The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

83%

49 Critic Reviews

The author ably depicts war’s horrors through the eyes of these two women, whose strength of character shines through no matter their differences.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

#1 New York Times bestseller

Named a best book of the year by: Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, self.com, The Wall Street Journal, The Week

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

 

About Kristin Hannah

See more books from this Author
Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed novels, including Fly Away, Firefly Lane, Winter Garden, Magic Hour, Comfort & Joy, The Things We Do for Love, Between Sisters, Angel Falls, Waiting for the Moon, When Lightning Strikes, If You Believe, Once in Every Life, The Enchantment, and A Handful of Heaven.
 
Published February 3, 2015 by St. Martin's Press. 593 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, War, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Dec 20 2015
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for The Nightingale
All: 49 | Positive: 42 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Above average
on Nov 20 2014

Hannah’s proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale. Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Nov 28 2014

The author ably depicts war’s horrors through the eyes of these two women, whose strength of character shines through no matter their differences.

Read Full Review of The Nightingale | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Nov 28 2014

The author ably depicts war’s horrors through the eyes of these two women, whose strength of character shines through no matter their differences.

Read Full Review of The Nightingale | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Hannah Lapin on Jan 22 2016

It is a stark reminder that no one remains unscathed when their country is at war and heroes come from the most surprising places. It is an absolute must read; just be sure to have some tissues handy.

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RT Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Kathe Robin on Feb 24 2015

Hannah crafts a compelling WWII novel that will grab readers, drawing them into the story of two sisters whose lives, beliefs and world are torn apart by war...Hannah’s portrayal of the horrors of Nazi occupation and each woman’s decisions will have readers on the edge of their seats.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Kristine Huntley on Dec 15 2014

Hannah’s latest is a page-turner that will no doubt have readers reaching for tissues. This moving, emotional tribute to the brave women who fought behind enemy lines during the war is bound to gain the already immensely popular Hannah an even wider audience.

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USA Today

Good
Reviewed by Patty Rhule on Feb 08 2015

The Nightingale is a heart-pounding story, based on a real Belgian woman who did what Isabelle did. Hannah's book is most searing as the horrors of war ratchet upward...

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Bestsellersworld

Good
Reviewed by Teri Davis on Jul 14 2016

The Nightingale excels with an unusual setting immersing the readers into France during the year 1939. You honestly feel as if you are transported to both time and place through this masterful storyteller, Kristin Hannah.

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Chicago Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Karen McBride on Feb 05 2015

It might be fiction, but it's historical fiction, based thoroughly on fact and human experience, and that undoubtedly makes these women and their stories spring off the page and into life...Someday, today's news will be someone else's historical fiction, just as heart-wrenching and compelling as The Nightingale.

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BlogHer

Good
Reviewed by penpaperparenthood14 on Feb 27 2015

As I sat with the book in my hands, not ready to say goodbye, I wanted to reread it. But the emotions were still fresh and I wasn’t strong enough to revisit something so tender and profound. Not yet. Kristin Hannah shared this story with the world – with me – and I am forever grateful.

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Booklist Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Kristine Huntley on Jun 14 2016

This moving, emotional tribute to the brave women who fought behind enemy lines during the war is bound to gain the already immensely popular Hannah an even wider audience.

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Bookin With Sunny.

Good
Reviewed by Ann Ronald on Aug 23 2015

It is difficult to put the emotional impact of The Nightingale into words. Not only are the wartime themes portrayed with increasing intensity, but the family dynamics are stunning, too.

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New Zealand Woman's Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Kerre McIvor on Mar 20 2015

This is a beautiful novel – I read it in one sitting and was in tears by the end. It may be a novel, but there are so many ordinary women who show extraordinary character when they are tested...

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Fresh Fiction

Good
Reviewed by Susan Dyer on Feb 07 2015

THE NIGHTINGALE will stay with you for a long time after you finish reading it. I have no idea when I will be able to read another book, but right now I can't stop thinking about this one...Kristin Hannah has a magical way of telling dramatic stories about women, friendship and family.

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Luxury Reading

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin on May 22 2015

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or feels compelled by works of justice.

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That's What She Read

Good
Reviewed by Michelle on Mar 24 2015

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is a spectacular piece of historical fiction. Not only does she explore an often-ignored aspect of World War II, she does so by using characters that are deeply flawed but for whom readers soon become highly empathetic.

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Lesa's Book Critiques

Good
Reviewed by Lesa on Mar 14 2016

Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale isn't a woman's novel. It's a beautifully detailed novel about the women who fought in their own way, survived, and didn't leave behind a record of their courage. It's an impressive novel that should be read. Once read, it won't easily be forgotten.

