Review: The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you’re read any of Kristin Hannah’s books, you know to expect something heart-wrenching that produces waterworks. But beyond just being emotional, her works are deep looks at the world around us during varying eras of human history.

The Nightingale follows sisters Vianne and Isabelle Rossignol and their activities throughout the Second World War. To avoid spoilers, I won’t say much more.

This book closely examines the bonds of sisterhood and family and what it means to stay silent in the face of oppression. It’s also about courage and how it finds each of us in different ways. Not everyone can cross the Pyrenees Mountains with downed airmen in tow to get them to safety, but we can all do what we can to make it through the most difficult times, lifting up one another and looking out for one another.

Both of the other of Kristin Hannah’s books that I’ve read (The Four Winds and The Great Alone) were also five-star reads. I’m starting to think she may be my favorite contemporary novelist. I don’t know about her earlier works that are softer and more romantic, but I would absolutely recommend any of the three I’ve read to anyone interested in exploring the world of historical fiction.

World War II is a really popular topic in historical fiction, and after reading the gem that was All the Light We Cannot See I wasn’t sure if another WWII-era novel would be able to live up to the bar it set. I’m happy to say it did. Both are thought-provoking and feature strongly written and felt characters. Both tell important stories of redemption. Both tell about the collateral damage of war.

If you are like me and have had The Nightingale sitting on your TBR shelf for far too long, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It may seem like a long book from the outside, but once you’re in it, the story goes by quickly.

Dates read: February 2-3, 2022

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