War changes people. In The Nightingale by Kirstin Hannah, Vianne and Isabelle know this all too well. After their father returned from WWI and their mother passed away, the two sisters had to learn to care for themselves. Especially when their father intentionally sent them away to deal with the death of their mother on their own. The personalities of these two sisters, however, could not be more different. Vianne, the older of the two, is constantly caught up in her own worries about her husband and child, and she is not overly headstrong or outgoing. On the other hand, Isabelle is the most dangerous, bull-headed, courageous girl on the block. She prefers to answer the tough questions with by putting herself out there. Both face terrible hardship despite their differences when Nazi Germany invades France. In this WWII novel, the true love of family, connection between sisters, and courage to do what is right pulls Vianne and Isabelle apart, and pushes them back together again.
This book is literally amazing. The characters were realistic, the actions and reactions weren’t overdramatic, and the plotline was absolutely fabulous. But what I loved most was the contrast of the two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle. At first glance, they’re almost polar opposites. While one has her life together, the other is running from boarding school. One wants to drag her family together, but the other thinks that they’re better apart. One is headstrong, the other is more caring. Their ages are also extremely far apart. But then the book starts to really show how similar these women are. Both sisters are compassionate, brave, and fiercely defensive of the people they love. And even though they show their emotions in very different ways, Vianne and Isabelle really prove how close sisters can be when they’re very far away, mentally and physically.
I would recommend this book to people who loved The Book Thief (if you haven’t read that you’ve been living under a rock), fearless female characters, and/or a bit of gloom. Yes, this book is about WWII. It can get pretty low for all of the characters. And there is death. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. To all who are looking for a really moving, emotional, thought-provoking book, read The Nightingale. You won’t regret it.... more