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Lesa's Book Critiques

Good
Reviewed by Lesa on Feb 08 2015

It's a beautifully detailed novel about the women who fought in their own way, survived, and didn't leave behind a record of their courage. It's an impressive novel that should be read. Once read, it won't easily be forgotten.

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Men Reading Books

Above average
Reviewed by West Coast Don on Dec 25 2015

I nearly put this one down at about the 30% mark because the action was developing slowly and I have an aversion to holocaust books. But, this not just a holocaust book. And my daughter who recommended it, said she fought her way through the first third before she became captivated by it. The decision to stay with it was well worth the effort.

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Always With A Book

Good
Reviewed by Kristin on Dec 31 2015

This is the type of book that stays with you long after you finish reading or listening to it. The characters and the story line are just so vivid that you can't stop thinking about them.

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Maryse's Book Blog

Excellent
Reviewed by Maryse on Apr 16 2015

It is worth the tragic and dark journey because the unforgettable message of love, courage and the will to live, shines through. It will absolutely uplift you and inspire you.

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Literate Housewife

Below average
Reviewed by Jennifer on Sep 21 2015

The beginning felt very much like other such novels and I almost DNFd it. However, once it dove into the French resistance fully, I couldn’t stop listening.

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Confessions of a Book Addict

Excellent
Reviewed by Christina on Mar 02 2015

If you like historical reads that will leave you shaken to the core, then I highly recommend The Nightingale. I can't say enough things about this book. And it isn't all doom and gloom. The Nightingale leaves us with immense hope and reminded me of what Anne Frank said, "Despite everything, I believe people are really good at heart."

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Annette's Book Spot

Excellent
Reviewed by Annette on Jan 29 2015

I adored this poignant and chilling novel about two sisters in France during WWII, each fighting the war in their own way. Hannah has brought this time in history back to life in The Nightingale...The Nightingale is an adult book, but I would, as you can probably tell, recommend this book to anyone.

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http://blogs.slj.com

Above average
Reviewed by Angela Carstensen on Mar 02 2015

I was occasionally frustrated by a lack of detail (I wanted to know more about day-to-day life in France at this time) or because the author sometimes skips weeks or whole seasons from one chapter to the next. At the same time, both keep the action and the emotional arc of her characters moving forward at a good pace.

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Laura's Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Laura on May 11 2015

Overall, The Nightingale is not to be missed – you must read this book! I have read on Kristin Hannah’s Facebook posts that this is going to be turned into a movie and I can’t wait, it will be excellent.

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Just a Lil' Lost...

Excellent
Reviewed by Michelle on Apr 13 2015

I would 100% recommend this book to everyone. It is powerful and beautifully written. A new favourite and a definite five out of five stars.

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A Musing Reviews

Excellent
Reviewed by amusingreviews on Jan 29 2015

Hannah keeps true to her talents which is connecting the reader to her characters so completely that I forgot that there was other other conflict of the old woman deciding whether or not to go to the reunion...I was moved greatly by the sacrifices both women and the peripheral characters made.

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https://booksellersnz.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by Tiffany Matsis on Mar 02 2015

This is a beautiful and, at times, harrowing story about love and loss. It’s impossible to know just what sort of decisions we might make ourselves to save our families and our country. This is not a book to be read without a box of tissues at hand.

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No Charge Bookbunch

Above average
Reviewed by ROSEMARY WOLFE on Aug 30 2015

Hannah tempers the misery with some romance and adventure, and the story is compelling. Once started, I found it hard to stop, but the novel left me bereft, despite the somewhat happy ending.

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Reading World

Above average
Reviewed by Susan on Aug 21 2015

The novel starts off a bit slow, setting the stage for what’s to come. I felt it got a bit repetitive...However, once we get into the meat of the story, the pace really picks up and the conflicts become increasingly emotionally involving.

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Alison's Book Marks Blog

Good
Reviewed by Alison Skap on Jun 29 2015

I highly recommend The Nightingale to book clubs, Kristin Hannah fans, readers of WWII fiction, and literary readers alike. Hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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Bookpleasures.com

Good
Reviewed by June Maffin on Feb 03 2015

The Nightingale is a heartbreakingly, wonderfully edited, and beautiful novel written by an author who is attentive to detail, confident in her plot, sensitive to historical fact, skilled in the art of creating unexpected surprise after surprise...and brilliantly able to develop the characters in the story

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Novel Escapes

Excellent
Reviewed by Kathryn on Feb 27 2015

This is a wonderfully expressive novel and there are a multitude of different layers to uncover but the horror of the truth of WWII is there in earnest. If you are left unmoved by this story then I would be shocked and disappointed.

