BOOK REVIEW: The Nightingale – by Kristin Hannah

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Title: The Nightingale
Author: Kristin Hannah
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
First published: February 3rd 2015
Finished reading: April 30th 2016
Pages: 440
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“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

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Historical fiction is probably one of my favorite genres, especially when the story is set during WWII. After hearing so many great things about The Nightingale and several recommendations, I just knew I had to pick it up as soon as possible… And I agree this is without doubt a very well written, beautiful and heartbreaking story that is a must read for any WWII historical fiction fan. Ever since finishing this novel by Kristin Hannah, I have been doubting the final rating, especially since the ending simply blew me away. Why the seemingly ‘low’ 4 star rating? I did have some small issues with the story that I couldn’t ignore. First of all, it actually took me a lot of time to finish The Nightingale and initially I wasn’t completely convinced by some of the characters either. The plot is intriguing from the start, but some of the actions and dialogues of the main characters (especially Vianne and Isabelle) just didn’t feel all that ‘natural’ in the beginning. And even though that feeling went away mostly as the story continued, it was only in the end that I started to feel a proper connection with Vianne. Why? The fact that Vianne seemed to rely so much on her husband and both feels helpless without him and is quite ignorant in general during most of the story is actually quite annoying… But she did make up for it in the end. Isabelle managed to convince me a lot sooner and like I said the story itself is more than excellent. The Nightingale is without doubt a novel I won’t be forgetting any time soon!

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Vianne Mauriac and her sister Isabelle didn’t exactly have an easy childhood. Their father was never the same after he came back home when WWI ended, and their mother passed away not long after. Vianne ended up marrying young and lives with her husband and daughter in a quiet village named Carriveau. Isabelle was a lot younger when all this happened, and she grew up to be a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl that doesn’t like to be told what to do… A dangerous thing with the threat of the Nazis invasion becoming more real every day. Vianne has to say goodbye to her husband Antoine, who has been called to fight at the Front. She doesn’t believe at first that the Nazis will actually invade France, but soon finds out what kind of trouble they soon will be in. Vianne is forced to take an enemy soldier into her house and her every move is watched… And without food, money or hope, things are becoming desperate. The fact that her sister Isabelle is forced by their father to stay with her doesn’t help either… But Isabelle doesn’t want to sit tight and wait until the war is over. No, she wants to do something to help the cause and fight the Nazis from within France. Joining the Resistance can have deadly consequences for those she loves though; something Isabelle doesn’t seem to fully realize… What will happen to both seemingly so different sisters?

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The Nightingale is without doubt an excellent WWII historical fiction novel and I’m still not sure whether to add an extra 1/2 star to the rating or not. The only real ‘problem’ I had with this story is that the first part read quite slow and the characters didn’t completely convince me in the beginning. The last part of this novel is exceptional though and the ending simply blew me away. Also, I loved the fact that Kristin Hannah wrote about the woman’s side of the war. Recommended!

WWW Wednesdays #89 – May 4th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I started reading The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld on a whim and while the prose looks really promising, I’m not so sure about the story itself so far. I’ve put it on hold as long as I’m reading The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, which is interesting so far even though a bit strange and I’m hoping the story will end up being just as good as the gorgeous cover.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It actually took me a lot of time to finish this book and while the story is really intriguing, I wasn’t so sure about the characters… Some of their actions and dialogues didn’t feel all that ‘natural’ (especially Vianne and Isabelle), although it did become a lot better later on in the story. That said, it is still a really good WWII historical fiction read and definitely worth reading.
* I’ve also finished The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson, which was my latest TBR jar pick. Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, it’s without doubt a very entertaining paranormal thriller with a Jack The Ripper twist… I will be trying to pick up the sequel soon.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Basically my list of books I want to read next is the same as last week. Oops! My next read is going to be Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor; I know, I have been saying this for the last few weeks but this time I’m going to pick it up for real! I also want to read The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, although I should probably get a copy of the fourth book first… And I want to read See How They Run by Ally Carter as well. My newest TBR jar pick is Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira, although I’m not sure if I would actually like that one since I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about it.

WWW Wednesdays #88 – April 27th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I finally started The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah the other day and even though I didn’t have much free time to read, I’m really enjoying it so far. I’ve also finally picked up my latest TBR jar pick The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson, but it’s too soon to say anything about it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first title I managed to finish since last week was The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza. The plot, plot twists and descriptions are really good, but the ‘bitchiness’ of the character did make me enjoy this mystery/thriller less than I thought I would… Still definitely worth reading though!
* I then decided to read Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, which turned out to be an entertaining enough read. I actually loved the first part (up until about 55-60% I would have given it 5 stars), but things went downhill from there… Still, I really enjoyed most of it.
* I decided to pick up the novella Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover as well since it was short and I kind of wanted to read more about Warren… And I actually liked the novella better than the last part of Maybe Someday.
* The last book I finished is A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab, and I have a feeling it is going to take some time to get my thoughts together… Such a good series and the wait for the third book is going to be a long one!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really should start reading Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor next since it was the winner of the which series to read next? poll last month… I will most likely do as soon as I finish one of the titles above; I just wanted to read my last TBR jar pick first. I also want to read The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, although I should probably get a copy of the fourth book first… And I honestly don’t know why I haven’t read See How They Run by Ally Carter yet, since I loved the first book last year and this sequel has been on my most anticipated 2015 releases list. Oops? My new TBR jar pick is Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira. I’ve heard mixed things about that one, so I will be keeping my fingers crossed.

