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The Nightingale: A Novel
     

The Nightingale: A Novel

4.8 691
by Kristin Hannah
 

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#1 New York Times bestseller

Named a best book of the year by: Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, self.com, The Wall Street Journal, The Week

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says

Overview

#1 New York Times bestseller

Named a best book of the year by: Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, self.com, The Wall Street Journal, The Week

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. She has captured a particular slice of French life during World War II with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the two sisters and Hannah's exploration of what we do in moments of great challenge. Do we rise to the occasion or fail? Are we heroes or cowards? Are we loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? Hannah explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart.” —Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestseller author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

“In this epic novel, set in France in World War II, two sisters who live in a small village find themselves estranged when they disagree about the imminent threat of occupation. Separated by principles and temperament, each must find her own way forward as she faces moral questions and life-or-death choices. Haunting, action-packed, and compelling.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

“I read The Nightingale in one sitting, completely transported to wartime France, completely forgetting where I was. A historical novel—built on Kristin Hannah’s proven skill with story, complex and enduring family ties, and passion—one that will captivate readers.” —Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness

“I found The Nightingale absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also historically informative….Read this book. It will keep you guessing throughout about the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, both brave young women who did what they thought was the right thing to do in the most of difficult circumstances. They had--in the words of Lawrence Langer the WW2 historian scholar” —too often to make ‘choiceless choices.'" –Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute

“A beautifully written and richly evocative examination of life, love, and the ravages of war, and the different ways people react to unthinkable situations—not to mention the terrible and mounting toll of keeping secrets. This powerhouse of a story is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to be another major hit.” —Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

Lisa See

I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. She has captured a particular slice of French life during World War II with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the two sisters and Hannah's exploration of what we do in moments of great challenge. Do we rise to the occasion or fail? Are we heroes or cowards? Are we loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? Hannah explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart.
Marilyn Dahl

I read The Nightingale in one sitting, completely transported to wartime France, completely forgetting where I was. A historical novel-built on Kristin Hannah's proven skill with story, complex and enduring family ties, and passion-one that will captivate readers.
Sara Gruen

A beautifully written and richly evocative examination of life, love, and the ravages of war, and the different ways people react to unthinkable situations-not to mention the terrible and mounting toll of keeping secrets. This powerhouse of a story is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to be another major hit.
Christina Baker Kline

In this epic novel, set in France in World War II, two sisters who live in a small village find themselves estranged when they disagree about the imminent threat of occupation. Separated by principles and temperament, each must find her own way forward as she faces moral questions and life-or-death choices. Haunting, action-packed, and compelling.
#1 New York Times bestseller author of Snow Flower Lisa See

I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. She has captured a particular slice of French life during World War II with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the two sisters and Hannah's exploration of what we do in moments of great challenge. Do we rise to the occasion or fail? Are we heroes or cowards? Are we loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? Hannah explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart.
Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teac too often to make ‘choiceless choices.'" –Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff

I found The Nightingale absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also historically informative….Read this book. It will keep you guessing throughout about the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, both brave young women who did what they thought was the right thing to do in the most of difficult circumstances. They had--in the words of Lawrence Langer the WW2 historian scholar
#1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Tra Christina Baker Kline

In this epic novel, set in France in World War II, two sisters who live in a small village find themselves estranged when they disagree about the imminent threat of occupation. Separated by principles and temperament, each must find her own way forward as she faces moral questions and life-or-death choices. Haunting, action-packed, and compelling.
Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff

