The Nightingale is a compelling audiobook which is well-narrated and a detailed depiction of a horrendous part of world history. The story follows the experience of two French sisters, Isabelle and Vianne, fighting to survive during World War II. Their strength, resilience and bravery is a remarkable tribute to the soldiers and citizens who fought for our freedom.
The sisters were abandoned by their father who suffered from his experience in the Great War and the subsequent loss of his beloved wife. Vianne married young and started a family. She struggled to care for her younger sister and Isabelle was enrolled and then kicked out of a series of finishing schools. Vianne’s husband became a prisoner of war leaving her to care for their young daughter, struggling to find food, keep warm and stay safe from the Nazi soldiers billeted in her home.
Isabelle could not sit back and survive, she needed to fight back and joined the resistance and travelled between France and Spain as the Nazi’s searched for the Nightingale. As the war advanced, the French police became complicit in the German plan to exterminate the Jewish citizens, sending men, women and children to concentrations camps and to their deaths.
Generally, I restrict my listening to my commutes but I could not wait until the weekend was over to hear the end and I read the last few chapters to learn what happened to the sisters. This is a terrific book and one that everyone should read. It tells the devastating history of France during WWII which may not be as well shared in history books. It certainly makes the reader appreciate the difference that individuals made to save children, soldiers and care for each other during devastation.