightly tonight, and tell her that somewhere far away, her papa is thinking of her. And tell her I will return.

    I love you.”


    This book is honest in portraying the events that occurred to these characters, but not overly graphic. It doesn't need to be. The things that happen, and they way they are told are so powerful that you FEEL them. There are some scenes though that are hard to read because they are quite painful and I'll warn that there may be triggers for some people, but then again, this is a story that takes place during a brutal war. There's everything you can expect from such a story -- brutal firefights, prison camps, beatings, near starvation, sacrifice... but there is also hope, resilience, survival. As I neared the end of the book, during the last few pages, tears began to pour down my face. It was achingly beautiful.

    Many of you will be wondering if there is a happy ending. I don't want to give things away, but I want you to know that I was completely okay with this ending. It's naturally not all sunshine and roses, how can it be with such a setting? But my gut feeling tells me that even hard-core romance fans will still love this book. I was moved to tears several times, but in many ways my heart was healed.

    “I love you, Antoine Mariac, and I expect you to come home to me.”


    Kristin Hannah's writing is some of the best I've ever read. It's extraordinarily vivid and evocative. This was my first book by her and I felt like I was right there with these characters -- not only were their emotions so strongly conveyed, but the picture of their surroundings came to life before my eyes.

    I have searched for years without luck for a book that could even come close to comparing to my all-time favorite book, The Bronze Horseman (more into here). This book however, is the closest I’ve ever come to one that captured a similar feeling. The story is vastly different — while The Bronze Horseman completely revolved around one love story that was the driving force behind the entire trilogy, The Nightingale was focused on two sisters and their experiences surviving the war -- while the sisters each had their own love stories, it was their personal journeys that this book was focused on. I also found TBH to generally be more emotional than TN. So, it’s not of course a direct parallel. But I will say that if you’re a fan of TBH and if, like me, you’ve been searching for years for a similar book, then you absolutely must read this.

    This was honestly one of the most powerful stories I've read. It will stay in my heart, I know this for a fact. More than anything, what I take away from it is gratitude... gratitude for every single freedom and luxury that I know so many of us naturally take for granted. They are precious. This book reminded me of that.

    Rating: 5 STARS!! Standalone novel.

    _______________________________________

    For those of you who want to know who lives and who dies... (view spoiler)

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    ...more

  • Nat

    “My nightingale, I got you home.”



    This review contains *spoilers*.

    I honestly didn't expect to like The Nightingale as much as I did.

    The premise of the book intrigued me (I've been really into historical fiction lately).

    This story follows two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during World War II and their hardships trying to survive.

    My heart broke for each sister as I read their stories full of loss and pain. And I loved the shifting point-of-view that allowed me to see inside each character's head.
    ...more

  • Gabriella

    I really tried, you guys. There was even a 20% period when my standards were reduced so low from the previous 70%, that I thought maybe, maybe 2*. But the last 10% was offensive. Yes, I said offensive.

    Review later. And by review, I mean bitch rant fest.

    ---------

    People keep asking me how I didn’t like this book. Honestly, I want to ask them how they did.

    Never have I ever read a book by such a clueless, air-headed author.

    And I actually don’t even mean that to be mean, or to pick on KH. It’s just

    1. Chaos. Dust. Crowds. The street was a living, breathing dragon of humanity, inching forward, wheezing dirt, honking horns; people yelling for help, babies crying, and the smell of sweat heavy in the air.

    2. like flotsam in the reeds of a muddy river

    3. Like a thousand-legged centipede, the crowd moved forward into the great hall. [Side rant: as for this “thousand-legged centipede” does she perhaps mean a MILLIPEDE?!]

    4. The refugees who had arrived before her would have moved through the town like locusts, buying every foodstuff on the shelves.

    5. clothes so tattered and patched she was reminded of the war refugees who’d so recently shuffled through Paris, hoarding cigarettes and bits of paper and empty bottles, begging for change or help. [Isabelle, when meeting Gaetan—notice how she’s not part of these “war refugees” even though SHE WAS.]

    6. There were dozens of people in her yard; mostly women and children, moving like a pack of hungry wolves. Their voices melded into a single desperate growl.