I found The Nightingale absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also historically informative....Read this book. It will keep you guessing throughout about the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, both brave young women who did what they thought was the right thing to do in the most of difficult circumstances. They had--in the words of Lawrence Langer the WW2 historian scholar too often to make 'choiceless choices.'
Library Journal
01/01/2015
Character growth and development is a strength of this World War II-set novel, although the middle plods during some sections. Sisters Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac are driven apart by unhealed childhood wounds and clashing personalities. When Isabelle is kicked out of boarding school for the umpteenth time for "rebellious" behavior, her embittered veteran father, in the midst of drowning his own battle scars in bourbon, sends the adolescent to her elder sister's house. Meanwhile, Vianne attempts to find salvation from her past by marrying her teenage sweetheart and relocating to the French countryside where she delights in her garden and her school-age daughter. As Hitler's forces invade, both sisters face challenging choices that will show where their loyalties lie. VERDICT Hannah (Summer Island; Firefly Lane) has long been a staple of women's fiction. Readers who enjoy stories with ethical dilemmas and character-driven narratives will enjoy this novel full of emotion and heart. [See Prepub Alert, 8/11/14.]—Julia M. Reffner, Midlothian, VA
Kirkus Reviews
2014-11-20
Hannah's new novel is an homage to the extraordinary courage and endurance of Frenchwomen during World War II.In 1995, an elderly unnamed widow is moving into an Oregon nursing home on the urging of her controlling son, Julien, a surgeon. This trajectory is interrupted when she receives an invitation to return to France to attend a ceremony honoring passeurs: people who aided the escape of others during the war. Cut to spring, 1940: Viann has said goodbye to husband Antoine, who's off to hold the Maginot line against invading Germans. She returns to tending her small farm, Le Jardin, in the Loire Valley, teaching at the local school and coping with daughter Sophie's adolescent rebellion. Soon, that world is upended: The Germans march into Paris and refugees flee south, overrunning Viann's land. Her long-estranged younger sister, Isabelle, who has been kicked out of multiple convent schools, is sent to Le Jardin by Julien, their father in Paris, a drunken, decidedly unpaternal Great War veteran. As the depredations increase in the occupied zone—food rationing, systematic looting, and the billeting of a German officer, Capt. Beck, at Le Jardin—Isabelle's outspokenness is a liability. She joins the Resistance, volunteering for dangerous duty: shepherding downed Allied airmen across the Pyrenees to Spain. Code-named the Nightingale, Isabelle will rescue many before she's captured. Meanwhile, Viann's journey from passive to active resistance is less dramatic but no less wrenching. Hannah vividly demonstrates how the Nazis, through starvation, intimidation and barbarity both casual and calculated, demoralized the French, engineering a community collapse that enabled the deportations and deaths of more than 70,000 Jews. Hannah's proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale.Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466850606
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/03/2015
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
172
Lexile:
HL740L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Nightingale


By Kristin Hannah

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 Kristin Hannah
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-5060-6


ONE
April 9, 1995
The Oregon Coast

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. Today’s
young people want to know everything about everyone. They think talking
about a problem will solve it. I come from a quieter generation. We
understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention.
Lately, though, I find myself thinking about the war and my past, about
the people I lost.
Lost.
It makes it sound as if I misplaced my loved ones; perhaps I left them
where they don’t belong and then turned away, too confused to retrace
my steps.
They are not lost. Nor are they in a better place. They are gone. As I
approach the end of my years, I know that grief, like regret, settles into
our DNA and remains forever a part of us.
I have aged in the months since my husband’s death and my diagnosis.
My skin has the crinkled appearance of wax paper that someone has tried
to flatten and reuse. My eyes fail me often— in the darkness, when headlights
flash, when rain falls. It is unnerving, this new unreliability in my
vision. Perhaps that’s why I find myself looking backward. The past has a
clarity I can no longer see in the present.
I want to imagine there will be peace when I am gone, that I will see all
of the people I have loved and lost. At least that I will be forgiven.
I know better, though, don’t I?

