Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Book Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

My favorite book of all time was always Wuthering Heights. While I really enjoyed other books, there was none that replaced it as a new favorite up until almost three years ago.  The book that finally replaced Wuthering Heights as my all time favorite book is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  Since I'm in the middle of my least favorite book in the history of books a hard to read novel, I decided to reminisce on one of my most favorite reads to help me bare the pain.

The novel is titled The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
The book is ready by Polly Stone.
The unabridged version is 17 hours and 19 minutes long.

the best historical fiction WWII novel the nightingale by kristin hannah

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Book Review:  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah starts off with a mysterious older woman cleaning out her attic.  This short, first chapter sets the scene for the entire book.  It leaves the reader wondering who is this woman and more importantly which character made it to the end of the book?  The author flips back to this modern day timeline a few times throughout the novel.  Each time she leaves a new clue as to who this woman is.  Despite investigating and re-investigating each clue thrown at the reader, I still could not accurately predict who the mystery woman was.  In addition to adding a fun element to the body of the story, it allowed the author to provide every piece of closure that the reader deserved.  And, trust me, the reader deserved full closure at the end of this book!

When not trying to figure out the identity of the mystery woman, the reader is entrenched in the main story that takes place in France during the heart of World War II.  The two main characters of the story are sisters named Vianne and Isabelle.  These two sisters are polar opposites in every way.  The only commonality shared between them is their brief childhood which was dramatically cut short by the untimely death of their mother.  Vianne was a married woman and the mother of a daughter that she considered a miracle child.  She could be described as nervous, reserved, unsure of herself, and purposefully ignorant.  Isabelle was a care free, ambitious, and rebellious teenager that was fueled by deep feelings of abandonment.  She was also so beautiful that she would take people by surprise.  She felt her beauty was a curse causing her further social isolation and a need to prove that she's more than a pretty face.  As different as both characters are, you'll find yourself rooting for both them equally.

The Nightingale offers a unique perspective to WW2.  It's told from France's side of the story.  You'll get insight to the state of Paris, the countryside, and the free zone of France throughout the war.  You'll also gain the unique perspective of dealing with German soldiers being billeted to live in the homes of the French citizens while their men are off to war.  One can only imagine the hell that these women and children were forced to endure.  The reader will get to see the unique perspective of the French resistance and the contributions that they made to war.  Finally, the reader will get to see that despite the deep damage that everyone suffered, all parties would be able to mold into their new state of normalcy to finally heal.

My favorite part of this book is that it's not a love story.  It's also not a story focused on the Holocaust.  It's a story of war, but the war fought back home by unofficial soldiers that never received a title or were given a weapon.  

I would highly recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

Ladies and gentleman, I can't say this enough.  This book is a must read!  Once you're done reading, read it again or listen to the audio book.  Then try real hard to patiently wait for the film adaptation to be released!

What is your all time favorite book?


  1. Da Fanning sistahs have been in the process of the movie adaptation of this book for years now, methinks.

    1. I heard the same.. when is it going to be done?? My friend and I have had plans to see this movie together for about 2 years now. LOL

  2. Well, you know I’m over the WW2 genre, but I did read The Nightingale and thought it was the best on that topic. It was so informational on occupied France and I enjoyed the characters. My favorite book? That would be a tie between two completely different ones: Pride and Prejudice because it contains some of the greatest characters of all time and Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris because I’ve read it more times than any other book and it still cracks me up.

    1. That makes me so happy that you read it! If you're looking for great historical fiction based on true story, try Lost Roses. It's about WWI and the Russian revolution which is a great change of topic. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors that isn't living. I've read every single one of her books, so I agree with you there. I never heard of Holidays on Ice. I have to look that one up! I'm currently reading Dead Awakening and it's so awful that it's taking me sooooo long to finish it. I have to force myself to get through a little bit of it every day.

  3. I have had so many people tell me I need to read this book. Definitely going to do that as soon as I finish up my office renovation and have more free time for reading.

  4. Sounds like a winner indeed. Good when things don't go all lovey dovey and keep you turning the page or playing the audio, whatever one prefers. Sure a movie of it will come out one day. Whenever they get done with reboots and remakes.


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