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Book Review: The Nightingale

Its a poignant reminder that, sometimes, all we can do is survive.


Book Review: The Nightingale

My introduction to Kristin Hannah was through The Nightingale. A powerful and deeply moving story of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, in World War II France. Having never read anything produced by the author before, I didn't know what to expect but the book's blurb didn't thrill me. Despite this, I found myself captivated by the story almost immediately, and far more than I thought I would be.

The story follows the sisters as France becomes occupied and shows them handling it differently. I enjoyed readings Isabelle's story far more than Vianne's. Its a book you can easily lose yourself in and regardless of which sister or which story you find yourself more engaged with, you'll come to feel the character's triumphant and the heaviness of their despair. Its a poignant reminder that, sometimes, all we can do is survive.

While I ultimately loved the book and would recommend it to all, I did find the seemingly random use of French words jarring. It felt like a forced reminder of where the story takes place and as a lazy reminder that these characters are French. This isn't my only criticism of the book but it was the flaw I felt most keenly. I also disliked some of the reactions secondary characters had to specific events as it didn't seem to fit with the character that had been described to that point.

But perhaps, given the circumstances the events took place in - a country at war and where no one could be trusted - their reactions speak to the times.