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https://mauriceonbooks.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by mauriceonbooks on Feb 02 2015

It’s been a long time since I’ve been as moved by a book as I am by THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah. I devoured it in two days...The intense, pristine attention to detail that Hannah uses makes this novel one of the best I’ve read about the war. Her story-telling is superb. Her sense of place reins tall.

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Literary Inklings

Good
Reviewed by Casee Marie on Feb 20 2015

The Nightingale is a very brave, heartfelt novel...The collective efforts – of the author, of the characters, who seem too lifelike to be fictitious, of the haunting memories that the atmosphere plants into the heart of the reader – is a true and admirable triumph of hope in an age of devastation.

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Books in the City

Good
Reviewed by Colleen on Mar 29 2015

This book captured my attention and had me hungrily reading for more - beyond the story of the sister's relationship, I was drawn into the hardship endured by those in the French countryside during the war.

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http://www.seattletimes.com

Good
Reviewed by Melinda Bargreen on Feb 22 2015

“The Nightingale” is framed as the reminiscence of one of the sisters...She is galvanized by an invitation to a reunion in France more than five decades after the main events of the novel. The conclusion brings the action full circle for a moving and meaningful resolution.

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http://www.apl.org

Good
Reviewed by Susie on Mar 26 2015

The author also uses her gifts of descriptive narrative to immerse readers directly into the raw emotion of the story. And while Vianne and Isabelle are front and center, the ugliness of war serves as the catalyst for unfortunate transgressions and ultimate redemptions.

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Roundtable Reviews

Above average
Reviewed by Tracy on Feb 01 2015

During The Nightingale, the identity of the older woman in the beginning of the story is never revealed. You may be able to guess, but with so many unexpected situations and so many twists, it's better to just go along for the ride...The narrative does a great job at creating the setting, the characters, and the brutality of the war.

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Tina Says...

Excellent
Reviewed by Tina on Jan 27 2015

I have read everything written by Hannah...no matter how much I have thought about this book after I finished reading, I have known that there is no way that any review could do it justice. This is a must read, a novel that will stay with you.

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https://heatherlo.wordpress.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Heather on Feb 10 2015

In this case, I was entranced by Vianne and Isabelle and the incredible story Hannah told through these characters. This is a book about love, hope, resiliency in the face of devastating circumstances, about powerful women and about survival against all odds. This novel pulled so many emotions from me and I couldn’t put it down...

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Lit Witch

Good
Reviewed by The Lit Witch on Feb 17 2016

An excellent work of historical fiction that is perhaps geared more toward the female reader, but proves to be a worthy tale for all fans of the genre.

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https://drbethnolan.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by DRBETHNOLAN on Jan 31 2015

THE NIGHTINGALE is a story of two French sisters during WWII. Each sister does whatever she can to survive, and their story is both riveting and heart-breaking. I could not put this book down...One thing I loved about this book is that these characters were so multi-layered.

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The Maiden's Court

Excellent
Reviewed by Heather on Jul 29 2015

I LOVED this story and would highly recommend it to anyone who likes WWII novels, novels on the home front, or a really good historical novel in general.

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RabbitReader

Below average
Reviewed by Chiron on Sep 19 2015

While exciting in spots, something about the writing seemed a bit off in places...I also encountered a few phrases my creative writing class might recognize as clichés. But despite all the minor drawbacks, it is an exciting story with lots of twists and turns.

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As I Turn the Pages

Good
Reviewed by Jael Fogle on Aug 23 2015

It's well-researched. The book shows that Isabelle is more than just a wayward, fly-by-the-moment woman. She has a good heart. Viann is stronger than she realizes. She does whatever it takes to hold her family together. It's a story of love and family and the ties that hold us together. Definitely a book worth reading!

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Book Babe

Above average
Reviewed by Tara on Feb 27 2015

...it was emotional. At times I felt anger, fear, disgust, sadness. The story evoked a lot of different emotions from me and I appreciate that. It takes a fine, skilled writer to create such a roller coaster of feelings.

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https://www.bookbrowse.com

Excellent
on Feb 28 2015

Kristin Hannah has reached a new level with this strong and enduring cast of characters and themes. I would challenge anyone to read The Nightingale and not feel deeply moved by its message. I felt proud of these women, struggling to survive in times of war...

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Reader Rating for The Nightingale
93%

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