Review: The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin HannahRating: ★★★★★

Recommend: Yes

Genres: Historical Fiction

Add it to your TBR: Goodreads, Skoob

The Nightingale came out in 2015, and since then there has been such buzz about it, I just had to read it. At first I was put off by the WWII theme, as I have recently read quite some of those, but when I saw the story was about two sisters, I was curious and convinced. As I have a sister myself, I always relate and am instantly drawn to books about sisterhood.

This book follows the story of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle Roussignol from France, as the World War Two starts. Since their father came back from fighting in WWI, he was never the same. The poetry-loving, gentle person the girls knew is gone, and after their mother died of an illness, he gave up on them altogether. At 14, Vianne finds herself battling anxiety and the abandonment, and responsible for her small sister. As depression sinks in, she finds it too hard to give Isabelle the attention she craves. Two years later, she marries the man of her dreams, Antoine, the only person who was able to make her feel in peace. In the meantime, little Isabelle learns the true meaning of being alone. Being sent by her father from one place to another, in the vain hope that she will learn good manners, Isabelle refuses to accept the rejection she receives from both her father and her sister. She craves love, and she demands it. Years of loneliness made her brave, independent and hopeful. When the war comes, both sisters will find themselves entangled in the pain and struggles that come with it.

This book had such a well-rounded story. It had everything one could possibly want: courage, adventure, romance, wonderful characters, heart-breaking scenes, hope, forgiveness. This book will leave you with heartache, so don’t pick it up if you’re not up for all the emotions that it’ll bring. I don’t cry reading books, but from this one I had to make several pauses to avoid just that. Although it isn’t particularly fast-paced, it is so hard to put it down. I found both Vianne and Isabelle very relatable characters albeit a little exaggerated in their personalities. Despite the slightly unrealistic naïveté of Isabelle and Vianne’s passiveness when facing struggles due to her self-denial, I didn’t think this was to the demerit of the book. It just made me wonder about my own flaws and if I would have done it any other way at all.

The first 400 pages of this book were a solid 4 stars, but the last 100 were a solid 5, so I decided to give this book a 5.

Verdict: There are some triggers in this book that need to be taken into consideration. It shows victims of the concentration camps, there is torture and rape as well. Although not so explicit as other books, it still has some emotional impact. So avoid this books is these themes are sensitive to you. The Nightingale is written beautifully and is unafraid of tempering with your emotions. The bravery of the two sisters, each in their own way, and their moral dilemmas as they try to survive are just inspiring. I feel that WWII is a little overused as a theme for historical fiction, but this book is so worth reading.

27 thoughts on “Review: The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

  1. I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for over a year! I just can’t bring myself to read it. I’ve heard it compared to All the Light We Cannot See (which I loved) so much that I keep waiting and waiting until I feel like I won’t compare them against each other. Did you read All the Light We Cannot See? Do you think they’re different enough?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did! Honestly the only thing they have in common is that they are set during WWII in France (though All the Light We Cannot See is also partly in Germany). The writing styles are different and the stories feel different too. I hope you enjoy it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great Review! I loved this book so much. I love historical fiction and WWII is one the time periods I especially enjoy reading about, and this was very well done. Hannah is now one of my favorite authors, and I’m slowly trying to read through her books 🙂 Firefly Lane is a favorite if you haven’t read it. It’s a wonderful story of friendship lasting over 3 decades, and I cried reading it almost as much as I did this! 🙂 I look forward to more of your reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

      • You are welcome! If you like the movie Beaches, you will like it…that’s what the book reminds me of with the friendship between Tully and Kate 🙂 I haven’t seen Beaches since I was maybe 12 or 13…wow! Still I remember it so well, and it is the best comparison I can think of 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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