Why did you choose this book?
Every couple of months, our Readers’ Advisory group at the library reads a book and discusses it. Usually we try to pick books from various genres throughout the year, and also books that are either classics or fairly new and very popular. I’m one of the folks who chooses the books for us to read, and this was my recommendation. It has been popular with our patrons and has been on the bestseller list for 24 weeks.
What’s it about?
Vianne and Isabelle are sisters living in France at the beginning of World War II. Vianne is older and lives an idyllic life in the country with her husband and daughter. Isabelle has spent the last several years in boarding school and has quite the rebellious spirit. As France becomes involved in World War II and is occupied by the Nazis, Vianne’s husband goes to war and Isabelle moves in, as does a German soldier. Isabelle ultimately joins a resistance movement while Vianne does her best to stay under the radar and keep her family safe at home. Occasionally, a chapter will appear set in 1995 from the perspective of an older woman with a connection to the story….
Historical fiction – World War II era
Other recommended reads?
This is a hard one for me because historical fiction can be such a wide genre. I adored Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper, which was set in World War Ii London and featured a few chapters in the present day as well. It has more of a mysterious element to it, however. Some folks in our group also compared The Nightingale to JoJo Moyes’ The Girl You Left Behind, although that novel was set in World War I.
I struggled to get into this book but once I reached a certain point I was hooked. Several members of our group said that they couldn’t get the characters out of their heads. My connection to this novel wasn’t quite that strong but it was extremely well written and I really enjoyed it. Usually when I read a book and it makes me cry I take a minute, dry my eyes, and keep reading. With this book, I ugly cried for the last 15 pages straight. I couldn’t stop crying but I couldn’t stop reading either. Most of the members of our group agreed that the book made them cry at one point or another. It’s truly amazing when you read a work of literature that can impact you at that emotional level. I highly recommend this book.
Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini