The Encore gives me the opportunity to share older reviews and posts, and reviews of books I’ve re-read. I hope you’ll join in the conversation, share your thoughts. Enjoy!
As a word of warning, this is a book review of a re-read. As result, this review may contain spoilers. You have been warned, please proceed at your own risk.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Last year I zoomed through The Nightingale and cried for two nights straight as I finished the book. It was heartbreaking and inspiring. I had no idea about the struggles of France under the Nazi occupation. It was not something I was taught in school. Isabelle’s and Vianne’s journeys through the war and their respective ways of resisting the occupation have stuck with me and I’ve recommended this novel numerous times upon finishing it. But would it stand the test of a re-read?
Patience is a virtue. This book is still very popular at my library. I was like 14 on the audiobook waiting list and my number came up in late December when I was off of work for the holidays. So I had to pass on listening to it at the time. I put myself back at the bottom of the list and finally got my hands on in again.
The Nightingale does stand up well on re-reading and on audiobook. I was drawn into the story again and even though I knew all the trials and twists and turns, my heart still ached at Isabelle’s and Vianne’s struggles. There were not as many tears this time, but I’m chalking that up to the fact I listen while I commute and sobbing while driving down the freeway at 65 miles per hour is just not an option.
On this second read through I was struck by the stark differences between the Nazis that billeted with Vianne. At one point, Beck states, “I am not a monster.” Beck’s reactions to the atrocities of his fellow party members were committing, specifically those actions taken by the SS and the Gestapo, in Beck’s mind, is completely separate from him. And when the Vianne is confronted with taking in Von Richter and his detestable actions, the readers see first hand exactly what Beck was speaking about. The actions of these two Nazis show the reader that the world is not all black and white. There is good within evil and evil within good.
There are books that stick with you for a lifetime. I certainly feel that The Nightingale is one of those books for me. My initial read in 2015 left me speechless and floored by the women of France. My second read through showed me their strength. If you have not read this book yet, you certainly should do so soon. And if you have read it, take a chance and re-read it. It will be worth your time.
Have you read (or re-read) The Nightingale yet? What books have you read that will stick with you for a lifetime? Why do you feel that way?
The Quick Book Review
The NightingaleAuthor: Kristin Hannah
Narrator: Polly Stone
Published on: February 3, 2015
Length: 17 hours, 26 minutes
Genres: historical fiction, adult
Goodreads • Amazon Affiliate Link
My Rating: Thumbs Up
Originally Read: May 17 through May 19, 2015