Review: The Nightingale

Posted: 04/04/2015 in book reviews, books
Tags: , ,

The Nightingale
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Content warning: Talk of the holocaust from the perspective of Nazi occupied France, talk of concentration camps, torture, murder, and rape (the rape isn’t until the last maybe 25% of the book ish).

If ANY of that really seriously bothers you, don’t read this review or this book.

Now onto the review. I need to brush up on history concerning WW2 because apart from the bits about the concentration camps and the things that went on in them, I’m lacking in remembering my knowledge about it. And that the Nazi’s took over France and hung the swastika flag from EVERYWHERE including monuments.

I do remember that the ration cards were all over (where the Nazi’s were concerned at least) and that the people who WEREN’T in the SS or the Wehrmacht seriously suffered as far as food was concerned and that food wise it was no worse to be in a concentration camp than it was to be in your own house/town/village/city.

As to women helping as much as it’s made out in this book I can’t say. I DO know that they did more than school history will tell. As one of the sentences near the end of the book says “Men tell the stories and women move on and continue” (or something like that I may have misquoted it).

But looking at it from what I know of occupied areas during WW2 a lot of it does sound very historically factual. The poverty. The ration cards. The requirements of wearing yellow stars for Jewish people. The Jewish people being the first to be sent to the camps from everywhere. The requirements of billeting officers if your house was in an area of use/interest to them (for any reason). The curfews. The taking of your house if you didn’t want to billet an officer. The officers occasionally (or maybe more often I’m not sure) raping the women left behind that they billeted with and referring to them as whores (usually with wherever they’re from in front of it Polish/French/Italian/etc). The abuse and regular violence people were subjected to whenever the SS/Wehrmacht felt like delivering it. The threat of death or concentration camp hanging over everyone’s heads. All of it.

It’s an emotional book. It makes you feel things. What it makes you feel depends on your views of the war and how people were treated and any past history you personally have. It’s seriously a your mileage may vary book.

I enjoyed reading it. Had I been in a worse state of mind the rape would have completely shut me down for at least a week. Luckily though, I was in one of my better moods to read that and have it slightly surprised on me (though it shouldn’t have because I KNOW the things that go on in wars so that’s kind of my own fault on that for not fully thinking that through).

This book offers some interesting views on family, survival of self through different horrors, and world war 2. It was well written and some of it probably COULD have been cut out. It’s all tied together nicely including all the loose ends.

Buy it here:

Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Kobo|ibooks|Google Play|ebooks|Powells|IndieBound|Books A Million 

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