I have always loved to read. As a child my Mom always encouraged me to read. When I get my hands on a book that I enjoy I can get lost in it. I haven’t always had as much time as I’d like to allow me to read as much as I’d like. As a teen I used to bring a book with me when I went out on my bike to deliver the papers on my newspaper route. I had to work but I really wanted to read. So I’d stop somewhere partway through the route and read. Now that I’m older I don’t have to sneak. The hardest thing I have to do is find the time, which is sometimes easier than it sounds.
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Recently I received an advance copy of a new book called The Nightingale, a novel by Kristin Hannah. Having had a rough couple of weeks I knew I could really benefit from some downtime. So, I grabbed a cup of tea and the book and headed to the living room. I love to read in the chair in front of the picture window because I can get some nice sunlight over there. Plus, I can reach the coffee table and be near the cat if he’s in his little cat post. I put my feet up and settled in.
“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.
Some folks might be worried that a story set in World War II might not be timely or exciting enough for them. The Nightingale does not disappoint here. This book has more than one surprise waiting hidden up its sleeve for the reader. This novel, set in France during World War II, is the story of two sisters Vianne and Isabelle.
I always wanted a sister. I have always sort of romanticized the thought of having one, thinking if I had had one she and I might have shared stories and secrets and been really close. The reality is, we never know who we will be close with. We are, after all, unique and individual people with our own points of view. Take my two baby brothers for example. I love them dearly. I enjoy their company and we share some common interests. But, I don’t necessarily share all of their beliefs and they don’t necessarily share all of mine. Vianne and Isabelle have some major differences, the kind you know in your gut could be very hard to deal with.
Vianne is married with a child. When her husband goes off to fight in the war, she is left at home with their child and her much younger sister Isabelle, the “wild child” of the family. Vianne finds her home taken over by German forces. Being sensible and wanting to protect her daughter, Vianne endures abuse by the soldiers in order to keep herself and her child alive. Along the way her need to help her own child helps spark something else – a passion for helping children.
Meanwhile, Isabelle finds herself out in the world in the midst of all of the chaos. As a rebellious young woman, it seems rather fitting that she winds up joining the Resistance. Somehow in the midst of all of the chaos and even a little bit of what seemed like romance, Isabelle finds purpose. She risks her life to help get downed Allied pilots across the Pyrenese mountains to safety in nearby Spain.
The story pulls you in, giving you an insight into that period of time, and into the minds of two sisters that are as much alike as they are drastically different. The story moves forward fairly effortlessly, driven in part by the narrator. And that narration is one of the surprises that I mentioned. You may be certain you know who is narrating it. Don’t be surprised if you find out you are mistaken!
One particular quote from the book really spoke to me. “In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.” This is so true! As a teen and later young adult I always knew what kind of person I wanted to be, and had clear visions of the type of relationships and family life I hoped to have one day. I have been married for many years. I believe that marriage and other relationships including that of mother and child are not always easy, and that they require dedication, work and effort amongst other characteristics. While I have never had to actually go to war, over the years I have had to fight for certain things for my children. Having my children and fighting those fights has helped me discover who I am.
Do you have a brother or sister? Do you agree on most major issues?
For more information about The Nightingale, please visit KristinHannah.com. You can keep up with the author on social media, on Facebook. You can keep up with the publisher St Martin’s Press on social media as well, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Two (2) winners will each receive a hardback copy of The Nightingale.
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