My house, named The Peaks by the lumber baron who built it over a hundred
years ago, is for sale, and I am preparing to move because my son
thinks I should.
He is trying to take care of me, to show how much he loves me in this
most difficult of times, and so I put up with his controlling ways. What do
I care where I die? That is the point, really. It no longer matters where I
live. I am boxing up the Oregon beachside life I settled into nearly fifty
years ago. There is not much I want to take with me. But there is one
thing.
I reach for the hanging handle that controls the attic steps. The stairs
unfold from the ceiling like a gentleman extending his hand.
The flimsy stairs wobble beneath my feet as I climb into the attic, which
smells of must and mold. A single, hanging lightbulb swings overhead. I pull
the cord.
It is like being in the hold of an old steamship. Wide wooden planks
panel the walls; cobwebs turn the creases silver and hang in skeins from
the indentation between the planks. The ceiling is so steeply pitched that
I can stand upright only in the center of the room.
I see the rocking chair I used when my grandchildren were young, then
an old crib and a ratty- looking rocking horse set on rusty springs, and the
chair my daughter was refinishing when she got sick. Boxes are tucked
along the wall, marked “Xmas,” “Thanksgiving,” “Easter,” “Halloween,”
“Serveware,” “Sports.” In those boxes are the things I don’t use much anymore
but can’t bear to part with. For me, admitting that I won’t decorate a
tree for Christmas is giving up, and I’ve never been good at letting go.
Tucked in the corner is what I am looking for: an ancient steamer trunk
covered in travel stickers.
With effort, I drag the heavy trunk to the center of the attic, directly
beneath the hanging light. I kneel beside it, but the pain in my knees is
piercing, so I slide onto my backside.
For the first time in thirty years, I lift the trunk’s lid. The top tray is full
of baby memorabilia. Tiny shoes, ceramic hand molds, crayon drawings
populated by stick figures and smiling suns, report cards, dance recital
pictures.
I lift the tray from the trunk and set it aside.
The mementos in the bottom of the trunk are in a messy pile: several
faded leather- bound journals; a packet of aged postcards, tied together
with a blue satin ribbon; a cardboard box, bent in one corner; a set of slim
books of poetry by Julien Rossignol; and a shoebox that holds hundreds of
black- and- white photographs.
On top is a yellowed, faded piece of paper.
My hands are shaking as I pick it up. It is a carte d’identité, an identity
card, from the war. I see the small, passport- sized photo of a young
woman. Juliette Gervaise.
“Mom?”
I hear my son on the creaking wooden steps, footsteps that match my
heartbeats. Has he called out to me before?
“Mom? You shouldn’t be up here. Shit. The steps are unsteady.” He
comes to stand beside me. “One fall and—”
I touch his pant leg, shake my head softly. I can’t look up. “Don’t” is all
I can say.
He kneels, then sits. I can smell his aftershave, something subtle and
spicy, and also a hint of smoke. He has sneaked a cigarette outside, a habit
he gave up de cades ago and took up again at my recent diagnosis. There
is no reason to voice my disapproval: He is a doctor. He knows better.
My instinct is to toss the card into the trunk and slam the lid down,
hiding it again. It’s what I have done all my life.
Now I am dying. Not quickly, perhaps, but not slowly, either, and I feel
compelled to look back on my life.
“Mom, you’re crying.”
“Am I?”
I want to tell him the truth, but I can’t. It embarrasses and shames me,
this failure. At my age, I should not be afraid of anything— certainly not
my own past.
I say only, “I want to take this trunk.”
“It’s too big. I’ll repack the things you want into a smaller box.”
I smile at his attempt to control me. “I love you and I am sick again. For
these reasons, I have let you push me around, but I am not dead yet. I want
this trunk with me.”
“What can you possibly need in it? It’s just our artwork and other junk.”
If I had told him the truth long ago, or had danced and drunk and sung
more, maybe he would have seen me instead of a dependable, ordinary
mother. He loves a version of me that is incomplete. I always thought it was
what I wanted: to be loved and admired. Now I think perhaps I’d like to be
known.
“Think of this as my last request.”
I can see that he wants to tell me not to talk that way, but he’s afraid his
voice will catch. He clears his throat. “You’ve beaten it twice before. You’ll
beat it again.”
We both know this isn’t true. I am unsteady and weak. I can neither
sleep nor eat without the help of medical science. “Of course I will.”
“I just want to keep you safe.”
I smile. Americans can be so naïve.
Once I shared his optimism. I thought the world was safe. But that was
a long time ago.
“Who is Juliette Gervaise?” Julien says and it shocks me a little to hear
that name from him.
I close my eyes and in the darkness that smells of mildew and bygone
lives, my mind casts back, a line thrown across years and continents.
Against my will— or maybe in tandem with it, who knows anymore?— I
remember.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Copyright © 2015 Kristin Hannah. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

KRISTIN HANNAH is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels. A former lawyer turned writer, she is the mother of one son and live with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.
Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of novels including Night Road, Firefly Lane, True Colors and Winter Garden. She was born in Southern California and moved to Western Washington when she was eight. A former lawyer, Hannah started writing when she was pregnant and on bed rest for five months. Writing soon became an obsession, and she has been at it ever since. She is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.

