The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah was published February 3, 2015. Two sisters in France who led very different lives up to the point of World War II and both ended up taking their parts in the woman’s resistance efforts in the war and against the Nazi occupation.
I was completely hooked on The Nightingale right away. I could barely put it down because it was so good and interesting. I loved reading about the lives of Vianne and Isabelle during World War II in France.
I haven’t previously known very much about the resistance in France during World War II. As someone who’s studied my fair share of history during university, I am all about acknowledging the romanticization of history. But, fortunately, many authors are great at writing about fictional characters but placing them in a real historical set of circumstances that fit the reality of many people during that time. For example, even if Isabelle wasn’t really a person, there probably really were women who helped Allied soldiers leave France for a safer country like Spain, and there probably really were women like Vianne who were forced to let a Nazi live in their homes and saved children. I like this sort of presentation of history because it allows me to learn something about what happened in a story form; history text books are, honestly, typically pretty dull, while a novel is an interesting way to digest the information.
I also loved how Kristin Hannah told a story about women in the French resistance. A lot of other stories involving women during World War II (or WWI) mostly talk about women who were at home trying to survive with their families (or on their own) or women who were nurses because, alas, women’s official roles were limited back then. While that’s all fine and well and still an amazing story to tell, I do realize that women did more then that, even if it wasn’t as commonly known or organized by the military or government.
I would definitely strongly recommend The Nightingale to anyone who has the slightest interest in World War II or France or history or anything else of the sort.