Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Available February 3rd: The Nightingale

***3/5 stars

“How can I start at the beginning, when all I can think about is the end?”

Recommended readers:

  • If you liked The Girl You Left Behind,
  • If you are a fan of WWII fiction,
  • And if you might be interested in reading about the war in France from a unique angle, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3/5 overall


It may be a coincidence of my own interests, but WWII fiction seems to be taking center stage in historical fiction these days.  This time, in The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah brings us the story of two sisters in war torn France, each surviving the war in her own way. One waits for her husband to return, struggling to protect her daughter and reckon with the German officer billeted in her home.  The other, young and rebellious, becomes a symbol of the French resistance. Hannah’s treatment of the characters, who each bring a distinct voice to the struggle of WWII France, combined with classic storytelling style make this an engaging read.

Available on Amazon

3 thoughts on “Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

  1. I cannot believe you gave this book a 3 rating. Hannah’s character maturation is absolutely stupendous. That alone should rate at least a 4. Then add her plot development, which was excellent, moving both the characters and events along at pace that matched that of the war era in which the story was set and you have a 4 or 4.5 book overall. She covered all aspects of love – sibling, parental, neighborhood, country, ideals, etc. None of it was maudlin. There are so many WW II novels because the past 5 years mark the 70th anniversary of that war. In my opinion, All The Light We Cannot See is the best of those novels and a modern classic, but The Nightingale is definitely up there in the top 10 of this genre.


    1. Hi, Maggie.

      The way someone feels about a book is very personal and arbitrary thing, and I hear you. I don’t even disagree.

      The thing is that I have this pesky scale I imposed on myself back in my early Goodreads days that reserves 5 stars for the mind-blowing novels that change your perspective on the world and make you wish you taught literature, etc. Dramatic things like that.

      Three stars for me means that I liked it through and through, but for whatever reason didn’t carve out time or stay up all night to read, for example. Sometimes I think I should have called such novels a six out five, like saying, “on a scale of one to ten, you’re an eleven!” My top ten favorites is not even populated entirely of five stars, and what kind of sense does that make? Deep down, I have laden guilt over my self-imposed scale and even admitted something to that effect on the “about me” link. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it, even though this is one of those books that makes me regret it a little because it gives something of an inaccurate impression.

      Thanks for disagreeing and bothering to comment! That’s kind of the point of a book community, I think.


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