I’m thrilled to welcome Meaghan from Feeling a Little Bookish today to Paris Month. Hailing from Ottawa, Meaghan is part of the Ottawa bloggettes and her, along with the great group of gals there, are staples to our big Toronto gatherings. I was so excited she wanted to review the newly released book by Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale. It’s got such a gorgeous cover and from the photo that Meaghan sent me, the inside is equally beautiful. I’ll hand it off to Meaghan now to share what she thought about this historical fiction book.
Thank you to Michele for hosting me today for Paris Month. When I first heard about this I knew that I needed to review Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. Judging by the big Eiffel Tower on the cover you know right away it’s about Paris and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to read it. It’s not like I needed a big push because I love Hannah’s novels. They are usually heartwarming and slightly tragic. This book is a bit different in the fact that it is an historical fiction novel set in France in WWII.
The story centers on two sisters who are seemingly so different but when you take a closer look at them they have a lot more in common than anyone would have thought. Vianne is the older sister who is the mother to Sophie and wife to Antoine. She lives in a small village outside of Paris and has a best friend who lives next door. She is level headed and likes to fly under the radar. Her sister Isabelle keeps getting herself kicked out of boarding schools and couldn’t give a damn about propriety and manners. Throughout the novel Isabelle travels all around but her main base is Paris.
Both women attempt to help people survive in Nazi occupied France. Essentially the Nazis have invade, taking over cities and towns and terrorizing people. In the midst of all this Isabelle goes to more extreme measures to aid people escape while Vianne goes about helping others in a more subtle way. Both women do what they need to do to survive but never lose their humanity and empathy in the process.
Hannah writes such vivid and wonderful characters. I love that while the main focus of the story is WWII and its atrocities there is also such a real human element to it. The girls are sisters through and through and sometimes this means bickering and disagreeing with each other. I could relate to them fully and I was invested in what happened to them.
I know there are a lot of WWII novels out there but this one doesn’t take place in a concentration camp. It focuses on the citizens of France and showcases Paris as a hub of rebellion against the Nazis. It is a part of history that doesn’t often get enough attention. I couldn’t put this book down and flew right through its 420 or so pages. If you don’t end up shedding a tear or two throughout the story then I’d be surprised. It’s hard not to have the feels when reading this.
The thing that is remarkable about this story is how many people were affected by the war and how so many of these people in real and in the story didn’t talk about it. They survived and continued on like soldiers.
I would 100% recommend this book to everyone. It is powerful and beautifully written. A new favourite and a definite five out of five stars.