Teaser Tuesdays #91 – April 26th: The Nightingale

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

Historical fiction is probably one of my favorite genres and I always find stories set during WWII intriguing, so it’s easy to say I’m really excited to be finally reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about this story, so I can’t wait to continue reading this one later today.

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My teaser (20%):

“Vianne closed the bedroom door and leaned against it, trying to calm her nerves. She could hear Isabelle pacing in the room behind her, moving with an anger that made the floorboards tremble.”

What are you reading right now?

WWW Wednesdays #87 – April 20th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I actually opened my copy of A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab as soon as I finished the first book, because I simply LOVED A Darker Shade Of Magic. Since I haven’t been able to write a proper review yet though, I decided to put the sequel on hold until I do so I won’t be mixing up the plots… So I decided to start The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza instead. The plot is really intriguing so far and I like the detailed descriptions, but unfortunately I’m not really a fan of the main characters. There’s too much ‘bitching’ and too little character development or other things that might make me like the characters better… Hopefully things will improve later on.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first title I managed to finish since last week was Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford. It’s not a bad read, but the plot is not really original and most of the humor felt either forced or was even slightly offensive…
* I then decided to read Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper and that turned out to be an excellent idea. Like Wonder, this middle grade book has a strong message that people shouldn’t discriminate or judge people by what they look like; it is what is on the inside that truly counts. A really fast read and definitely recommended even though some parts of the the plot are not completely plausible.
* I then finally started with A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab, and I’m still trying to finish a somewhat coherent review without it being just me fangirling all over the place. This book was BRILLIANT! I should have known after so many raving reviews and recommendations… Without doubt one of my all time favorite fantasy series.
* The last book I finished was The Beginning Of Everything by Robyn Schneider, which turned out to be a big disappointment. Such a shame, because I loved her other novel Extraordinary Means! Unfortunately, The Beginning Of Everything is basically full of cliches and annoying characters I really couldn’t care about… More in the full review.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really should start reading Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor next since it was the winner of the which series to read next? poll last month. I have been wanting to read it for ages, but decided to pick up Shades Of Magic first. I also want to try Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover… I’m keeping my fingers crossed this one will be as good as November 9 (unlike Ugly Love). The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is also still on my list… Hopefully some time soon; I just haven’t been in the mood to read historical fiction lately. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson.

WWW Wednesdays #86 – April 13th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I actually started the two other books first, but I needed something completely fantasy/romance free after I finished my last read. Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford sounded like it would do the job and so far it’s turning out ot be an interesting and fast read. The other two books I’m reading are A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab, with I’m loving so far and I’ve only put on hold because I’m not really in the mood for fantasy and I don’t want to spoil it… And I’ve also finally picked up Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I’ll probably finish this one first before continuing with ADSOM

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I wanted to escape the whole YA/love triangle business, so I decided to pick up this mystery/thriller kindle freebie: Blood Orchids by Toby Neal. Unfortunately not even changing genres helped me escape a love triangle and it did ruin the story slightly for me, but the story itself is still quite entertaining in general. There were quite a few things that bothered me though; more about it in my full review.
* I decided to pick up my TBR jar pick next, and boy was that the best decision I could have made! I LOVED The Conspiracy Of Us by Maggie Hall despite the hint of a love triangle… Fast pace, international setting, a conspiracy, plot twists, interesting characters: this book is almost everything I want in a series.
* I picked up the sequel Map Of Fates straight after finishing the first book, and while it was not as good as The Conspiracy Of Us and the romance scenes became more annoying (read: love triangle related), I still pretty much loved this one as well. The wait for the third book will be a long one!
* I was actually already reading All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders before I started any of the books mentioned above, but it took me a long time to finish it. Boy, this book was WEIRD! I guess this is one of those where the story either works for you or it doesn’t. I definitely belong to the second group and I wasn’t convinced by this story at all. The plot was all over the place, the pace a bit slow, I didn’t particularly like the characters and the story didn’t really make sense. Also, I thought this was an adult novel, but most of it felt more like a middle grade/YA read; up until a few sex scenes were thrown in. WTF?! I need more time to gather my thoughts…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have been in a weird reading mood lately so I will probably end up reading completely different titles instead, but here’s what I would like to read. First up is Out Of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper since I have been wanting to escape from the whole fantasy/romance/love triangle theme… And I guess both The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah would probably work as well. My new TBR jar pick is The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson, which I’m really excited about since I have been wanting to start this series for a while now. Jack The Ripper twist, yes please!