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The Nightingale Audiobook

The Nightingale Audiobook

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, February 2015 - I haven't listened to a book as moving or as heart-wrenching as The Nightingale in a long time. Set in France during WWII, Kristin Hannah's tale follows two sisters as they fight against the Nazis in very different, but equally important, ways. The young, vivacious, and impetuous Isabelle believes she has little in common with her older sister, Vianne, but the two possess a bravery and willful determination that few could match. Hannah’s novel kept me engaged with brief, mysterious sojourns to the 1990s amidst her 1940s narrative, effortlessly traveling between the United States, Paris, and the French countryside. This story has stayed with me all year, and I’m thrilled that it’s Audible’s Best Book of 2015. —Katie, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award, Fiction, 2016

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

France, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

©2015 Kristin Hannah (P)2015 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Sara 08-21-15
    Sara 08-21-15

    Avid Reader

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    "Heroic & Harrowing Work Of Fiction"

    I have mixed feelings about this intense work of fiction. This is probably because I have read several books of nonfiction recently about France during WWII and the Vichy Regime. Some of the information presented in this book contradicts the actual history of the time. Additionally, if you know Paris well you will balk at the street locations and distances between places mentioned in the story. I found myself torn about pushing on with the book because of these problems. In the end, I allowed the excellent storytelling to override my concerns and treated the book as a compelling work of fiction.

    Polly Stone's narration was really good. Her timing and accents added to the experience of listening. For me, she was a positive, but do listen to the sample because others disagree.

    Be forewarned that this story is not for the faint of heart. Women and children in peril, torture, extreme violence and the horrors of war are all strong themes. Hannah's writing captured the emotions and fears of women in war forced to make difficult and impossible decisions. A harrowing, heartbreaking, and terrifying listening experience. If actual historic facts matter to you or if you are disturbed by violence I would proceed with caution.

    144 of 157 people found this review helpful
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    sweetgrassfarmgirl sweetgrassfarm,WA USA 02-17-15
    sweetgrassfarmgirl sweetgrassfarm,WA USA 02-17-15 Member Since 2009
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    "HEARTBREAKINGLY POIGNANT AND INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL"

    There have been many books written about WWII and I have read many of them. For that reason I almost passed up this gem. It's a powerful, thought-provoking look at this horrible time in history from the very intimate perspective of a woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend. It's about impossible choices, strength of the human spirit, endurance beyond imagining and hope. A stark reminder that not only men, but also women, were heroes in that war.

    It's a long book, but I never felt it to drag. The narration was very well done. And I found myself wanting to stop along the way to reflect on situations and decisions characters had made and ask myself, "What would you have done?" There are many moral dilemmas in this book, none of which are easy. How far would you go to protect your child?

    It was well worth the credit. The best book I've listened to in the past twelve months.

    158 of 175 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. Rendon 03-11-15
    V. Rendon 03-11-15
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    "Wow"

    Full time doctoral studies and full time work leaves no time for reading. I bought this book on Audible and it would keep me company on my hour commute to and from work. The story line is great-I can identify with Isabel, with her speak before thinking attitude.

    I found myself laughing, crying, dropping my jaw in shock and disgust and didn't want to stop listening. I wish the book didn't end.

    I highly recommend this book on Audible. The different character voices and current pronunciation of French words was better than I could have attempted!
    You won't regret it.

    112 of 126 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. parkinson 05-18-15 Member Since 2015

    Tell me a story

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    "Beautifully heartbreaking!"

    This book was not what I was expecting. For some reason I thought this was going to be a romance novel, boy was I wrong! Even though I was wrong about what this book was about, it was an amazing and beautiful novel! I'm grateful I got the experience of this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction.

    32 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel USA 02-14-15
    Mel USA 02-14-15 Member Since 2009
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    "A bird that roared"


    After reading the publisher's summary in Audible's *Featured Pre-Orders,* I was drawn to The Nightingale -- I have an obsession with the history of early twentieth century France, particularly the Inter War period and the few years after WWII. Unfamiliar with Hannah's body of work, I read that her oeuvre was *female fiction,* repeatedly compared to other authors I have chosen not to read. That translated to concern that I would be disappointed with the author, and by a book that inaccurately used history to piggy back on a saccharine love story. Not what I was looking for.

    It was this line from the Kirkus Review that perfectly addressed my worries and sold me on this book: "Hannah’s new novel is an homage to the extraordinary courage and endurance of Frenchwomen during World War II." Hannah's skillful writing, and forceful story telling ability quickly became apparent and convinced me The Nightingale was a perfect choice.

    As the story begins, the reader knows only that the novel is about two disparate sisters during the WWII Nazi occupation of France. From one of those sisters, now placed in a nursing home in Oregon, USA, the tale of survival is unraveled, but which surviving sister narrates the history remains unknown until the novel's end...and I hung onto the book until that ending and wished the story could've gone on.

