The Nightingale

The Nightingale

Book - 2015
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"Viann and Isabelle have always been close despite their differences. Younger, bolder sister Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann lives a quiet and content life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. When World War II strikes and Antoine is sent off to fight, Viann and Isabelle's father sends Isabelle to help her older sister cope. As the war progresses, it's not only the sisters' relationship that is tested, but also their strength and their individual senses of right and wrong. With life as they know it changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann 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. Vivid and exquiste in its illumination of a time and place that was filled with great monstrosities, but also great humanity and strength, Kristin Hannah's novel will provoke thought and discussion that will have readers talking long after they turn the last page"--
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, ©2015.
ISBN: 9781250080400
Characteristics: 440 pages :,map ;,25 cm.


From Library Staff

HonorBound Oct 23, 2015

Every once in a while you read a book that leaves you emotionally exhausted having lived the lives of the characters in the book. This is that type of book. It grabs you, holds on to you, and you're the one who doesn't let go.

From the critics

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May 10, 2021

Well written story about a French family who resisted the Nazis, in their own different ways, during their rule of France in WWII. Although men are involved in the story, the plot revolves around 2 sisters, one a late teen, the other a young married woman, and their differing wartime experiences on the homefront. The teen at first has annoying habits and I wondered how she could ever become an undercover guide leading downed Allied airmen out of France by walking over the Pyrennee Mountains into Spain. The other sister is the one less driven to "Free France", but her friendship with her Jewish neighbor heightens her awareness of how she can help Jews who are forcibly herded to the town square and then shipped to work camps by train. The story has tension throughout; there is always the threat of exposure, punishment, and death. The story comes to life with action, adventure, family love, young love, and danger. A beautiful ending, however, despite the many painful experiences the sisters had. The story would probably appeal more to female than male readers.

ArapahoeJulia Apr 26, 2021

Wow this book. This one was very intense, but very good. If you enjoy historical fiction, look no further than this read. It is heartbreaking, eye-opening, and a testament to the resiliency and the power of family.

Apr 08, 2021

I’m halfway through reading this book and although I find the subject and storyline compelling, I am finding that the writing isn’t my style. I checked other comments here and decided that there are other books that I have to spend time on instead as this book is requested back at the library.

Mar 15, 2021

I guess I’ve read too many books on Germany’s invasion in France during WWll that this falls under “another WWll” story. It is inspiring and draining at the same time. It shows how the heart and the spirit triumph over anything a person/regime can do to the body or the mind. It also takes you through some of the horrific events that a control-freak loathsome man commanded in his quest for power. But the resilience of two sisters and others in their circle are not defeated by the mad dictator’s actions.

Feb 23, 2021


Feb 18, 2021

A few small flaws in the plot and a somewhat simplified writing style but all in all a very compelling book. Since history doesn't teach us about women and their role in war, this was very educational. I can see it being a netflix movie some day.

Feb 11, 2021

I could not put this book down. Cried, gasped, and even found my mouth hanging open in sheer shock at what these women, and others, went through. Broken hearted. Felt like I was there and wanted to help. A must read!

Feb 09, 2021

This is a hard review to write because to experience this book you have to read it for yourself. I tend to shy away from books that deal with World War II, especially books containing graphic scenes such as this one, but because this is Kristin Hannah, I knew that it would be an amazing read. From the beginning it captured and held my interest but I have to admit at some point in the book it lost its appeal, which was most likely due to my lack of knowledge for the subject of war in France. But by the time that the main story-line involving Isabelle and her courageous journey began I could hardly put this book down.

I read on and on, wondering when in God's name would these women, Isabelle and Vianne, Vianne's daughter Sophie and other prominent characters finally find peace. Everyone in this book; even the children involved, are the bravest souls I can imagine. If I were in their position, I wouldn't have been able to live through such a harrowing ordeal and would have given up early in the story-line. If this is really what World War 2 was like (and I have no doubt that it was-the amount of research that must have been involved in this book is, in itself, remarkable), I am forever indebted to everyone who gave their lives, their dignity, their bravery for their country.

No amount of my gushing or explaining could do justice to this book; like I said before, you just have to read it for yourself. It is graphic; remarkably so and is far different than any book Kristin Hannah has ever written. I mean that in a good way. I absolutely loved "Home Front" which is another book about war that takes place in more modern times. But this book focuses entirely on the war itself instead of those at home.

I finished this book last night, five days after it was due at the library and I feel completely drained.I felt like I was in this war right along with Isabelle and Vianne. There is another story interwoven here; an old woman who's identity isn't revealed until the end of the book and it beautifully ties everything together, making the reader nod in understanding. I loved that it was interwoven into the story because it broke up the storyline in such a way that was welcome rather than an intrusion.

