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The Nightingale

Narrated by: Polly Stone
Length: 17 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (708 ratings)
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Summary

Two sisters. One must be brave. One should be afraid. Bravery, courage, fear, and love in a time of war. Despite their differences sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close.

Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann is content with life in the French countryside with her husband, Antoine, and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight, and Viann finds herself isolated, so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters' relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

Vivid and exquisite in its illumination of a time and place that was filled with atrocities but also humanity and strength, Kristin Hannah's novel will provoke thought and discussion that will have readers talking long after they finish listening.

©2015 Kristin Hannah (P)2015 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lynda
  • Dundee, United Kingdom
  • 17-10-17

hreatbreaking and horrifying story

unputdownable account of living in occupied France. An American narrator just didn't sit right with me from the beginning put her French accents were ok and I got used to it. However her Irish sounding Welshman was hysterical and her Americanized pronunciation of the word nightingale was unforgivable. A little bit twee in places too but a recommended read.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

My only criticism of the narration..

My only criticism of the narration was that she read the Welsh character with an Irish accent. As a British person it is instantly infuriating when narrators just presume that's the same thing. A simple bit of research would have been better so she could have got it right. Other than that she did a great job, I could always tell which character was speaking.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enthralling story of courage and survival

What did you like most about The Nightingale?

It had me hooked from the first chapter. A story of survival in France during the German occupation World War II and what the French women had to do to survive, keep their children safe as well as many being active members of the French resistance. There is a strong story line running throughout and I was sorry when I reached the end!

What other book might you compare The Nightingale to, and why?

No comparison immediately comes to mind

What about Polly Stone’s performance did you like?

Enjoyed her style and the several accents she used to give the reader a sense of location and depth to the characters.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Relive the struggle of survival in occupied France through the lives of two courageous sisters

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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AMAZING

Like all good books this was slow to start. I found myself struggling a little. Then the drama kicked in and I couldn't wait to find more jobs to do so I could listen to more!

I finished this book crying at the injustice of the war and what people went through in the holocaust. Brave strong people.

Loved it

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Just Wonderful

Beautifully read and I was drawn into the story straightaway. Tears at the end. A view of how it was in France during the war whether you were passive or wanted to fight back. My first Kristin Hannah book so I will look for others but read by Polly Stone and she had me hanging on her every word with her wonderfully soft French accent. Loved the way she said 'Isabel'.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic fantastic fantastic

An excellent account of the 2nd world war in France and what the women left behind endured to survive the war. The lengths they went too protect their friends, family and the airmen who would ultimately save them.

Absolutely fantastic!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sue
  • fordingbridge, United Kingdom
  • 30-01-16

Heartbreaking but addictive

I just could not wait to hear more and more of this tale.
The writing led me into a deep understanding of the characters.
Honestly the perfect book for me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing story

A thought provoking and heart wrenching story. The descriptive writing is inspiring and this helps creature an great depth of emotion.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

bittersweet!

family values, tear jerking, amazing!wonderful lessons easily forgotten today. love one another and turn every closed door into a gate. sums up life.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Then and now

Tremendous read. Emotional, riveting, sad, realistic, horrifying, admirable. Story handled well - bringing the past into the now. The reader is there with the characters, with the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue @Crushingcinders
  • 24-06-17

Beautiful

What did you like best about this story?

The book ended with me in tears – as almost all great books do. My last notes are monosyllables: brilliant, sad, love, forgiveness, courage, courage, courage…

Any additional comments?

While the novel is written in the third person, the intermittent glimpse to the future (1995) is narrated by one of the sisters (it is not clear for the majority of the book which sister this is) in the first person. This glimpse forward with its unmistakable hindsight adds an element of mystery to the story which I loved

I am drawn to WWII books, in particular, those set in occupied France. I don’t know why – they are almost always sad and I tend to question what I would have done in the same situation… I know I courage would have failed me and that doesn’t lead to happy thoughts. But it is why I found myself drawn to Vianne whose courage didn’t come easy.@crushingcinders

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Victoria Roberts
  • 12-04-16

excellent story, frustrating narration problems

If you could sum up The Nightingale in three words, what would they be?

bittersweet, intriguing, formidable.

Any additional comments?

Great story of two sisters in occupied France during WWII.

Audio review - Narrator had a great voice but didnt bother to learn french pronunciation of common french words / phrases which were scattered throughout the story. So she stuck with mispronouncing them the whole way through which was quite annoying.

Secondly it was obvious where she had re-recorded snippets, a sentence here and there where she didnt even bother to match her voice to her previous reading, sometimes when speaking as a character! This was really poor form. The volume levels when this happened were also out, indicating that nobody even bothered mixing the volume tracks to match where there had been breaks.

These audio issues really destroyed the storytelling. I would only recommend this book for reading, not listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs
  • 27-11-18

Engrossing story

I really enjoyed the listen but jarred on the poor pronunciation of so many words, which I found irritating. It is a pity that common French words were mispronounced. Some details were also a bit hard to believe ... simple folk swigging Bollinger?

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  • Mr Brian Mather
  • 21-10-18

fantastic read

great book, could not put it down.
well written.
I would highly recommend this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • libby farrell
  • 18-08-18

The story of women in wartime.

This book is beautifully written and beautifully read.
It's Heart breaking yet leaves you uplifted.
I couldn't put it down.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • cmtbookies
  • 07-08-18

outstanding

I could not put this book down. This is my second book by this author and I love the depth of the characters and the mystery that is weaved through the story to the end.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • 28-10-17

Loved it!

What a fantastic story, engaging characters beautiful performance and an enlightening read.

If you enjoy historical fiction told with compassion balanced with raw truth then this is for you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Taryn
  • 01-03-17

A story and performance that will stay with you!

I've recently read/listened to a lot of historical fiction set around WWII. The Nightingale stands out for me not only for the way the author is effortlessly able to transport you back to that time in a heartbeat, but she encapsulates the nuances of relationships, hardships, horrors, beauty and strength of the time. The storyline, characters and performance will stay with me for a lifetime. Thank you Kristin Hannah and Polly Stone for your gifts.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • M Williams
  • 19-08-16

A 'must read' book

This beautifully told story was hard to put down and will stay with me for a very long time. It has left me in wonderment of the human spirit, especially that of a mother. I'm also left with a deeply sad reminder of the inhumanity and horror that exists in this world.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • jane
  • 26-07-16

Good story

So long as I parked the odd continuity issues this was an enjoyable read - a good story from WWII. Showing the challenges for french women surviving, and holding true to their values