The Nightingale

The Nightingale

Book - 2015
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A #1 New York Times bestseller, Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year, and soon to be a major motion picture, this unforgettable novel of love and strength in the face of war has enthralled a generation.

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 World War II 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.

Goodreads Best Historical Novel of the Year * People's Choice Favorite Fiction Winner * #1 Indie Next Selection * A Buzzfeed and The Week Best Book of the Year

Praise for The Nightingale :

"Haunting, action-packed, and compelling. " --Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author

" Absolutely riveting! ...Read this book." --Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute

"Beautifully written and richly evocative. " --Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"A hauntingly rich WWII novel about courage, brutality, love, survival--and the essence of what makes us human." -- Family Circle

"A heart-pounding story." -- USA Today

"An enormous story. Richly satisfying. I loved it. " --Anne Rice

"A respectful and absorbing page-turner." -- Kirkus Reviews

" Tender, compelling ...a satisfying slice of life in Nazi-occupied France." --Jewish Book Council

"Expect to devour The Nightingale in as few sittings as possible; the high-stakes plot and lovable characters won't allow any rest until all of their fates are known." -- Shelf Awareness

"I loved The Nightingale ." --Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Powerful... an unforgettable portrait of love and war. " --People

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2015
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312577223
Characteristics: 440 p


From Library Staff

SPL_Brittany Dec 03, 2016

A full summary can be found in the Summary section. Review first published in the Stratford Gazette December 2016.

PEPLKendra Aug 30, 2016

I love stories about human resistance in times of evil, and this book was no exception! An absolute page-turner and one to buy for my own personal library!

From the critics

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Jul 11, 2020

Well that was a soul-crushingly sad book. Mind you, I couldn't wait for it to end. I felt like I put so much time and effort into reading it and was still let down by the ending. I think it will make a great movie, is it being adapted? I totally get why people adore this book but there was just something about it, it took me what felt like forever to read. To the point where I just forced myself to read the last 150 pages in one go. I EVEN READ THE LAST 2 PAGES to see if I even wanted to finish it.

Jul 07, 2020

Such a good book! Definitely one of my favorite WW2 stories ever. A combo of sad and hopeful. I just couldn't put it down. Would 100% recommend!

Jul 02, 2020

Highly recommend! Opens during a time of government upheaval, WWII France, and displays the disaster of consciously blind compromise with the untrustworthy; A mirror of todays' insanity.

Jun 27, 2020

I don’t love WWII fiction. But this book was cliché and kinda cheesy. It’s 500+ pages long because the author recycles the same scenes, dialogue, and descriptions several times, i.e. Isabelle being called and calling herself “impetuous” and the phrase “grabbed her arm so tightly to leave a bruise.” The format, subject matter, and narrative timeline reminded me of Hannah’s “Winter Garden,” which I also had similar issues with.

Jun 13, 2020

Really a page turner for me. Truly enjoyed the book!

Jun 03, 2020

Recommended from Sally

May 25, 2020


May 24, 2020

Books on WW2 Recommended by Cory, Tongue in Cheek:
All the Light You Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
Sarah's Keys, by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Lost Letters, by Jillian Cantor

May 09, 2020


Listening to this novel intrigued me & I could not stop listening,
A mixture of reality with the fiction of this horrible circumstance. The depth of characters was impressive. Loved the audio.....compulsively drawing interest. Good author. Enjoy...

Feb 27, 2020

Knowing that The Nightingale was an unconcealed tear-jerker within a WW2 setting had delayed my inevitable reading of this story. I was torn between wanting to devour it and ignoring it forever. As hard as the story was to read at times, I'm so happy that I did the former and once again trusted the flawless writing of this author.

Initially, I was curious of the disconnect between the two main characters for nearly the first half of the book. Vianne and Isabelle were sisters on completely different paths and I couldn't envision how the author would bridge their separate stories for a satisfying conclusion. I can't say that I was worried, but I think it made that first 50% a slower read as it built up to the second half. Even with the slower pacing, I was invested in the fictional accounts wrapped within the historical facts of the impending invasion of France through two sets of eyes and their diverging roles.

