The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Having read quite a few of Kristin Hannah’s books, I looked forward to “The Nightingale.” Although it held my attention, throughout the book I could not quite put my finger on why I wasn’t moved by the distressful events of this World War Two story.
Two sisters struggle to survive in Nazi-occupied France; one maintains her home and resists any idea of resistance. The other sister, impulsive and passionate, launches herself into the resistance movement, and becomes The Nightingale, leading British and American pilots through the mountains to Spain, to return them to their countries to fight another day.
The book delivers a potentially powerful story of suspense, courage, honor, love, and loyalty. My reservations are with regard to the level of exaggeration I felt was in play. And the tendency to cliche. Granted, these devastating events occurred, I just don’t believe they all happened to so few people. It is as if all the horror stories of the war were funneled into this one book, and it seemed a wee bit unrealistic and unbelievable to me.
As bizarre as this sounds, I became somewhat desensitized to the travesties. I am a sentimental, soft soul, and fully expected to be brought to tears by this tale. Especially having loved other books of Kristin Hannah’s. But I have come to the conclusion that this book, in its leaning toward melodrama, turned me off at some level, and I was left with a feeling of disappointment that truly surprised me.
So 3 stars for “The Nightingale,” which I hate to say is not one of Hannah’s best. I feel almost guilty saying this as I love so much of Hannah’s work.
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Check out Diane’s new middle-grade fantasy novel, written with her husband Mark Carey:
The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain