“My nightingale, I got you home.”
This review contains *spoilers*.
I honestly didn’t expect to like The Nightingale as much as I did.
The premise of the book intrigued me (I’ve been really into historical fiction lately).
This story follows two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, during World War II and their hardships trying to survive.
My heart broke for each sister as I read their stories full of loss and pain. And I loved the shifting point-of-view that allowed me to see inside each character’s head.
But one of the best things about the story for me was Isabelle. I loved her as a main character and her character development was phenomenal.
She started out as a impetuous 18 year old, but in order to survive the war, she turned into someone tough and driven and so strong.
“She let fear give her a little shake and she almost gave in to it. Then she thought about the swastikas that flew from the Eiffel Tower and Vianne living with the enemy and Antoine lost in some prisoner of war camp. And Edith Cavell. Certainly she had been afraid sometimes, too; Isabelle would not let fear stand in her way.”
Reading from Vianne’s point of view was just as nerve-wracking as reading from Isabelle’s. Herr Captain Beck made me really uncomfortable — whenever he helped Vianne and her daughter, I felt exactly as torn as she felt.
Now I’m starting to get really emotional thinking about Vianne, especially thinking about her friendship with Rachel. Their friendship is so rich and real and it made Rachel’s departure that more emotional for me. I had actual tears running down my face when she helped Rachel and her children escape. Vianne’s character growth was outstanding and it definitely surprised me.
“I’ll write if I can,” Rachel said.
Vianne’s throat tightened. Even if the best happened, she might not hear from her friend for years. Or ever. In this new world, there was no certain way to keep in touch with those you loved.”
This book truly astonished me. It showed me kindness when I least expected it (Eduardo and Madame Babineau) and it showed me the losses and fears of so many people and their bravery trying to live through extremely difficult times.
The story is moving and heartbreaking and the characters interesting and complex. What do I possibly read after this?
“He smiled. “You have a habit of saying whatever is on your mind, don’t you, Isabelle?”
“Always. Why did you leave me?”
He touched her face with a gentleness that made her want to cry; it felt like a good-bye, that touch, and she knew good-bye. “I wanted to forget you.”
Isabelle and Gaëtan made me really emotional. I’m glad we got to see him again after he left her. Their reunion made me smile after feeling sad for so long because of the events in this book. They are so good together.
But being happy didn’t last long because I found out that the older woman from 1995 wasn’t Isabelle she was Vianne— Isabella had died right in Gaëtan’s arms.
(I found this song to be really fitting while reading.)