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May 18, 2015

The Nightingale

TThe Nightingalehe Nightingale

By: Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah explores the relationship between two sisters before and during World War II. When they were young, their mother died and their father was too deep in his own sorrow to raise them, and he passed them off to be raised by a stranger. In a new home, unloved and uncared for, the girls both tried to make a new life, but in doing so they lost each other.

Vianne, the elder sister and Isabelle, the younger, were thrown back together years later with the outbreak of World War II. Still angry and hurt, they could not find a way to come to peace with each other. The two sisters had very different goals. While Vianne’s only goal was to keep her daughter safe and to stay in her home until her husband came back from the war, Isabelle’s goal was to stop the Nazis without any regard for her own safety or that of her sister or niece.

War stories often focus on men and battles. However, in Kristin Hannah’s new book, we see through the eyes of women who have no option but to make impossible choices. Struggling to stay alive in the worst of conditions, we see the war as it would be if it came to us now, in our homes and communities. Is it enough to stay alive? Should you risk your life for others? How do you live the rest of your life with the memories of what you were forced to do to survive?

This was an excellent book and would be good choice for a bookclub. See the book discussion guide from the author’s website here.

If you would like to read more books set during World War II, here are a few you might try:
All the Light We Cannot See by Doerr
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Shaffer
Postmistress by Blake
Sarah’s Key by Rosnay
Ship of Brides by Moyes

Review By: Kathy Sasseman