The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah sat on my desk for more than a week before I got around to tackling it. Honestly, the thickness of the book was slightly daunting. When I got around to reading it, I barely stopped.
Historical fiction is not a genre on my shelf, especially one based upon a true event. There is a reason I flunked my History test–there is too many names and events to keep track of and is just too heavy for my liking. That doesn’t mean I am not interested in history and hence, my curiosity was piqued by the story line.
This story follows the lives of two sisters changed by war. It is not a story wholly about the war but about believes of the sisters and how they fought their own war in their own way.
There were quite a number of characters in this story but only a few of them felt like they were tethered to it: Isabelle, Vianne and Julian sr. Isabelle with her courage made me wonder how she was still alive so many times I lost count.
The story has two different timelines, the past and the present. I would get lost in the past only to be yanked back into the present (sometimes I forgot there was a present). However, I think the transition between the two time lines was fairly well written. Although I did feel there were some inconsistencies between the present storyteller’s character and the character of the storyteller in the past.
Somehow in the ending, I felt like Vianne came out sounding like a bigger hero than Isabelle. I would rather not compare both their deeds, however, the tone of the ending seemed to give off such a feeling (or maybe that is just me).
I am not very analytical and picky when it comes to facts in fiction, because you know, fiction. If you are the detailed type then you might have trouble with some parts in the story.
Goodreads Insert: Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.
As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne 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.