Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Published in 2015, The Nightingale is a book I heard a lot of buzz about before I finally got the chance to read it. I was on the digital library’s waiting list for a long time (months and months and months) and then surprisingly, was unable to finish the book before it was taken away from me. So, I borrowed the hardcover version from my local library and still had to renew it once. Don’t let my slow reading deter you though. The book is well worth diving into if at least not just to see what all the hype is about.
The Nightingale is told through two completely different sisters’ points of view. The one is married with a child and content with her life. The other is free-spirited and craves her father’s love. Throughout World War II they both have different trials and dangerous situations to face. Part of the reason why I took so long to read the novel is that the first half of the book moves kind of slowly. There is plenty going on, but I didn’t feel that pull to go on to the next chapter until later on in the book. I didn’t take a lot of notes as I read but I did take one quote from each of the girls’ perspectives that explained a lot about the war in a few words. From the older sister, wife, and mother, Vianne: “Getting out of bed was not appealing, but neither was starving to death” (221). And from the younger, fearless sister, Isabel: “They were at war. Time was the one luxury no one had anymore” (316).
The story includes another perspective set in present time– 1995. The story is actually being remembered by an older lady who has been invited to an event and is grappling with her history and the idea of attending the event. Although you don’t get much from the older version of her throughout the novel, her character comes out enough from when she was younger.
The Nightingale has left me conflicted. I took a while to write this review because I honestly cannot say if I loved the book. I rated it highly on Goodreads but after thinking about it longer I would probably decrease it by a star. I did feel connected to the characters and felt sadness, stress, and relief with them. Even though I tended to not make The Nightingale sound too great, I do suggest reading Hannah’s novel if you enjoy World War II stories.