Even if you think you can't handle graphic and raw scenes like those depicted in war, read this book. It's amazing and perhaps even a bit life-changing. Kristin Hannah has been my favorite author since I first read "On Mystic Lake" back in 2007, and this just cements the reasons that I find her truly wonderful. She has a gift that no one can match.

Feb 07, 2021

Flipping the last page of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, a best-selling in New York Time, I decided to write a review about this book immediately. In the beginning, The Nightingale brought us to the peaceful village called Carriveau in France before the invasion of Germany of World War II. The story focuses mainly on the sisters, named Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac. Each sister has their own belief in life, love, and bravery. Vianne struggles to protect her children under the billet of a German soldier when every second is a danger and has to make difficult choices to keep her family alive. Isabelle falls in love with Gaetan, a partisan who believed France can win the war within the country. And when Gaetan betrays her, she joins the Resistance, risking her life to save others. After reading this book, I love that the book shows us what women’s war is and breaks the opinion about women being useless in wartime. Each sister contributed in different ways but we cannot deny that they have a strong soul, the sisters have won their ego, weaknesses and grown a lot through the war. Nevertheless, the narrative at first is quite slow, making the readers feel bored. To sum up, with courage, grace, and powerful insight, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is worth reading.

Jan 31, 2021

Two sisters who struggle to survive and resist German occupation of France on the eve of WWII.

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Add a Quote
May 23, 2019

“Ask for help when you need it, and give help when you can.”
― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

May 23, 2019

“I had forgotten how gently time passes in Paris. As lively as the city is, there’s a stillness to it, a peace that lures you in. In Paris, with a glass of wine in your hand, you can just be.”
― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

May 23, 2019

“But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”
― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

Aug 07, 2018

“It’s better to be bold than meek...If you jump off a cliff at least you’ll fly before you fall.” - Isabelle to Sophie

Jun 25, 2018

"They couldn't touch my heart. They couldn't change who i was inside. My body... they broke that in the first days, but not my heart, V. Whatever he did it, it was to your body, and your body will heal." - Isabelle

ArapahoeChristine Apr 24, 2017

Wounds heal. Love lasts. We remain.

ArapahoeChristine Apr 22, 2017

She wouldn't have understood how dark a side of love could have, how hiding it was the kindest thing you could do sometimes.

M_ALCOTT Feb 20, 2015

"If you're going through hell, keep going."-Winston Churchill

M_ALCOTT Feb 20, 2015

"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."-Vianne

M_ALCOTT Feb 20, 2015

"Some stories don't have happy endings. Even love stories. Maybe especially love stories."-Micheline

Age Suitability

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Aug 07, 2018

BudgiesNbooks thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 13, 2018

latwell1 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Jun 24, 2018

gac thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Mar 24, 2018

julsolmo thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

ArapahoeChristine Apr 24, 2017

ArapahoeChristine thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Aug 31, 2015

Nvfera thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary
SPL_Brittany Dec 12, 2016

“In love we find out who we want to be… in war we find out who we are”.

France 1939, Vianne Mauriac lives in the French countryside village of Carriveau with her husband Antoine and their young daughter Sophie. When war breaks out, Antoine is called away to the front leaving Vianne and Sophie alone and vulnerable. When a German Nazi captain billets at their house, Vianne and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money, danger escalates all around them, and she is forced to make one impossible decision after another.

Passionate, impulsive and rash, Isabelle is kicked out of yet another boarding school and flees to Paris to live with her father only to be told that she is to help Vianne in Carriveau. While Isabelle and Vianne struggle to mend their relationship, Isabelle struggles with desperately wanting to play a role in the French resistance yet knowing that in doing so puts Vianne and Sophie at risk. Throughout the war Vianne and Isabelle find their bond as well as their respective beliefs tested by a war that changes their world in horrific ways, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, love and freedom in Nazi occupied war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah writes a sweeping and captivating tale of France during the Second World War shifting between the perspectives of Vianne and Isabelle. It is a novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, and focuses on the role women played during the war. It is a novel that tests the bonds of love, family and friendship. Hannah slowly weaves her magic and by the end of the novel your emotions will be engaged and you will be captivated by her storytelling. This is a novel that will stay with you for a long after you have read it.

Jul 11, 2016

The Nightingale portrays a realistic look at German occupied France during WWII. The novel focuses on two sisters who face enormous obstacles as they live their lives as French women. One must think first of her family, provide food and shelter for them, and attempt to protect them from the savage effects of war. The other thinks first of her country, seeks to fight in any way possible, including helping downed airmen to flee France to safety. Through it all, both women become stronger through their actions and in-actions and find an appreciation/love for one another that has been missing since their youth.


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ArapahoeChristine Apr 24, 2017

Sexual Content: Rape scene

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