Review by Steve E. Clark
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah ( St. Martin ’ south Press ) begins with a backstory of an aged charwoman in Oregon planning to return to France. At that time we don ’ t know what her character was in World War II, but figure it was highly traumatic .
flashback to 1939. Two sisters lost their mother when they were young. Their father is a World War I veteran—traumatized, aloof, about inert to their lives. The younger Isabelle is shipped off to versatile finish schools where she can ’ t seem to finish because of her raucous insubordination. The older, Viann gets fraught and is married off at the senesce of 17. Both girls are angry at their harsh father but Isabelle besides hates Viann for not taking her in and keeping her in board schools .
As the war begins Viann ’ sulfur conserve is ordered to report to the army, leaving Viann entirely with their daughter. Isabelle escapes from another school and tries to rejoin her forefather who owns a bookshop in Paris.
France loses the war and is occupied by german troops. Isabelle, coherent with her disaffected demeanor joins the french electric resistance and spends the war escorting downed allied pilots through the Pyrenees Mountains to Spain. Viann ’ second home is requisitioned by german forces and she is forced to live with a Wehrmacht captain and later a Gestapo or SS officeholder .
The Wehrmacht guy is pleasant and Viann finds herself attracted to him although nothing ever happens between them. He is killed and an SS officeholder moves in. The SS man rapes Viann repeatedly up until when the Germans evacuate France in 1944. In the end there is a cunning braid of reconciliation and martyrdom that leaves the lector with a strong find .
A great take right ? not for me. I was so dismay by the numerous historical errors that I about put the record down in the second gear chapter. hera are a few clear mistakes :
Isabelle is inspired by Edith Cavell, the british nurse who was executed by the Germans for spying early on in World War I. According to Isabelle nurse Cavell rescued hundreds of down ally pilots. Nevermind the fact that there weren ’ t hundreds of allied planes in the air in 1914, she did help some british soldiers cutoff by the advancing forces of the Kaiser return to British lines—perhaps a finical point but if a character was rightfully fascinated by the fib the character would surely know something adenine basic as who it was Cavell was executed for assisting .
Hannah uses a fabricated town, Carriveau, as the arrange of her ledger. here is where the plot begins to run into problems. She has Isabelle leave Paris for the south precisely before the Germans arrive so Carriveau has to be south of Paris and near the Loire valley. But in regulate for it to be full of Nazis it can ’ thyroxine be in the Vichy zone of France which was not occupied by Germany after the Armistice. Although Carriveau is a little township the writer has to lever a large german contingent in it and therefore invents a Luftwaffe airbase. Why the Germans would establish an airbase south of Paris for the struggle of Britain is never explained. Because there ’ s no explanation—it would have been farcical .
Herr Captain Beck is introduced as a Wehrmacht military officer but obviously has time to spare for making lists of Jews, homosexuals, and freemasons living in Carriveau. At this point in the war rounding up these “ undesirables ” was the job of the SS and the Gestapo, not the Wehrmacht. Wehrmacht officers saw postings in occupy France as much a vacation and were under stern orders from army instruction to treat french civilians with topmost civility. Hitler hoped that thoroughly behavior would minimize resistor. Wehrmacht officers would consider it beneath their dignity to round up Jews .
surely occupied France was no cinch for the french and many people went without, but there was basically no resistance movement to speak of until it began to look like Germany might lose the war. Nevertheless Isabelle seems to be the first child on her barricade to join the resistor.
At one point a sympathetic Beck sees Viann ’ second child is ill, leaves and amazingly returns with antibiotics for respiratory illnesses. Nevermind that oral antibiotics were not available until about 1946 .
Ms. Hannah besides never once refers to Beck as “ german ”. He is constantly labeled a “ Nazi ” as are all the occupying soldiers. In 1940 only 7 % of all Germans were members of the Nazi party. With military success those numbers did upgrade, but many Wehrmacht officers who were happy to enjoy the fruits of victory, however despised the Nazi party and the SS. The german military ’ s dub for the SS was asphalt soldiers. From her descriptions of Captain Beck as the decent guy who sneaks extra food to Viann and her family it seems highly unlikely that he would be a truthful “ Nazi. ”
A friend of Viann ’ s daughter hear to escape to unoccupied France and has her breast “ riddled with fastball holes. ” Yet somehow she survives long enough to return to the village and die in her mother ’ randomness arms. No adult let alone a child could survive multiple chest wounds from a high-powered military rifle or machine grease-gun. A child would be lucky to survive one in the chest, let entirely be “ riddled. ” That ’ s why they use firing squads to kill deserters. The victim is going to die on the point .
Central to the diagram is Ms. Isabelle ’ second workplace in the underground see downed allied pilots out of France to the Pyrenees Mountains. valued little contingent is offered on how this is accomplished other than giving Isabelle juke identity papers. There is no mention that the female child has any batch climbing feel – the Pyrenees are up to 11,000 feet high- or that she was particularly athletic – or what they did with pilots who had been wounded or how they were able to stroll a few hundred miles out of the state .
The Nightingale ends with a lovefest accumulate of the relatives of pilots “ saved ” by Isabelle 60 years after the war. The bumpkinly proofreader is left with the depression that Isabelle saved the pilots ’ lives thereby indirectly creating the lives of the pilots ’ children who are among the gather in Paris. The scene is a mirror image of the ending of Schindler ’ sulfur List .
Has Ms. Hannah never watched Stalag 17 or The bang-up Escape ? on late television ? One would not have to do much research to realize Germany did not shoot capture pilots. Airmen were valuable for intelligence and for the most region they were well treated by the Luftwaffe to the extent that Germany had the capacity to feed and sign of the zodiac its prisoners. Keep in mind—Germany was attacking Britain at this time. Did they want their pilots summarily shot after they parachuted into Britain ?
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probably the worst howler monkey of all was when Isabelle, while walking around Paris after oeuvre one evening, comes upon an RAF pilot in fully uniform who relates that he was shot down near Reims and has somehow made his way 140 kilometers into a city swarming with Germans. Did he take a aim ? Or did he rent a car from Hertz ? Hitchhike ? This is another distributor point at which I closely threw the book in the pan, but decided there had to be something to justify “ Best Seller status ” and 22 other novels by Ms. Hannah .
If you like gratifying mawkishness with a memorable plot writhe The Nightingale is a effective take. If you want historical fabrication that is reasonably accurate don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate touch this book .
Steve E Clark as seen in the New York Times is Author of Justice Is for the Lonely and Justice Is for the Deserving. Kristen Kerry Novels Of Suspense. Steve is besides a outstanding medical malpractice trial lawyer in Oklahoma. Want to know more about Steve Clark or read more reviews ? Learn more about Steve on his web site www.SteveClarkAuthor.com