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This book was difficult to get through- not because it was poorly written in any way, but because it claws your heart out.
Despite being not much like Vianne or Isabel (except for the impulsiveness), I quickly felt a deep connection with both characters. Everything they go through, everything they do to survive during WWII, hurts the heart to read. It's very well written, not over embellishing or romanticizing the war, not even focusing on their inner struggles too much. These are two women making choices and (among many other women doing the same thing) getting on with it.
It feels well researched, though the author doesn't include any information about what in her novel was fact and what was fiction. That there was a "shadow war" for the French women left behind, surviving and resisting, who didn't get parades after the end of the war, I have no doubt. Was there also a Nightingale, who helped organize and lead downed Allied airmen out of occupied France? I have no idea. The concentration camps mentioned did exist, and the horror of them as described in the books was true, but was the timeline and events regarding the Free Zone factual? The book reads as though it's all factual, which breaks my heart a bit, and reminds me of my limited perspective on WWII (as an American), and lack of knowledge about France during the war.
Overall, this was a moving, engaging, heartbreaking historical fiction. I highly recommend it, but understand that it's an emotional commitment (and, like me, you may end up crying during some parts, and raging during others).
This was a wonderful, well written book. The author draws you into the story, the characters and the scenery. I am usually not a fan of books written about war, but loved this one.
When 2018 was coming to a close I saw a few of my friends mentioning some of their favorite reads of the previous year. A couple of them mentioned the same author multiple times - Kristin Hannah. Folks were repeating the titles The Nightingale and The Great Alone, and luck was on my side because both titles were available at my library so I snagged them both. As per usual, I didn't know much about the book before I opened it, other than friends were raving about it, but that has never stopped me before. This novel revolved around two sisters during World War II and their stories of love, strength and bravery. I don't want to give anything away, but let me just say one word... WOW! I flew through this one (and at over 400 pages that isn't an easy feat) and had to do my fair share of reading through tears. I know this was "just" a novel, but it really struck me that there were so many people who actually lived through stories similar to the one in the book. I still have to shake my head at the atrocities that occurred and pray daily that we never let similar travesties repeat themselves. I would give it a 10 out of 10.
A page turner...WW2 history intertwined into a fiction story about love, family and the sacrifices that come with war.
OMG!! I highly recommend this book for anyway looking for their next book to read!! Just finished and had the ugliest cry ever! It is amazing! At times the emotions surprise you. Sometimes you can see it coming but the way the author puts it, the emotions smack you harder than you expected. Love, hate, strength, bravery, sorrow, tragedy, it has it all!
I found this book tedious, repetitive and most insulting to my time, it was poorly written. Achingly overreaching for prose, flowery similes & metaphors, and not additive to the story. Yet ANOTHER book where flipping between the (near) present and mostly the past is a tiresome construction that authors seem to use lately that adds nothing. I wanted to stop by the 5-10 chapter (of 39!) but finished this 600+ page "tome", as it's a book club assignment. Yes, this story is supposed to highlight the female viewpoint of the war experience, but the sisters seemed so incredibly stupid. When it came to reacting/behaving to the increasing horrors of the war and repeatedly putting themselves at risk, their characters were not believable nor sympathetic. I was more interested in the secondary characters: the other woman in the resistance or the father's backstory. The love story just seemed thrown in for the benefit of a potential screenplay deal. And the younger sister who's so compelled to do something "important" and not be interested in silly boys, in the end all she can say is, "I used to be pretty" - wow, negates the whole feminist rationale for this book.
This book captivated me from the first chapter. It's beautifully written with excellent character development and historical description. I learned details about occupied France that I'd not considered or imagined before. Highly recommend!
Decent book but not one if you are looking for a detailed description of life during the German occupation of France. This book represents a very detailed story, but too detailed to have any regard to the entire war and how its progression changed life in France. There are two sisters, Isabelle, and Vianne Rossignol. The two sisters have two different mindsets about the war. Vianne is naive and thinks the government will protect them from the dangers of war, but Isabelle thinks not. She joins the "Resistance" and begins by spreading anti-german propaganda papers. I think escapes in this book are too narrow and it focuses too much on doubts of the abilities of women that it appears that the German interrogators are robots programmed to think women cannot do anything heroic and brave. Vianne soon realizes the reality of the situation and begins helping Jewish children. In the end, she saves 19 Jewish children and earns herself a righteous title of a war hero. I rated this 6/10 because this book is too tunnel-visioned that it is a book about assumptions, not facts.
Some good history here, especially for readers without much knowledge of WWII in Europe as it can serve as an introduction to the war in France. However, the storyline itself becomes rather predictable for those who are well-versed regarding the Nazi invasion, the French Resistance and the horrors of the Holocaust.
Such a beautiful, moving story. A must read for fans of historical fiction. It’s also a being made into a movie in 2019.
Amazing book - outstanding portrait of people who are in impossible position - a picture of what the effect of war is on everyone who just happens to be in its way.
Historical Fiction has never been done so beautifully. Based during WWII, tells a story of two sisters and their struggle to survive German occupation of France. You become so immersed in their story, you become part of it.
The narrator does an exceptional job, she makes the novel come alive!
Holocaust and a young woman's efforts to rescue prisoners. Powerful story
Well written, fast-paced, and so interesting. It was hard to read about the atrocities committed during WW2, but Kristin Hannah is able to describe them without sensationalism. Definitely a good quick read.
The characters were well developed and the plot captures interesting historical events however the book is 10 chapters too long and drags on.
An incredibly moving story of two sisters and how each responds to the horrors of WWII in very different but equally heroic ways.
Excellent - Kept me reading all 438 pages. The atrocities of the Second World War and how it changed the lives in particular of the French people. 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. Beautifully written and will have a lasting hold on me.
This is an amazing book! The second you read the first sentence of the book you'll never want to put it down until your finished. I read this in about a day without stopping. The story is heart wrenching and filled with grief, heroism, and love. I 100% recommend this book to you
Great book, highly recommended!