    7. The crowd surged around him like water around a rock


    Notice how they’re all…not human? Lumped into a collective beast (a dragon, rushing water, millipede, pack of growling, hungry wolves) that is THE REFUGEES? But what’s more sickening about all of this is that Isabelle was part of them, and yet never once does Hannah include her in these ominous descriptions of (dun dun dun dunnnnn) THE REFUGEES. Instead, she was getting kissed by the handsome Gaetan, because she’s above the smelliness of refugee status, apparently. Also, we’re reminded three times throughout the book that “the refugees” broke Vianne’s gate. This kind of language that dehumanizes refugees needs to stop.

    GARDEN: Le Jardin is supposedly a garden, and literally means “The Garden” in French. But this “garden” is a fucking farm because in a 1940 French village it has chickens, rabbits (both plural), a stone wall covering all of it, a BARN with a car inside it, and ANOTHER cellar, a hill with a “hillside between the garden and the barn” and is so big that Isabelle can come in the middle of the night with three communists and move the car in the barn and hide a dead body and Vianne, inside at home, HEARS NOTHING. More implausible still, even after the wall was torn down, not ONE of the poor, starving French people broke in to steal her fruits, vegetables, and live stock.

    VILLAGE: This village of 1000 people has Nazis, SS, and Gestapo, and a networked train system.

    POOR (Part I): Seriously guys, what class were these people? Farmers? Because they own a farm. Village people? Nope, because they have expensive silverware, Limoges plates, Alençon lace, original impressionist paintings, and a spare bedroom. Let’s break down the math. Isabelle is 19 in 1939. She is 10 years younger than Vianne. So Vianne was born in approx. 1910. Which means…despite a dead mother, a drunk absent father throughout her entire life, growing up in WWI, living through the GREAT DEPRESSION that followed, getting pregnant at 16 (and going to university while pregnant, according to Hannah) miraculously her and her parents had money (they live in a house a mile away from a village of 1000 people, keep in mind), for a car and to put both girls in university. A car, a property with an acre of land, university for both daughters—I mean, I’m jealous here in 2016. Isabelle is bilingual, and knows how to drive a car, and is 19 years old and still in boarding schools in 1940 France, LEARNING TO CUT AN ORANGE. I just can’t stress the time period enough. Getting kicked out, no less, for failing to learn how to cut an orange. At 19. So then who taught her English, if her school was so worthless? I doubt it was her dead mother or absent father. To say nothing of the fact that back then at 19 you should be married.

    POOR (Part II): During the war, they were eating cats and rats. People were stealing bread. There was nothing. Salt was precious as gold and used for preserving food, NEVER for seasoning it. Some examples of starvation during wartime poverty in this book:

    1. but what about the coming winter? How could Sophie stay healthy without meat or milk or cheese? [Because bread, vegetables, and fruits were in abundance in wartime winters]

    2. She had sold off her family’s treasures one by one: a painting to feed the rabbits and chickens through the winter [EAT. THE FUCKING. RABBITS. This is Europe in the 1940s for fuck’s sake. Eat the goddamn rabbits.]

    3. Moments later, she carried out a heavy ceramic tray bearing the fried fish surrounded by the pan-roasted vegetables and preserved lemons, all of it enhanced with fresh parsley. The tangy, lemony sauce in the bottom of the pan, swimming with crusty brown bits, could have benefited from butter, but still it smelled heavenly. [Wartime poverty equals no butter, got it.]

    3. “There is no food here in the city, Isabelle ... People are raising Guinea pigs for food. You will be more comfortable in the country, where there are gardens.” [As long as you have a garden, you’re fine.]

    4. Vianne began finely chopping the mutton. She added a precious egg to the mix, and stale bread, then seasoned it with salt and pepper.


    This book read more like a Mediterranean slim fast diet and a vintage fashion catalog than anything else. Other than Hannah constantly saying how much they were losing weight and starving and going without, I would never have known. Take away her adjectives like stale and precious, and it’s fucking gourmet.

    If this book wasn’t so heavily inspired by Andrée De Jongh, I might not be so harsh on it. But it is. So, yes, a woman who WAS a war hero, after working for the Red Cross, who set up the Comet Line with her father, went to a concentration camp, survived—for Hannah to sentimentalise her life the way she did, it IS offensive. By focusing so heavily on Isabelle’s beauty, and having Isabelle’s beauty be the reason she so easily slides past the Nazis (even Isabelle admits this!), Hannah is actually ROBBING De Jongh of her strength, courage, power, heroism.

