So you might be wondering why I went from one to five on the book challenge, but I had my book picked for this challenge come in to the library a bit earlier than I had expected, and was worried it might have to be returned sooner since it’s a little bit newer book. So I decided I’d just start skipping a bit and do some of the books out of order. Besides, the challenge said you could do that!
Anyhow, so my pick for a book published this year was The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It had decent ratings and looked interesting to me in terms of plot.
The story is about two sisters who live in Carriveau France during World War II. Vianne the older and more responsible one ends up having to allow a German soldier to billet at her house while her husband is taken as a prisoner of war. She struggles to support herself and her daughter as she deals with having the enemy at such close proximity. Isabelle has always been a rebel, and she decides to join in the fight with the French Resistance. The book alternates between their two stories as they struggle to figure out how to survive and fight in Nazi occupied France.
The story was riveting. I was drawn in quite early on and quickly became captivated by the suspense surrounding both women’s lives. I loved that the book held not one but two strong female protagonists, both very different, but at the same time both brave in their own ways. My sympathy was more with Vianne as I found her more similar to myself in terms of her cautious personality, but Isabelle was such an impressive character that I couldn’t help but love her as well.
My one complaint was that the writing seemed a bit lacking in a few sections. The biggest problem I noticed were sections where the writer tried to make metaphors that I just didn’t think really worked. But besides that, I thought the story was excellently crafted. Too often the stories of World War II focus on the soldiers or the concentration camps, but it was interesting to consider the lives of those left behind in the fighting, of the women and children left behind who witnessed the rounding up of the Jews in France and dealt with foreign soldiers invading their daily lives.
Anyhow, I strongly recommend this book. It had me in tears at the end, but at the same time not traumatized like some war stories. It caused some sorrow thinking of all those lost in the horrible destruction of war and genocide, but it also gave me a level of hope in knowing that even when there is evil in the world there is good that will rise up against it. A bit cheesy, I know, but I think hope is always important.
Well, on to my next books! I know at this point I’ll need to read more than one a week if I want to finish on time!
Other book challenge posts: