BOOK REVIEW

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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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”

-The Nightingale

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.

 

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BOOK REVIEW

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

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Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, a devastatingly beautiful piece of art, which destroys the reader in the best possible way.

This is a story of a young girl fighting a battle of survival for her and her brother in middle of a war that this bigger than her and beyond her understanding. This story takes us back to the war that destroyed worlds and lives of millions, later narrowing down the entire universe to that of a young girl and her journey through the cruelty of a war that robbed her of her family and childhood.

Sarah’s key is the kind of the book that leaves you aching and empty long after you finish reading it. It made me cry and it made me cringe and most importantly, it made me realize what a war with that capacity, a war fought for the desire of a few men can do to the lives unaccounted for and the voices oppressed and left unheard.

“The girl wondered: These policemen… didn’t they have families, too? Didn’t they have children? Children they went home to? How could they treat children this way? Were they told to do so, or did they act this way naturally? Were they in fact machines, not human beings? She looked closely at them. They seemed of flesh and bone. They were men. She couldn’t understand.”
– Sarah’s key

The words that brought the entire world crumbling around; the moment, this little girl lost her faith in the world around her, but never lost the faith in herself to get back to the only family she had left.

The author, by writing the story of this one young Jew girl, made her pain and suffering come to life, throbbing and thundering down on our senses and made that sufferings immortal for generations of readers to endure and remember.