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THE NIGHTINGALE Audio CD – Unabridged, 3 February 2015
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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 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 WWII 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.
Polly Stone delivers an impeccable narration that brings the sisters and wartime France to life with a distinctive and memorable set of voices that will keep listeners coming back for more. --Library Journal (Starred Review)
The audio version is outstandingly read by Polly Stone, whose versatility -- between men and women, Germans and French, adults and children -- leaves no doubt who is speaking throughout the book. --Fran Wood, NJ.com
"I loved Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. She has captured a particular slice of French life during World War II with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the two sisters and Hannah's exploration of what we do in moments of great challenge. Do we rise to the occasion or fail? Are we heroes or cowards? Are we loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? Hannah explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart." --Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestseller author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
"In this epic novel, set in France in World War II, two sisters who live in a small village find themselves estranged when they disagree about the imminent threat of occupation. Separated by principles and temperament, each must find her own way forward as she faces moral questions and life-or-death choices. Haunting, action-packed, and compelling." --Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
"I read The Nightingale in one sitting, completely transported to wartime France, completely forgetting where I was. A historical novel-built on Kristin Hannah's proven skill with story, complex and enduring family ties, and passion-one that will captivate readers." --Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness
"I found The Nightingale absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally inspiring story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also historically informative....Read this book. It will keep you guessing throughout about the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, both brave young women who did what they thought was the right thing to do in the most of difficult circumstances. They had--in the words of Lawrence Langer the WW2 historian scholar too often to make 'choiceless choices.'" --Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute
"A beautifully written and richly evocative examination of life, love, and the ravages of war, and the different ways people react to unthinkable situations-not to mention the terrible and mounting toll of keeping secrets. This powerhouse of a story is equally packed with action and emotion, and is sure to be another major hit." --Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants
About the Author
Polly Stone has recorded a number of popular audiobooks, the most prominent of which is Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Publishers Weekly praised her narration of the novel saying that Polly Stone gives an excellent performance... [The] novel is captivating, and the powerful narration gives it even greater impact. She has also narrated Shaggy Muses and is the author of 1003 Great Things About Being Jewish.
- Publisher : MACMILLAN USA; Unabridged edition (3 February 2015)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1427212678
- ISBN-13 : 978-1427212672
- Dimensions : 12.85 x 3.96 x 15.27 cm
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Reviewed in Australia on 12 May 2020
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Top reviews from Australia
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Two particular issues:
- there were too many glaring inaccuracies. Some literary licence is acceptable, but for many basic facts that were not essential to the story, it was unacceptable. The author had scant knowledge of French people, French/Spanish Geography or the history of WW2 France. The author actually thanked someone in the acknowledgements for ensuring the accuracy of the story. She would have done better to spend a bit of time on google.
- my biggest bug bear though was the way the "heroine" kept referring to the fact that she was just a "girl" who was achieving such heroics and fooling the Gestapo. Added to this, the Author claimed the stories of women in the French resistance were ignored. This is totally wrong. There were many very brave women in the resistance undertaking very dangerous and important work. These were French women as well as other Allied women smuggled into France by Britain's SOE (intelligence). Their stories have been told both in fiction and biographies. And the Gestapo were well aware of this and treated any captured female resistance fighters very brutally.
It was the story of the "quiet" sister that was most believable and interesting. She was a stalwart yet still saved the lives of many Jewish children despite great dangers. This is typical of many women in Europe at this time.
I cannot resist these 2 little notes to the author
- The Germans did not smash through the Maginot Line. They knew this was impossible so went around it through Belgium and Holland. That is well known.
- antibiotics were not available until 1944 (penicillin). Although the very crude sulpha drugs were available earlier, they were not in the form or for the purpose described. So why include it?
This book does a great disservice to the strength and bravery of many women during this difficult time in history.
I lived with them through the pain & hardships, very few authors have the ability to involve me so thoroughly in the lives of the protagonists.
This book was beautifully written and very easy to understand.
It is a very long book and I found myself bored and slowly losing interest in the first 30% of the book but I'm so glad I pushed through it and kept reading because once I got half way through I couldn't put the book down.
Very nicely written yet so heartbreaking. Don't read this book without a box of tissues. I don't often cry during books but the Nightingale had me in tears.
I knew very little about the second world war while reading this book but I'm so glad I decided to read it anyway because now I feel like I have a better understanding of the impact that families dealt with during this traumatic time.
It really put into perspective what being locked down in our homes meant - it meant we were safe, and being kept well and being kept alive; reading the horrors of WW2 made me very grateful to have not had to endure that life. Great read. Highly recommend it.
Top reviews from other countries
The research for the book is lamentable. There are glaring historical, cultural and geographical inaccuracies that detract from the story. There are also plot errors and straightforward mistakes littering the text. It would be unfair to expose the main errors as it will spoil the plot for anyone wishing to read the book, but for example, the main town in which the story is set, the fictional Carriveau, starts in German occupied France not far from Orleans or Tours. Toward the end of the story it has moved a few hundred miles south to be near Oradour sur Glane, not far from Limoges. Members of the French resistance forget which are pseudonyms and which are real names. Laurence Olivier is considered an appropriate name to avoid attention. A giant steel wheel becomes a stone wheel in the course of just one paragraph.
The author appears to have cobbled together scenes from most of the famous second world war novels: Schindlers List, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Book Thief. At one point it appeared as if a Tale of Two Cities was going to make an appearance. The effect is of a massive cliché and a desperate lack of originality.
There is an obsession in making the two heroines stronger than the men. For example, a starved, weakened nineteen year old woman is made out to be stronger than young, fit, well trained airmen.
The writing itself varies in quality. At times, especially at the beginning, it isn’t bad, but it does become repetitive and sentimental. There are times it descends from an historical novel to become something of a farce like the TV series Allo Allo, and becomes something of an insult to the brave women in particular who fought with the resistance in the second world war.
However, what the book does have is an engaging story line, hook and pace. Although risible and sentimental in places, it is never boring and I read it to the end. The shame is that with a few more edits and better research, it could have been something special.
There were references to the smell of hay in April in France (wrong season!), hummingbirds on roses in a French garden (hummingbirds don’t live in France and don’t feed on roses!), misspelt German words, plenty of typos in English.
It just didn’t at all evoke France/continental Europe (I’m Swiss).
The success of this book flies in the face of the authors of historical novels who meticulously research their field.
First of all, Isabelle's code name, Anyone who has read even a single book about undercover work during the wars would know that the first rule in giving an agent a code name is that it does not even hint at the agent's real identity. Now Isabelle's surname is Rosignol. Her code name is The Nightingale. Rosignol means nightingale in French. I rest my case.
My second criticism has to do with Isabelle's character. We first get to know her as a wild, rebellious, hard-headed teenager who always gets her own way. We are supposed to believe that overnight, without any gradual coming-of-age moments, she turns into a mature and selfless heroine capable of leading grown men over mountains she has only navigated once in her life, risking life and limb to do so, obeying orders like a docile little lamb. Sorry, no!