Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Nightingale - Book Review

Every single one of my friends on Goodreads rated The Nightingale 5 stars. So I bought it. How could I resist that much book love. Right? I packed it with me on vacation. I started reading it on the tail end of my road trip as we drove through the rather boring part of south eastern Oregon (every state has a boring part, right?).

Vianne and her younger sister Isabelle have had a tumultuous relationship since their mother died and their distraught, alcoholic father essentially abandoned them to live with the housekeeper. As the war heats up, Vianne's husband leaves for the front and Isabelle, kicked out of another boarding school, returns to live with her sister.

Isabelle is passionate and rebellious and her untamed spirit is especially dangerous in Nazi occupied France. Vianne is trying to keep her daughter safe. Their relationship is further tested with a Nazi officer billets in Vianne' home. Through this harrowing time, the sisters will each be tested and will do what they can to fight against the Nazis and try to survive and save those they love.

The plot was fine. The characters were fine. As I put the book aside after reading 236 pages, I wanted to tell it "It's not you. It's me." Possibly, it's my short attention span lately. Perhaps, it's that I've already read too many similar stories--stories, like Suite Francaise and The Secret Key, that captured the passion, fear and emotion better. It could be that my expectations had been too built up by all the early reviews from trusted book friends. All that combined and I honestly wasn't sure if I would pick it back up again. Still, I hate leaving things undone so weeks later, after not finishing two more books and then finally finding one I could see through to the end, I decided to give The Nightingale another chance.

I'm glad I did. Because the ending improved. The characters became richer and the emotion stronger and I finally began to care. There's a lot packed into this novel. It's ambitious. There are plenty of things to discuss and I would recommend it to book club groups--especially since it's relatively clean.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is published by St. Martin's Press and released on February 3, 2015

1 comment:

anna said...

I felt the same way! I still haven't finished it because I was bored by the characters - they felt too typical and flat. So is it worth finishing??? I have tried to get back into it a couple times. I couldn't understand all the hype.