Life sometimes catches you completely unawares.
It has been way too long since I’ve posted a book review so its time to get myself back into the groove of that. So to kick off 2017 I’m going to start with a good book! In my podcast, I also review and discuss books that I’ve read so I’ll link to the section where I talk about the particular book but I will warn you there are spoilers in the podcast. I try not to post spoilers here.
But I digress.
The first book I finished in 2017 was an audiobook and it was really good. It was The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I seem to be in this weird spot of reading World War II and Civil War historical fiction lately. The Nightingale is set in France during World War II and I just found the story to be very powerful and thought-provoking. It definitely earned four stars from me on Good Reads.
The story focuses on two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, who are as different as night and day. Vianne is more quiet and reserved and very happy and content with her quiet, provincial life. Isabelle on the other hand is bold and vivacious and always looking for the next great adventure. So when the Nazis invade and occupy France during the war, it is no surprise that the two sisters approach things very differently.
Vianne wants to accept life as the Nazis bring it. She doesn’t want to question and wants to lie low and take care of her daughter until her husband returns from the war. She doesn’t want to put up a fuss when a Nazi captain is billeted in her home.
Isabelle on the other hand wants to fight. She wants to rebel against all the Nazis are doing and she wants to make life hell for them. But she also loves her sister and her niece and does not wish harm to come to them. But as the war goes on both sisters find themselves facing impossible situations and both rise to the occasion.
While I thought the book did begin a little slowly, it quickly gained momentum and I found myself in that great place of both wanting to keep going and find out what happens and not wanting it to end. I also found myself relating to both sisters.
With Vianne I could certainly appreciate her desire to protect her daughter. I don’t like confrontation and when it comes to my children I find that I will avoid it to keep them safe. This, of course, is not always a good thing. But I could certainly appreciate her point of view. On the other hand, I could also relate to Isabelle and her desire to stand up to the horrors that the Nazis were about. I would like to think that given a similar situation I would not sit idly by but do something to resist the oppression. I certainly hope I never have to find out.