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The Nightingale
Cover of The Nightingale
The Nightingale
A Novel

In love we find out who we want to be.In war we find out who we are. FRANCE, 1939 In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive. Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others. With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

In love we find out who we want to be.In war we find out who we are. FRANCE, 1939 In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive. Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others. With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 1, 2014
    “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are,” Hannah’s narrator, Viann Mauriac, proclaims as she looks back on her life in France. The bestselling author hits her stride in this page-turning tale about two sisters, one in the French countryside, the other in Paris, who show remarkable courage in the German occupation during WWII. Through Viann we learn how life was disrupted when husbands and fathers were forced to enlist while the Germans took over their towns and villages, billeting themselves in people’s homes, gorging on food, and forcing the starved locals to wait in endless lines for rations. Viann’s younger sister, Isabelle, always rebellious, joins the resistance in Paris, finds love with another resistance fighter, and risks her life guiding downed British and American paratroopers over the Pyrenees and out of France. Viann does her part too, saving 19 Jewish children by hiding them in a convent. Despite having a German officer in her own home, she also takes in a Jewish baby—her best friend’s son—when his mother is sent to a concentration camp. The author ably depicts war’s horrors through the eyes of these two women, whose strength of character shines through no matter their differences. Announced first printing of 350,000 copies.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 27, 2015
    Two very different sisters navigate life in WWII France in this sweeping story: Isabelle, an impetuous 18-year-old who is eager to defy the Nazis, and her much older and more traditional sister Vianne, who tries valiantly to keep home and hearth together. Reader Stone’s strength lies in the emotional range she brings to her characters—not just the two sisters, but also their jaded, detached father, and even Vianne’s small daughter, who grows up markedly during the war. Stone approaches the performance with an intuitive understanding of the characters’ private fears, knowing that their inner lives are often quite different than their public faces, and that a good deal goes unsaid between them. She also performs an excellent French accent. But rather than trying to carry it through all of the conversations between the French characters, which would be tedious over the course of the novel, she wisely reserves it for names and places. However, the voice she employs for Captain Beck, a German officer billeted at Vianne’s house, is stereotyped, and other international inflections—British, Eastern European—fall flat. A St. Martin’s hardcover.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Polly Stone gives voice to this incredible story of women's lives in France during WWII. Sisters Vianne and Isabelle are complete opposites. Vianne, the older, is settled with a family of her own and a husband away at war, while Isabelle is full of fire and wants to fight for France. Stone's even delivery gives an eerie feel to a story that has a lot of action and activity as it alternates between the point of view of Vianne and that of Isabelle. While the dialogue for each sister is very different--calmer and sweeter for Vianne and more passionate and clipped for Isabelle--Stone's voices sound similar, making it difficult at times to know that the point of view has changed. A strength of the narration is that Stone's French accents add authenticity and a sense of place to her reading. E.N. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    Starred review from December 1, 2014

    Hannah's (Firefly Lane) heart-wrenching tour de force vividly brings to life the story of two sisters fighting for their lives in Nazi-occupied France. Viann, the older and more passive of the two, battles for normality for herself and her daughter in the countryside, while Isabelle, the passionate one, longs to work with the resistance in Paris. Filled with compassion, suffering, romance, and constant danger, this impossibly compelling story will bring tears to the eyes of listeners. Viann and Isabelle learn the hard way that bravery and strength can take on many forms and that the bonds of sisterhood may be tested but can never be broken. Polly Stone delivers an impeccable narration that brings the sisters and wartime France to life with a distinctive and memorable set of voices that will keep listeners coming back for more. VERDICT Fans of Hannah and of historical fiction will find themselves immensely pleased with this thought-provoking novel.--Erin Cataldi, Johnson Cty. P.L., Franklin, IN

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Nightingale
A Novel
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