    And I have a bone to pick with Hannah: the real Andrée De Jongh was not blond. I find it wrong for a blond American author to take a real woman, change her short curly black hair and add long blond hair instead (hair so pretty when Beck comments on it, SHE CUTS IT OFF), and then start saying she’s “impossibly beautiful.” Especially in a book about WWII, where Hitler was prejudiced to anyone who was not of blond hair, blue eyed Aryan race. What the hell?!?!

    This book is no more historical fiction than Disney is a true retelling of the Brothers Grimm stories. Which gets even WORSE when you start looking at what Hannah opted to change from the real De Jongh. No mention of a spouse, in later life or during the war effort, is mentioned for De Jongh. She survived the concentration camp and lived until she was 90. She began establishing the Comet Line after she first worked in the Red Cross (ie, she didn’t scribble a V on a poster and hand out fliers and BAM, hiked Pyrenees). In contrast, Hannah gives Isabelle daddy issues, has her begin working for the rebels to impress a love interest, then has her die contentedly in her lover’s arms. What’s so astounding and disturbing is that all the things that Hannah changed about De Jongh, were the things that made De Jongh strong, powerful, resilient, caring, heroic.

    Then there is the writing style.

    The number of times that Hannah repeated the same mediocre turn of phrase had me feeling like she was just enamored with her own writing. Which was sad, because the oft-repeated turns of phrase were mediocre at best, rendered embarrassing after, oh, the fifth time. How many times does a car horn “aah-oo-gah”? How many times do characters note the black markings on the wall where pictures used to hang? Hint: one time too many. How many times is something “was all she could say”? (Seven times too many. Note to Hannah: if that’s all a character says, it goes without saying that that’s all she could say.) How many times do people “tent” their hands over their eyes?

    The French words peppering this novel were the most generic one word expressions (oui, merde) that felt like Hannah couldn't be bothered to consult a French editor so she stuck with the most basic words. Merde is not the go-to French cuss either. Nor is it especially not the ONLY French cuss word either.

    Similes that mix senses abound — “roses tumbling like laughter” is just ONE example. Clouds are stretched tight as clotheslines — it goes on. The result was, for me, a very cartoonish book with clothesline-hanger clouds (complete with clothes flapping), laughing roses, and a Roger Rabbit cameo every time a horn “aah-oo-gahs”. And, in fact, Hannah thought her little aah-oo-gah was so clever that she even turned it, in one instance, into a verb. Aah-oo-gahed.

    I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried, you guys.

    Think that’s not so bad? In the middle of a detailed rape scene, we have, ladies and gents, He kicked the door shut with his booted foot and then shoved her up against the wall. She made an ooph as she hit.

    This is exactly the kind of sentimental, senseless, ridiculous, bullshit chick-lit writing that is PRECISELY why men make fun of chick-lit, and what basically sets feminism back about a leap year or three.

    Then there was what I can only describe as empty calorie description. The only flowers Hannah seems to know of are jasmines and roses. Every time there is a group of people, a baby wails and women cry/scream. Every. Bloody. Time.

    Vianne sat down beside Sophie. She thought about their old life—laughter, kisses, family suppers, Christmas mornings, lost baby teeth, first words.


    This is a generic description of motherhood that I, a non-mother, could have come up with.

    I could go on about the idyllic descriptions of France in WWII. All I’ll say is seriously, just pick up a vintage hat catalogue and French magazine and you’ve got the best of KH’s The Nightingale. We’re talking picnics with checkered blankets, brimmed hats, aprons, pencil skirts, berets. The book was a fashion show, really. The anachronisms were so bad too that it felt like watching a shoddily done play where the only thing historical is the fashion. (Expressions like “I’m pretty sure” and “bombed the hell out of” make appearances.)

    Am I being too harsh? I could just be a little pissed of still from the fucking bullshit that was the last two chapters of this trash book.

    SO this book is about two polar opposite sisters in Nazi-occupied France. Sounds brilliant! Except it has fuck all to do with sisters. It’s all romance. All the book does is romanticise war. You might be thinking, but come on, what’s wrong with adding romance in a war story?

    Honestly? NOTHING.

