I’m so happy to be part of a book club. I can say with 100 percent certainty that I would not have picked up a book this fall had it not been for book club. I know there’s no pressure for anyone in my group to actually read the book – my book club crew is very low-key. And no one would be bothered if I showed up just for wine and snacks, but I’m a rule follower. I must do what is expected and what I set out to do.
So I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. If I’m being totally honest, I cram read this novel a week prior to our set meeting time. This was not entirely easy seeing it was a 440 page book of World War II historical fiction. But it was very well-written and held my interest from beginning to end.
The Synoposis (available at Goodreads)
Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.
As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.
Book club unanimously rated The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah a great read. We concurred that Hannah weaved a beautiful tale of family and romantic drama. Set at a time when picture perfect Paris was overrun with Nazis and atrocities, Hannah managed to balance the ugly and difficult images of war with tender, personal moments of emotion, truth and reality.
If you are looking for a truly authentic depiction of WWII Germany and France, this interpretation may have some holes. If you are like me, however, someone who doesn’t typically read the historical fiction genre, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah tells a compelling story. One that is told from a Parisian perspective and paints a picture about the struggle of life outside of concentration camps. The complexities of family, friendship and love were highlighted revealing how each was cherished and compromised in the face of danger and duress.
I particularly liked Hannah’s imagery throughout the book. She was adequately and eloquently descriptive without being overdone. When it came to the violent images we’ve come to expect from a WWII novel, she gave just enough to make it real, but shielded the reader from too much excruciating detail which, personally, I would have had trouble reading.
If you’re a reader like me who leans to lighter content, The Nightingale is a nice step toward more substantive reading without being overladen with historical specifics.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah now makes two for two good, club-worthy books – the first being Diane Chamberlain’s The Silent Sister.
Next up in January…
A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman.
Read along and share your thoughts!