Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review for "The Nightingale" {by Kristin Hannah}

TITLE OF THE BOOK: The Nightingale  
AUTHOR: Kristin Hannah                                 
PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Press

GENRE: Historical Fiction, War, Romance

BOOK SUMMARY: “In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.” 
The Nightingale is a beautiful story of two courageous sisters in a fight for freedom and survival in France during WWII. Vianne is forced to say goodbye to her husband as he heads off to war. As danger grows around her, Vianne must make impossible choices to keep her family alive. Isabelle is young, reckless, passionate, and is looking for purpose and a way to help her country. This is a novel that everyone will love, filled with passion, courage, circumstance, and human resilience. 

And for the first time EVER in Delicious Read book club history, our star rating was unanimous! 

Every member gave this book a 5 star rating. That's never happened before.

GROUP REVIEW: Alix was our moderator and she did such an amazing job. We had some great discussion and every single one of us LOVED the book.  To start off the discussion, Alix read to us what the Author had to say about The Nightingale. What she says is so beautiful, brought up great questions, and gives you an idea of what the book is about.  Kristin Hannah says;

“Sometimes a story sneaks up on you, hits you hard and dares you to look away.  That was the case with The Nightingale.  In truth, I did everything I could not to write this novel.  But when research on World War II led me to the story of a young Belgian woman who had created an escape route out of Nazi-Occupied France, I was hooked.  Her story—one of heroism and danger and unbridled courage—inspired me to imagine the women in that world.  I simply couldn’t turn away.  I had to keep digging, discovering, reading, and that story led me to others that were equally fascinating.  Stories about women who had saved Jewish children and rescued downed airmen and put themselves in harm’s way to save others.  Women who had paid terrible, unimaginable prices for their heroism.

Their stories were impossible to ignore.  I found myself consumed with a single, haunting question, as relevant today as it was seventy years ago: When would I, as a wife and mother, risk my life—and more importantly, my child’s life-- to save a stranger?
That question is at the very heart of The Nightingale. In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.  And sometimes, perhaps, we don’t want to know what we would do to survive.

In war, women’s stories are all too often forgotten or overlooked.  Women tend to come home from the battlefield and say nothing and go on with their lives.  The Nightingale is a novel about those women and the daring, dangerous choices they made to save their children and their way of life.”

Kristin Hannah (picture source)

- One of the major themes throughout the book is the relationship between love and war. “If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” 

This quote brought up some great questions like: 

  • What is the relationship between love and war? How does war change the way these characters love? How does love influence their actions in war?
After reading this, it’s so easy to see how war can completely change a person and change the way they love someone, or how they are loved. Some of the characters were apart from each other for so long and went through so many impossible hardships and when reunited it was like trying to love a different person.
Love can be one of the strongest influences in a person’s actions anytime, but especially in war. The love for another person can motivate you to keep going and persevere longer than ever thought possible.  Or you may do something you would never do just for yourself, but you would do anything to protect the ones you love. 

Kristin's Inspiration for the wall on Le Jardin (picture source)

A bicycle in Paris (picture source)

-The sisters Isabelle and Vianne respond to the war in very different ways. Isabelle reacts with anger and defiance, risking her life to join the resistance against Nazi occupation. Vianne proceeds with caution and fear, avoiding conflicts for the sake of her children. We discussed who we related to, sympathized, and admired more of the two sisters. We all admire Isabelle’s courage and hope we could do the same if we were in that situation. Being wives and mothers though, every one of us could relate to Vianne. It would be harder for her to risk her life as much as Isabelle did, because she has her daughter to think about. If something were to happen to Vianne then her daughter’s life is directly affected.  It’s easier to risk your own life when you’re not putting a loved one’s life on the line with it. This goes along so well with the previous question. Isabelle and Vianne had different motivators and that changed their actions during the war. We all would love to say we would be just as courageous as Isabelle, but being mothers, most of us agreed we would be more like Vianne. She was just as courageous and heroic as Isabelle, just a different way. It makes you really think and ask yourself the good questions about who you are as a person and the “What would I do?” question. 

Women's Fashion in the 40's (picture source)

-The book captures many of the era’s attitudes about men and women I think that is why we all loved this book so much. It’s the women’s stories and the unrecognized yet crucial roles they played during the war. “Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no paraded 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.” We never hear the women’s stories, so it was so incredible and eye opening to read them.

There were so many intense emotional parts that had us all crying for these women. It’s impossible to imagine being in the situations they were. Having to hand your crying child off to a stranger begging them to please save them, and knowing you probably won’t live to see your baby again is something that is unimaginable. It makes you so appreciative of the sacrifices these people had to make. It’s truly amazing the resilience mankind can have and what someone can endure. We talked about SO many other great things, but it’s hard to write them all without giving away any spoilers. This book was so great and we all could have continued talking about it for many more hours.  


Heavy/Moderate (f-word used twice, some derogatory names, mild obscenities)
Heavy/Moderate (sexual references, sexual activity and rape without explicit detail)
Moderate (frequent incidents of violence and death without explicit detail)
Mild (Characters frequently drink and smoke)

Check back soon to see all of our photos from our meeting!


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