    So why am I complaining that this is “romanticized”? Because Hannah uses war and tragedy in SERVICE of a romance. It’s a backdrop, a pretty set, for a romance to play out, just like the 5,000,000,055 references to clothes, hats, and valises. Hannah even uses a real women , a real war hero, to service her love story.

    Is this book really about two sisters learning to love each other? I wish.

    Isabelle puts not just her sister but also her NIECE in jeopardy by bringing the downed airman into the barn. She escapes, Vianne stays behind. What happens when Isabelle receives a letter saying that Vianne has a new Nazi billeting with her? This:

    Vianne was fine—she had been released after questioning—but another soldier, or soldiers, was billeted there. She crumpled the paper and tossed it in the fire. She didn’t know whether to be relieved or more worried. Instinctively, her gaze sought out Gaetan, who was watching her as he spoke to an airman.


    And then a page of her unrequited love for Gaetan. That, you guys, is all the passing thought she gives to her sister.

    Have you guys heard this famous quote by Winnie the Pooh? “Always remember: you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Well, have you also heard the modernized tumblr version? It’s the same, but with “and twice as beautiful as you ever imagined.” That last addition is usually written in bigger text or italicized for emphasis. I’m going to quote someone else now who analyzed it first:

    Why did girls feel like something was missing from that quote in its original form? … Because the message that we constantly receive is that girls are not valuable without beauty.


    Brave, strong, and smart are NOT enough for women—they must be beautiful, too.

    Why is this related to The Nightingale? Because of THIS:

    1. “[Gaetan] won’t think I’m pretty anymore.”

    2. Vianne kissed [Isabelle’s] cheek. “You’re beautiful,” she said.

    3. When he drew back, he stared down at her and the love in her eyes burned away everything bad; it was just them again, Gaetan and Isabelle, somehow falling in love in a world at war. “You’re as beautiful as I remember,” he said.

    4. It didn’t matter that she was broken and ugly and sick. He loved her and she loved him.


    Then in the last chapter, Vianne:

    1. “I thought she was reckless and irresponsible and almost too beautiful to look at.”

    2. “Isabelle Rossignol died both a hero and a woman in love.”


    According to Hannah, it isn’t that Isabelle survived the concentration camps and is a war hero that matters. What matters is that she came back STILL BEAUTIFUL.

    Yes, I do realise that she was bald and had malnutrition, weighed eighty pounds, had typhus and pneumonia and was coughing blood. I do realise that Hannah was saying that, despite all that, she was beautiful. Which at face value seems like a terrific message to send out.

    But more important than her dying a war hero, was that she died a woman in love. Because that’s Vianne’s final thought, the final thing about her sister at the speech at the end. That she died a woman in love. Not, as Hannah tried to pretend, after seeing a free France and being part of the resistance. In the camp, Isabelle “had to stay alive long enough to see an Allied victory and a free France.” But she does see a free France... and still her life is not “enough.” In fact, she wanders out in the rain because “Gaetan promised to find me after the war was over ... I need to get to Paris so he can find me.” Her life becomes “enough” when Gaetan appears.

    Why isn’t it enough that Isabelle is a war hero? That she was brave? Smart? Strong? Here’s a radical feminist thought: why can’t we, as women, just leave beauty out of the equation entirely? Even if she was a pretty woman, why does it need to be mentioned? And at every page, too?

    Which brings me back to that Winnie the Pooh quote. For women, to be brave, strong, and smart, it is not enough.

    Because Isabelle was exactly all three of those things.

    And let me ask Hannah the same question she asked in the book.

    “You should take a break, maybe. Let someone else do your mountain trips.”

    [Isabelle] gave [her father] a pointed look. Did people say things like this to men? Women were integral to the Resistance. Why couldn’t men see that?


    Yeah, Hannah? Well, do people say “He died both a hero and a man in love”?

    I think not.

    Let it be enough that she was a war hero, please. ...more

  • Emily May

    “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Isabelle. Paris is overrun. The Nazis control the city. What is an eighteen-year-old girl to do about all of that?”


    What, indeed.

    I really didn't know what to expect going into The Nightingale. Given the quote about love and war in the blurb, I kind of thought it might be an historical romance set during the Second World War - like the world really needs another The Bronze Horseman - but it turned out to be so much more than that.

    There are love stories in The Nightingale, ...more