Monday, December 14, 2015

The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

As much as I'm a little worn out on WWII novels, I have to admit I've enjoyed listening to The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah.

Yes, I know it's been on the NY Times Bestseller list for a while, so really who cares what little old me thinks about this historical novel?

But here goes: the book does often veer into the tried-and-true narratives about the Nazi occupation in France, as well as the brutal mistreatment of members of the resistance in the camps. BUT, the really great part of this book is the story of two women who worked to help people.

The bolder, brasher sister helped down ally pilots escape the Nazis, escorting them over the Pyrenees on foot to safety. These pilots, from various ally countries, met up with their units, allowing them to fly again.

The older, milder and more cautious sister, stayed in her hometown with her daughter as she waiting for her husband to be released from prison. She had Nazi officers billeted at her home, and ultimately saved more than a dozen Jewish orphans from certain death in the camps.

There many readers who say they chose their book because it was compared with another bestseller, "All the Light We Cannot See," by Anthony Doerr. I don't really see a resemblance, other than that both take place during the same time and same place. I personally didn't get to finish "All the Light," as I returned it to Audible after attempting to listen to it for 4 hours. I might try it again, but I got bogged down by the author's extremely detailed descriptions. There was just so much painting of the scene, that I couldn't hang out long enough for the real story. Maybe I'm shallow? I always feel a little shallow when this happens.

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