The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
What would you do if you were a woman and an invading army took over and moved into your town and your home? What if you had children? What if you were single? Even if you feel you would be incapable of putting up any resistance do you think you may surprise even yourself?
French sisters Vianne and Isabelle couldn’t be more different. Vianne is the calm and obedient one, married with a daughter. Isabelle was always running away from boarding schools and getting into trouble. When the Nazis invade France Vianne tries to shelter her daughter and maintain normality in her home. Yet Vianne cannot simply stand by and let things happen, despite herself she becomes involved in helping others even though she is putting her family in danger. Isabelle returns to Paris and becomes the Nightingale helping the Resistance by walking American and British downed pilots over the mountains to Spain. Every day she puts herself at risk ferrying messages and people under the enemy’s noses.
It seems like I just read a really great WWII era book (All the Light We Cannot See) and I didn’t think I was ready to read another. I was pleasantly surprised. This is a wonderful book giving insight into the trials of the women left behind in France when the Nazis moved in. While Isabelle’s story is thrilling I found myself drawn to Vianne: a strong woman who doesn’t see herself as a hero, but who truly is. Be prepared to get teary eyed at the end if, like me, you tend to cry at happy yet bittersweet endings.