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  • Writer's pictureBarb Siegman

"The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah

In a nutshell, this book is a story about two very strong women. Two extremely strong women!

I was very excited when one of my book clubs chose The Nightingale to read and discuss. Lots of friends had read it and I just didn’t have the opportunity. It looked like a long book to read, however, I was ready for the task at hand. And, I am glad that I did!

The story of this World War II historical fiction novel is one that I have not read before. Two French sisters enduring what happened to them in France. Yes, most of the WWII novels that I have read concern Germans and their citizens. France being occupied by the Nazis and occupying the French in their homes and in their towns is not written about too often. Or, maybe I just haven’t come across those books.

Two sisters, years apart in age, live very different lives before the war and as the war goes on. One marries young and moves to the countryside. Her house is taken over by the Nazis, her town is taken over and life is difficult, to say the least!

The other sister is young and is a rebel, getting kicked out of boarding schools, too smart for her own good, placed in schools by a father who no longer wants to deal with the girls after their mother dies. She becomes a heroic figure for the Resistance. And, nobody believes that a woman could do what she did to save lives.

What was very interesting to me is how the French endured years of unbearable living conditions in their own homes, lack of food and basic necessities, families torn apart, people always looking over their shoulders for the enemy, makeshift families put together, identities changed to survive, illness, death

and strong, strong women.

The end of the book ties everything together. You figure out what happened to all the characters, some heartbreaking stories. I cried during the last chapter reading how it all ended. Whew! Not many books do that to me!

The author leads you from one experience to another to another, which keeps you hooked in reading what will happen next.

The local libraries have lots of copies for you to check out. Do yourself a favor and read it soon.

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