The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a story that takes place in France during WW2, about two sisters who became one of those lost in time and record war heroes: one by choice and one with no choice left.
We have read about stories where families estranged and ripped apart by the war that consumed the entire world, but this is the story about a family that was brought together by this war. A daughter finding the love she longs from her father and sister after the death of her mother and an elder sister who understands that her baby sister is more than just a stubborn rebel. Separated by
The other different thing about this story is, this is not the story of a war hero, not in a conventional way. It is a story of survivors of the ugliness of the war that wasn’t fought with guns or grenades but with fierce will and paid for with innocence.
The story starts with Vianne and Isabelle losing their mother to death and their father to the grief at the same time and longs for a love that validates and comforts the abandonment that they received from their father. While Vianne finds love with Antoine and companionship with Rachael, Isabelle is left to fend for herself in one boarding school after the other that her father shoves her to. This longing turns into a fire that makes her do the impossible in the war that ignored and overlooked her, which turned out to be to her advantage for the first time in her life.
The sisters just like they had their own way of coping with life, they also had their own way of saving people. While one saved the ones who can neither understand the war or save themselves, the other saved those who fought the war in the fronts.
It had pain, it had loss, it had struggle of two women who fought their own battles that has nothing to do with the war that rages outside their windows. They were forced to keep secrets that were bigger than themselves, fight their enemies with pure will of character and at stand tall at the other side of the war.
“Don’t think about who they are Think about who you are and what sacrifices you can live with and what will break you”
This is a great example of the battle they were fighting and sacrifices they were making everyday to survive for the family that they need to protect.
The only downside I personally felt about this is the reunion of Vianne and Antoine. For all the waiting Vianne did and all the emotions she held up for Antoine to come back, the emotions where not strong enough to feel the relief or the fear she feels when he comes back.
Other than that, it has everything that a WW2 story is to have and some more.