We met this evening at Janet's home to discuss Carla's choice, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Present were Beth, Betty, Carla, Colette, Jane, Janet, Shirley and Michèle via Skype from sunny Florida. As the book is set in France, Janet had some wonderful French cheese, pâté, French wine and for dessert, tarte aux pommes with crème chantilly.
Everyone enjoyed The Nightingale. This is the second book we have read by Kristin Hannah, so those who would like some information on this author can click on the link. This story is about two sisters in France during World War II and how each coped with the tragedy and events of war. Vianne, married and living with her daughter in a small village while her husband is fighting endures the humiliation of Nazis living in her home and overtaking the village. Isabelle, the younger single sister who lives in Paris with her father, eventually finds her calling helping those of the resistance escape from France once they are denounced.
The character development of the two sisters is excellent. We really get know each sister and understand in each of their circumstances how and why they react to events in their life. Vianne, a mother, will do anything to protect her own child and finds a way to protect and keep her best friend Rachel's, son. Though her sister Isabelle does not understand how Vianne can allow a Nazi to live under her roof, Vianne knows the consequences of refusing and finds ways to live with it and protect her daughter. She accepts the food and gifts from the first officer so her daughter can eat properly and she endures repetitive rape by the second officer to protect her daughter from the same fate. Isabelle, younger more of a rebel and without the responsibilities of a family, finds a way to help her countrymen in the Résistence.
Many of us enjoy historical novels that allow us to learn and this novel packs it in. We learn about how the Nazis with the help of some French collaborators rounded up Jews not only in big cities such as Paris and Lyon but also in small villages. Though we did learn about the the French fleeing Paris in Suite Française by Irène Nemirovsky, there are different aspects and details in this book. In All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr we learned about the Résistence and in The Nightingale, Isabelle's involvement gives us more information. Kristin Hannah's research for this book was extensive.
Thank you Carla for choosing this book and Shirley for recommending it.