Review 1379: The Nightingale

I wasn’t impressed by the only other Kristin Hannah novel I read, but my brother recommended The Nightingale so strongly that I decided to give her another chance. I know I’m probably in the minority.

The novel begins with an old lady living in Oregon in 1995 who is moving into a retirement home and is sorting through old papers with her son. Her son finds the identity papers of Juliette Gervaise, a person he’s never heard of. This launches most of the rest of the novel, set in France during World War II.

The two Rossignol sisters are very different women. Vianne is a mother, wife, and schoolteacher. When the Nazis arrive in the village, she is careful to follow orders and try to stay out of trouble. Isabella, however, is a rebellious teenager who runs away from school and immediately begins distributing fliers for the Resistance.

As Vianne fights to survive and protect her daughter, Sophie, she eventually finds that she can’t always follow the rules. In the meantime, Isabella’s involvement with the Resistance becomes more dangerous. Obviously, one of hooks of the novel is to find out which sister becomes the little old lady in Oregon.

It took quite a while, but I did become involved in this novel. It’s an interesting story, based on a real one. I still, however, consider the writing mediocre and trite and the characterization flat except for a few characters. I found the novel affecting, though.

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4 thoughts on “Review 1379: The Nightingale

  1. Silvia August 1, 2019 / 3:19 pm

    That’s very much my experience. At the time I listened to it, it felt a good book. After some time, we discussed it at bookclub and I realized how it wasn’t that great, mediocre, full of tropes, pulled the emotional card. Not great literature.
    Personally, I am staying away from modern fiction on WWII.

    • whatmeread August 1, 2019 / 6:21 pm

      I’ve read some good things about that period, but there do seem to be a lot of books about it now.

  2. Davida Chazan August 24, 2019 / 11:23 am

    I’ve never read any of her novels, but I did read a few excerpts and I have to agree, I’m not overly impressed with her writing style.

    • whatmeread August 24, 2019 / 12:50 pm

      The only other book by her that I read was The Winter Garden. Same same, except a too easy resolution to problems in addition to the other carps.

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