Review: The Nightingale
In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.
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 France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.
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 the compelling and mysterious 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. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real--and deadly--consequences.
“Some stories don’t have happy endings. Even love stories. Maybe especially love stories.”
Ugh. Heartbreaking. That pretty much sums up the entire book. I'm an emotional wreck.
The Nightingale provides a horrifying and chilling recollection of WWII from start to finish; from the German invasion in France with the air raids to the takeover of the country, rationing of food, billeted Nazi soldiers, concentration camps and finally, victory.
I was immediately invested in the lives of Vianne and Isabelle and knew that I was in for a serious emotional journey. I prepared myself as best as I thought I could, but it really wasn't enough. Personally, I'm not a fan of war genre fiction but I was eager to read this since it has been on my TBR list for ages. To read about the daily struggle to just live without being mentally destroyed. All that the had to endure. Yes, it's fiction. I'm sure a lot of things were exaggerated or not 100% accurate but the overall story was real and that's the what's really tore my heart in pieces.
Such a beautiful and sad, sad story.