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

Community Activity


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Aug 04, 2020

In war-torn France during WWII, two sisters with a troubled past face the consequences of living in the German-occupied country. Vianne, the eldest of the two, finds herself in an inescapable situation of danger and fear when a Nazi officer demands she allow him to lodge in her home. Soon every move of her and her daughter are being carefully watched and held against them. What makes the circumstance even dire is when Vianne’s eighteen-year-old sister, Isabelle, comes to stay. Isabelle, who believes that the Germans have no right to invade her country and take the lives of so many, joins the resistance. This book highlights the power of love and trust in such a dark period of time, as the sisters and their beliefs clash with every bit of added peril to their lives.
This book was very interesting, and while the middle section of the story sometimes felt a little slow, it still captured my attention. The ending was exciting and very emotional and did a very good job of showing the devastating results of post-war. It was fascinating to read about such opposing beliefs between Isabelle and Vianne, and since Isabelle couldn’t understand her sister’s hesitance to aid the resistance, they had to navigate their trust for each other as well. I recommend this book for ages 14 and older.

Aug 04, 2020

Such a wonderful novel! I highly recommend it! The ending was beautiful.

Jul 29, 2020

I love this book. Although it got a little slow in the middle, it picked back up quickly. I found this novel to be one of my all time favorites. I was sad when it was over only because I wanted to read more!

Jul 26, 2020

This was a well written book about WWII in France. One sister lives in Paris as an undercover agent who helps to sneak American and Canadian pilots out of France, the other sister stays in the country side where a German officer is billeted at her home while her husband is taken prisoner. The book is very detailed (not too graphic) but does seem to repeat itself a lot. However, this book does seem more realistic than other books about WWII women because it doesn’t make everything end with a fairy tale happy ending. It does have a bitter/ bittersweet ending. I heard that this will become a television show and there is certainly enough in this book to do that.

Jul 21, 2020

For being a fiction story is really reads as realistic fiction or historical fiction. I love how the story weaves back and forth between the sisters to share their struggles during the war.

Jul 15, 2020

My friend and I decided to do a book swap...this is the one she gave me. I can't say I loved it, but I do love a good cry. I would recommend it.

Jul 14, 2020

This book was a wonderful read. I spent hours reading it into the night because I couldn't put it down. I felt so much of what the characters were going through and I felt like I was living through them in World War II. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves WWII history/stories.

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.

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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

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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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