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Nightingale Hardcover – 3 February 2015
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Praise for The Nightingale:Haunting, action-packed, and compelling. --Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author Absolutely riveting!...Read this book. --Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute Beautifully written and richly evocative. --Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author "A hauntingly rich WWII novel about courage, brutality, love, survival--and the essence of what makes us human." --Family Circle "A heart-pounding story." --USA Today An enormous story. Richly satisfying. I loved it. --Anne Rice A respectful and absorbing page-turner. --Kirkus Reviews Tender, compelling...a satisfying slice of life in Nazi-occupied France. --Jewish Book Council "Expect to devour The Nightingale in as few sittings as possible; the high-stakes plot and lovable characters won't allow any rest until all of their fates are known." --Shelf Awareness I loved The Nightingale. --Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestselling author Powerful...an unforgettable portrait of love and war. --People
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (3 February 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312577222
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312577223
- Dimensions : 16.03 x 3.61 x 23.95 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 37,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Two particular issues:
- there were too many glaring inaccuracies. Some literary licence is acceptable, but for many basic facts that were not essential to the story, it was unacceptable. The author had scant knowledge of French people, French/Spanish Geography or the history of WW2 France. The author actually thanked someone in the acknowledgements for ensuring the accuracy of the story. She would have done better to spend a bit of time on google.
- my biggest bug bear though was the way the "heroine" kept referring to the fact that she was just a "girl" who was achieving such heroics and fooling the Gestapo. Added to this, the Author claimed the stories of women in the French resistance were ignored. This is totally wrong. There were many very brave women in the resistance undertaking very dangerous and important work. These were French women as well as other Allied women smuggled into France by Britain's SOE (intelligence). Their stories have been told both in fiction and biographies. And the Gestapo were well aware of this and treated any captured female resistance fighters very brutally.
It was the story of the "quiet" sister that was most believable and interesting. She was a stalwart yet still saved the lives of many Jewish children despite great dangers. This is typical of many women in Europe at this time.
I cannot resist these 2 little notes to the author
- The Germans did not smash through the Maginot Line. They knew this was impossible so went around it through Belgium and Holland. That is well known.
- antibiotics were not available until 1944 (penicillin). Although the very crude sulpha drugs were available earlier, they were not in the form or for the purpose described. So why include it?
This book does a great disservice to the strength and bravery of many women during this difficult time in history.
This book was beautifully written and very easy to understand.
It is a very long book and I found myself bored and slowly losing interest in the first 30% of the book but I'm so glad I pushed through it and kept reading because once I got half way through I couldn't put the book down.
Very nicely written yet so heartbreaking. Don't read this book without a box of tissues. I don't often cry during books but the Nightingale had me in tears.
I knew very little about the second world war while reading this book but I'm so glad I decided to read it anyway because now I feel like I have a better understanding of the impact that families dealt with during this traumatic time.
I lived with them through the pain & hardships, very few authors have the ability to involve me so thoroughly in the lives of the protagonists.
Top reviews from other countries
The research for the book is lamentable. There are glaring historical, cultural and geographical inaccuracies that detract from the story. There are also plot errors and straightforward mistakes littering the text. It would be unfair to expose the main errors as it will spoil the plot for anyone wishing to read the book, but for example, the main town in which the story is set, the fictional Carriveau, starts in German occupied France not far from Orleans or Tours. Toward the end of the story it has moved a few hundred miles south to be near Oradour sur Glane, not far from Limoges. Members of the French resistance forget which are pseudonyms and which are real names. Laurence Olivier is considered an appropriate name to avoid attention. A giant steel wheel becomes a stone wheel in the course of just one paragraph.
The author appears to have cobbled together scenes from most of the famous second world war novels: Schindlers List, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Book Thief. At one point it appeared as if a Tale of Two Cities was going to make an appearance. The effect is of a massive cliché and a desperate lack of originality.
There is an obsession in making the two heroines stronger than the men. For example, a starved, weakened nineteen year old woman is made out to be stronger than young, fit, well trained airmen.
The writing itself varies in quality. At times, especially at the beginning, it isn’t bad, but it does become repetitive and sentimental. There are times it descends from an historical novel to become something of a farce like the TV series Allo Allo, and becomes something of an insult to the brave women in particular who fought with the resistance in the second world war.
However, what the book does have is an engaging story line, hook and pace. Although risible and sentimental in places, it is never boring and I read it to the end. The shame is that with a few more edits and better research, it could have been something special.
There were references to the smell of hay in April in France (wrong season!), hummingbirds on roses in a French garden (hummingbirds don’t live in France and don’t feed on roses!), misspelt German words, plenty of typos in English.
It just didn’t at all evoke France/continental Europe (I’m Swiss).
The success of this book flies in the face of the authors of historical novels who meticulously research their field.
First of all, Isabelle's code name, Anyone who has read even a single book about undercover work during the wars would know that the first rule in giving an agent a code name is that it does not even hint at the agent's real identity. Now Isabelle's surname is Rosignol. Her code name is The Nightingale. Rosignol means nightingale in French. I rest my case.
My second criticism has to do with Isabelle's character. We first get to know her as a wild, rebellious, hard-headed teenager who always gets her own way. We are supposed to believe that overnight, without any gradual coming-of-age moments, she turns into a mature and selfless heroine capable of leading grown men over mountains she has only navigated once in her life, risking life and limb to do so, obeying orders like a docile little lamb. Sorry, no!