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Book Review – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

By Leah Ison

Before I dive into this review, I want to thank my family for heeding my warning to leave me alone as I read. Don’t worry, the children were fed. I always make sure to leave Goldfish crackers and water within reach. Besides, I finished this one in record time!

I don’t even know where to begin. The words remarkable and captivating come to mind, but they don’t feel worthy enough.

I have been reading a lot of stories set in World War II lately and have come across some real gems like; Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, Keeping My Sister’s Secrets by Beezy Marsh, and Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo, all highly recommended. When I came across The Nightingale I knew I had to pick it up. I have been hearing the most wonderful things about Author, Kristin Hannah. I never made a better decision in my life. Expect having kids and marrying my husband, of course. Love you guys!

The book begins with the line “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” This sets a pretty good foundation for the story. Most of us will never know what it is like to find ourselves in that way, but the two sisters in this story, Vianne and Isabelle, unfortunately do. They may be bonded by blood, yet they could not be more different.

Isabelle, without her own children, wants to fight. She is a fierce woman and in those times that was not something to be encouraged. Vianne, the older of the two, is gentle and motherly. She does whatever she has to do to protect her family, even if that means complying with the enemy. An enemy that none of us could ever comprehend. In my opinion, both are extremely brave.

Does having someone who depends on you change how you deal with a nightmare like war? If Isabelle had her own family, would she have reacted the same as her sister? The journey that both girls endure is truly extraordinary and I feel like it will stay with me for a long time.

As a mother I want to think I would be a little like them both. Protective, courageous, and smart. But I just don’t know how to imagine it, and hope I never have to find out. All I know is when you get to the last 20% of the book, you may want to hide in the bathroom. Unless you don’t mind anyone seeing your ugly cry face. Maybe take out the waterproof mascara. Just a thought.  

Leah is a full-time work-at-home-mom, stepmom, and total bookworm. Check out her Bookstagram !