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The Nightingale 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 692 reviews.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
Very rarely do I read a book in one day.    The Nightingale is a book that I could not put down.   The setting is one of my favorites, WW II and France.  I cried at points of this book, I was in awe of Viann and Isabelle’s strength, and I loved the way the children in this story were able to be so strong.   This is the story of Viann and Isabelle and how they managed to live through the horror of Nazi occupation.   I cannot even begin to understand all of what they had to do and how they had to live but I certainly can understand why they did what they did during this time. Viann, being a mother and wife, was the character I could relate most too but I wanted to think that if I was in France during the occupation I could be as strong as Isabelle.     Viann did everything she could to keep her daughter safe and healthy during a time when it was not easy.   I was in awe of what she gave up to do this.   She put her own beliefs aside and did what the Nazi’s said just to keep them in their own house and to allow them to stay together.     Isabelle, being a single woman, stepped out of the normal woman’s role and stepped into a much more dangerous role while helping those who were fighting against the Nazi’s.   Isabelle was amazing.   A woman in the 40’s did not usually work outside the home, did not fight wars, and certainly did not save downed pilots.   Kristin Hannah is one of my all time favorite authors.    She is an author that I know will always tug at my heart strings and keep me entertained.   When I see a book by Kristin I know that it is a must read.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is one everyone should read. Knowing this book is labeled as a work of fiction didn't fool my heart or head. The pain and emotion of the women in this book is real. I haven't cried while reading a book in a long time but my teardrops would often fall silently while reading this one. I didn't want the book to end! Definitely in my top 5 books of all times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. It is a must read. Brought tears to my eyes at times. Excellent.
SavannahJH More than 1 year ago
I could not stop reading this book.  What an insightful story about two sisters in WWII France One sees how the war affected those on the home-front in rural France and gives the reader some understanding why the citizenry acted as they did to the German occupation.  I admire all those who participated in the Resistance.  This book will give you reason to admire them too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books ever read.
aprilgirlmj More than 1 year ago
Difficult to put down.  Makes you wonder what you might do under their circumstance.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wonderful story and characters, great history, and an ending to beat all endings. a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Kristin Hannah's books and this is one of the best.
luckyduck61 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Could not put it down. I think it is my favorite Kristin Hannah book yet!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A hauntingly beautiful novel of WWII France and the brave men and women in the Resistance. The unglossed truth of the evil perpetrated against the French by the Nazis was revealed. I knew about it, but did not realize the depth of the depravity that went on day and night for YEARS. It is also a love story and the enduring love of family and the sacrifices that were made for GOOD. The great cost of their bravery was laid out for all to appreciate. Inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was really good,Iliked it:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have read. Very emotional..have the kleenex ready. The story is so powerful and moving, I could not put the book down and was sorry to see it end. This author knows what she's doing. She captivated me from the beginning right to the end. I highly recommend this book.
NoPageUnturned More than 1 year ago
There seems to be no end to the inventiveness of WW II German high command when attempting to degrade and crush the citizens of the countries they overran. Nor does there seem to be a lack of courage on the part of those who suffer at their hands. Even choosing the path of least resistance sometimes becomes heroic. This is the story of two sisters who each defy the Germans in their own ways and dictated by their own circumstances. One a passive farm wife, one an angry young rebel. Intriguingly, the story starts in the present day and we are not sure until the very end which sister is the narrator of the story. Written as fiction there is at least a little romance and kindess to offset the daily horror of survival and the brutality which has become to be expected of stories in this genre. Not the saddest or most haunting of stories of this time and thankfully not the most graphic, it is still an engaging read and you really want to know who the narrator turns out to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a terrific book that I could not put down.  It shows the effects of war from an entirely different viewpoint, Two French sisters chose very different  ways to survive Nazi occupation.  The degradation,horrors, brutality, deprivation they experienced,brought tears to my eyes.  Yet, they each found a way to fight back, knowing they would probably die.  Hannah has done her research well.  One of the best reads I have had in a long time., 
Ms_Darcy More than 1 year ago
Loved, loved, loved. Beautifully written, wonderfully researched...I cannot recommend this book enough. The story feels so very real, it's hard to remember that it isn't a memoir. Read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cannot remember the last time I read a book that I could NOT put down like this!  The story was absolutely incredible and heartbreaking.  I was so sad when the story ended.  Do yourself a favor and READ THIS!! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most incredible books I have read in a long time. A tear-jerking historical novel of tragedy, love, survival and the will to find love despite all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read. Rarely do you hear about how the women in Europe survived WW2, and this story made you feel like you were right there during those cold winters in France...taken over by Nazi's. Very enlightening and fantastically written... I cried like a baby.. dont forget the tissue box while reading this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While reading I felt as though I were present. I
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although sad, this was a great book. It was hard to put down.
SuZQ41 More than 1 year ago
This book will resonate with me for a long time. I had never really thought about the French side of WW2 and how much they suffered. This tells the story of 2 very different sisters and how they coped. I defy anyone to read the last 50 pages of this book and not go through a box of Kleenex. It has stayed on my mind since I finished it.
Mel07 More than 1 year ago
This is one of Kristen Hannah's best novels.  As usual with her writing, her characters really brought the story of the French Resistance to life. It is heartbreaking and so entertaining.   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a page turner! Will leave me haunted yet proud i read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Riveting & beautifully written
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe all the 4 and 5 star reviews. I bought this book because of the reviews, but I will not waste any more of my time on it. I have read many war time novels. This one disappoints.