Wednesday, June 01, 2016
First Wednesday Book Review Club: THE NIGHTINGALE, Kristin Hannah
THE NIGHTINGALE takes place during World War 2 in France. It's the story of two sisters who spend little of the novel together, but nonetheless are called upon in ways peculiar to their personality to help in France's resistance to the Nazi occupation. Hannah does a great job of making the pages turn. The sisters are very different and separated by age, personality and place. Isabelle, the younger and more rebellious, immediately finds her way into to the resistance movement. Viane, a mother and wife, takes years to come to a belief that she must do something too.
The contrast between them was well done and well explained. The setting is excellent. The cast of characters is very satisfying.
If I were to find a flaw or two with the novel, small though they may be, it is that the sisters, both having had difficult childhoods, are a bit too noble, a bit too self-sacrificing, a bit too able to undertake successfully their difficult tasks. They seldom feel sorry for themselves.
Secondly, I felt we retread the same ground a bit too much. Two Nazis live with Viane for instance. One would have been enough.
However, these are small flaws in what is a very fine novel and well worth your time. By chance I took this book with me to Berlin and Poland and my trip to Auschwitz was made more real and more horrifying by the story I was reading.
For more reviews, see Barrie Summy.