Genre: Historical Fiction

Audio Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Posted June 5, 2017 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 6 Comments

Audio Review: The Nightingale by Kristin HannahThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Narrator: Polly Stone
Published by Macmillan Audio on February 3, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Length: 17 hours, 20 minutes
Source: Library
Audio | Goodreads
five-stars
three-flames

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

 

 
The story begins right before the German occupation of France in 1940 and continues through the Allied liberation but told retrospectively by one of the two main characters in 1995. The focus is on two sisters, Vianne Mauriac and Isabelle Rossignol, who couldn’t differ more in disposition and outlook about the war. Through their eyes and voice, we’re given a unique view of life in occupation for French residents who weren’t Jewish and their roles in the Resistance.

 
Most are familiar with the cruelties of the Nazi SS and the Gestapo but this story’s focus was on how ordinary French people reacted to the takeover of their livelihood and liberties. Isabelle’s and Vianne’s differences in approach probably best represented most of their fellow countrymen and women. I also liked how women were portrayed so prominently in supporting the resistance. There was a line in the book about why their stories weren’t mainstreamed and the response was something like, “Men tell stories, women just pick themselves up and move on.”

 
Of course this story had many heartbreaking moments but there are almost as many moments of triumph and courage. The story caused me to examine myself more critically, wondering how I would have behaved in those circumstances. The narration was so outstanding, giving distinctive characterizations to a varied and large cast. It was a vivid performance and I don’t think I’ll ever forget Vianne and Isabelle.

 

Note: The film adaptation is in production and scheduled for release in August 2018. It’s directed by Michelle MacLaren.

 

Listen to a clip!

About Polly Stone

Polly Stone has recorded a number of popular audiobooks, the most prominent of which is Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Publishers Weekly praised her narration of the novel saying that ” Polly Stone gives an excellent performance… [The] novel is captivating, and the powerful narration gives it even greater impact.” She has also narrated Shaggy Muses and is the author of 1003 Great Things About Being Jewish.

Polly has lived in France, Central America and New York, and sometimes on a sailboat . She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and Maggie, a Portuguese Water Dog.

Latest Titles:
To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin, Macmillan
A Piece Of The World by Christina Baker Kline, Harper Collins

2016 Audie winner for Fiction!
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah, Macmillan

About Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, Winter Garden, Night Road, and Firefly Lane.

Her novel, The Nightingale, has been published in over 39 languages and is currently in movie development at Tri Star Pictures. Her novel, Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to direct.

Kristin is a former-lawyer-turned writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii with her husband. She began her writing career as a young mother and has never looked back. Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone novel that brought women together, and The Nightingale, in 2015 was voted a best book of the year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, The Wall Street Journal and The Week. Additionally, the novel won the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards. The audiobook of The Nightingale won the Audiobook of the Year Award in the fiction category.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:


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