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book review: "The Nightingale"...

Monday, January 23, 2017
...by Kristin Hannah. She has written others. There was a list of a dozen or more titles printed in this one, before the title page. Published in 2015 by St. Martin's Press (imprint of McMillan).

I do not recall why I requested it from the library, but there was some reason for me to think I wanted to read it. Might have read a review, or less likely, a reference to the story in something else I was reading. It is about the occupation in France during the Second World War. Very well researched with much added detail to make it plain the author has done her homework.

The story is about two sisters, whose mother died when they were young. Their dad was emotionally distant, likely as a result of his experience in WW I, plus suddenly a single parent. The young girls were sent to a boarding school, and always held at arm's length by their father. One daughter Viviane, married at an early age, and had a child, moved into the family home in a small village. The other, Isabelle, was younger, a runaway, misfit in all the schools her father placed her in. The father moved to Paris, and left the daughters in the rural home.

When Nazis invaded and conquered the French, eventually occupying Paris, Isabelle began working with the partisans, underground resistance. Her sister, after her husband went off to war, found her home requisitioned by a German officer. As the occupation wore on, everything became scarce. Food, clothing, supplies, every day items were all used and consumed by the Germans. Isabelle met a man, who volunteered for the resistance forces, and she got more involved in efforts to circumvent the Nazis.

It was a really heart-wrenching tale.Interestingly told in flashbacks by the older sister, Viviane. Who had the Nazi officer living in her house, causing the villagers to feel she was a conspirator.  As I said, well researched, providing details and descriptive information about the deprivations of the war. Many disturbing facts about the horrifying treatment of the Germans as they deported Jews as well as innocent children, French citizens to the camps.

No spoilers here - but an unexpected ending that will bring you to tears.

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