The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah has a new book out, The Great Alone.  After we received it from the publishers I realized I hadn't read any of her books, so I checked out The Nightingale.  What a great story!  If you read and liked All the Light We Cannot See you'll like this book too.  It takes place in occupied France during World War II, and follows a family whose members are, each in his or her own way, members of the French Resistance.  As with so much historical fiction, this book brings the reader into a world that is unlike anything she or he has ever encountered (hopefully!).  We all know the basics about WW2, but I at least knew very little about all the things the Resistance did, especially the women.

Actually, I'd be interested in reading a novel about the French collaborators, but it's harder to see them in any sort of heroic light so I'll probably be waiting for a while before I encounter such a story.  Have you ever noticed that you can rarely find stories about the "bad" people of the world (unless it's a thriller)?  For example, we have quite a few children's books about kids who are bullied, and how they cope, but it's hard to find anything written from the bully's point of view.  Particularly an unrepentant bully. 

One of the images I especially liked in The Nightingale was that of an apple tree in the farm yard.  In the beginning of the story it is healthy and bears sweet red apples, but as the story (the war) progresses the tree dies.  One of the heroines uses its branches to hang pieces of fabric in remembrance of her loved ones and, as time goes by, the tree carries more and more of this new and sorrowful kind of fruit.  Cool idea.


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