    Sisters Vianne and Isabelle are polar opposites, even in their individual strengths: Vianne is compassionate with the strengths we know as *a mother's-love,* wise and thoughtful; while the younger Isabelle is defiant, fearless, and recklessly brave -- opposites, but equally formidable. Each of their paths are harrowing and absorbing. On the home-front, Vianne must protect her daughter while fighting starvation, freezing winters, and the degradation from German soldiers. In silent horror, she watches as her friends and neighbors are branded with the Jewish star, then gathered into wagons and trains, often leaving infants behind alone. Even a rumor started from jealousy, or a false accusation can be deathly under the brutal Gestapo's presence. Young and compulsive, Isabelle defies the occupation openly until an event brings soldiers too close to their home. She realizes that for the protection of Vianne and her daughter, she must flee. She joins the Resistance and becomes a guide secretly transporting injured Allied airmen over the Pyrenees into Spain. [Isabelle's surname, Rossignol, is the French word for nightingale.]

    Having read my share of French history, I was impressed with the historical accuracy of the story (though this was in part a love story that added little more than some quasi-romance). Many of the events were echoes of history books I've read and it was gratifying to see that Hannah did not treat the civilians as *landscape* and marginalize those poor souls caught in the crossfire of war. This was a riveting story, excellently told and narrated well (I will leave the accuracy of the French accent to those more knowledgeable than my HS French; it did not impede the story for me). It is worth mentioning that though this is fiction, Hannah said her idea for the story was ignited by a real incident she read about...and there are too many real incidents out there, both historical and current.
    Recommend.

    **It is estimated that 350,00 French civilians died during the German occupation, not from bombs or fighting, but from: crimes against humanity, famine, disease and "military acting out." This war preceded Article 27 of the Geneva Convention; females were considered *carnal booty.* Since 1949 Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits wartime rape and enforced prostitution. In a speech to the United nations Security Council in 2008, Retired Major General Patrick Cammart stated,
    “It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in an armed conflict.” Sadly, we haven't made much progress.

    189 of 227 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Destry 02-14-15
    Destry 02-14-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Great book"

    This is a great novel. It does everything a novel is supposed to and leaves you drained at the end. In all three criteria Audible asks for, it is easily five star. Do yourself a favor and don't miss this one. Just a note about Polly Stone the narrator. She is very, very good and maintains a level that matches the quality of the novel. Her work helped make this such a wonderful experience.

    64 of 79 people found this review helpful
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    Anthony Vacca 02-08-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Moving, inspiring, excellent writing!"

    This was an extremely well-written story. The characters seem real and evoked emotional highs and lows for the reader. I highly recommend this book for any reader and plan to have my teenage daughter sit down and read this book with me.

    This is now my favorite book and I have many many to compare! Excellent writing and beautiful reading!

    47 of 58 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 02-07-15
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 02-07-15 Member Since 2010

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

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    "S-l-o-w start but great finish."

    This is a tough book to review. It would be easy to include a spoiler and that's not fair to other readers. So, I'll stay clear of that and do the best I can.

    This is the first Kristin Hannah book for me and I didn't really know what to expect. With all the advance press, I was hoping for something equal to, say, "The Goldfinch" for this year's list of greats. Yes, it's good - but it's not going to make that list for me.

    Though there's never a shortage of WWII books in fiction, there have never been enough books about the huge contribution women made to the war. I'm always pleased when one comes along that I think will capture new readers. I don't think this book comes close to "Code Name Verity" in quality, but there's no question it will generate great word-of-mouth and be a book club favorite.

    As to the book itself, I wish I could rate it in two halves. The first half for me was ho-hum. Let's be generous and call it good. It took me a very long time to get into it. The narrator didn't help much. She's adequate, but really doesn't enhance the experience in any way. For quite a while I wondered if I could endure but pushed on anyway. I'm glad I did. Things changed.

    About at half time, the storyline thickened and it became a compelling listen. All the set up on the characters paid off. Closer to the end when the author brings the whole thing around, she really ties it up beautifully. I'd even call it great.

    Is it "Winds of War" caliber? Nope. But that book will never get a new flock of readers and social media buzz where this one just might. If it helps a new generation know what women did during the war, it will have done its job.

    91 of 115 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 10-05-15
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    "Narrator is unbearable"

    Could not listen to this for more than an hour. The narrator uses cartoonish voices when the characters are speaking and also attempts a horrific French accent. Sad because the story looks good, however I will be returning this one.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tony Damiani 11-17-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Some good moments"

    A mildly compelling story well read but somewhat cliché. If you enjoy historical novels this may be worth your time

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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