Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is the story of two sisters, separated by years and responsibility, as they navigate through the German occupation of France and the steps they took to honor their long held beliefs and morals. One sister, Vianne, is a mother and a wife to a prisoner of war. She is best friends to her Jewish neighbor, and she tries to make decisions that honor that friendship. She loses her job as a teacher and faces depredation as the Germans take all the food that the French can provide. She is fighting for the life of her daughter and the young boy that she shelters from the Nazis. Her impulsive sister fights for a place in her family as she has been shunted off the boarding schools for years and has little in common with Vianne. She decides to fight for the Resistance and guide downed airmen over the French Pyrenees to Spain and back to Britain. She is young and in love and fighting with all abandon to help free France from the occupation of the Germans. The story is told from the women's point of view and the struggles they had during the occupation, and the lack of men in their country. Young men were rounded up and sent to Germans work concentration camps, and no one was sure of the future. It is a good story, based in part on actual documentation of a French woman's fight to save the downed airmen who ended up in France and fleeing from the Nazis by guiding them over the French Pyrenees, a mountain range between Spain and France. The plot and the characterizations are the driving force behind the novel. The bravery of the women tell the real story.