The second half was an emotional tsunami of the atrocities that followed, as well as the tough and brave choices made by Vianne and Isabelle. The feelings of anger and disgust towards certain events and characters were unavoidable, but the author did an amazing job evoking sympathy for even the unlikeliest of characters. I still feel uncertain about some of my mixed emotions. This book highlighted what a person has to move on from after being subjected to the inhumanities of war. Although heartbreaking at times, the story was beautiful and powerful. This next quote was quite poignant for me and speaks to the heart of the story and the women it represented. When one of the main characters was asked by someone close to them, why they had never shared their personal experiences during the war, this was their response:

"Men tell stories... Women Get on with it...There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over."

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Add a Quote
May 23, 2019

“Ask for help when you need it, and give help when you can.”
― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

May 23, 2019

“I had forgotten how gently time passes in Paris. As lively as the city is, there’s a stillness to it, a peace that lures you in. In Paris, with a glass of wine in your hand, you can just be.”
― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

May 23, 2019

“But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”
― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

Aug 07, 2018

“It’s better to be bold than meek...If you jump off a cliff at least you’ll fly before you fall.” - Isabelle to Sophie

Jun 25, 2018

"They couldn't touch my heart. They couldn't change who i was inside. My body... they broke that in the first days, but not my heart, V. Whatever he did it, it was to your body, and your body will heal." - Isabelle

ArapahoeChristine Apr 24, 2017

Wounds heal. Love lasts. We remain.

ArapahoeChristine Apr 22, 2017

She wouldn't have understood how dark a side of love could have, how hiding it was the kindest thing you could do sometimes.

M_ALCOTT Feb 20, 2015

"If you're going through hell, keep going."-Winston Churchill

M_ALCOTT Feb 20, 2015

"If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are."-Vianne

M_ALCOTT Feb 20, 2015

"Some stories don't have happy endings. Even love stories. Maybe especially love stories."-Micheline

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Aug 07, 2018

BudgiesNbooks thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 13, 2018

latwell1 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Jun 24, 2018

gac thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Mar 24, 2018

julsolmo thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

ArapahoeChristine Apr 24, 2017

ArapahoeChristine thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Aug 31, 2015

Nvfera thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary
SPL_Brittany Dec 12, 2016

“In love we find out who we want to be… in war we find out who we are”.

France 1939, Vianne Mauriac lives in the French countryside village of Carriveau with her husband Antoine and their young daughter Sophie. When war breaks out, Antoine is called away to the front leaving Vianne and Sophie alone and vulnerable. When a German Nazi captain billets at their house, Vianne and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money, danger escalates all around them, and she is forced to make one impossible decision after another.

Passionate, impulsive and rash, Isabelle is kicked out of yet another boarding school and flees to Paris to live with her father only to be told that she is to help Vianne in Carriveau. While Isabelle and Vianne struggle to mend their relationship, Isabelle struggles with desperately wanting to play a role in the French resistance yet knowing that in doing so puts Vianne and Sophie at risk. Throughout the war Vianne and Isabelle find their bond as well as their respective beliefs tested by a war that changes their world in horrific ways, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, love and freedom in Nazi occupied war-torn France.

Kristin Hannah writes a sweeping and captivating tale of France during the Second World War shifting between the perspectives of Vianne and Isabelle. It is a novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, and focuses on the role women played during the war. It is a novel that tests the bonds of love, family and friendship. Hannah slowly weaves her magic and by the end of the novel your emotions will be engaged and you will be captivated by her storytelling. This is a novel that will stay with you for a long after you have read it.

Jul 11, 2016

The Nightingale portrays a realistic look at German occupied France during WWII. The novel focuses on two sisters who face enormous obstacles as they live their lives as French women. One must think first of her family, provide food and shelter for them, and attempt to protect them from the savage effects of war. The other thinks first of her country, seeks to fight in any way possible, including helping downed airmen to flee France to safety. Through it all, both women become stronger through their actions and in-actions and find an appreciation/love for one another that has been missing since their youth.


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ArapahoeChristine Apr 24, 2017

Sexual Content: Rape scene

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