The Nightingale

  • by Kristin Hannah
  • Narrated by Polly Stone
  • 17 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award, Fiction, 2016
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
France, 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.


Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, February 2015 - I haven't listened to a book as moving or as heart-wrenching as The Nightingale in a long time. Set in France during WWII, Kristin Hannah's tale follows two sisters as they fight against the Nazis in very different, but equally important, ways. The young, vivacious, and impetuous Isabelle believes she has little in common with her older sister, Vianne, but the two possess a bravery and willful determination that few could match. Hannah’s novel kept me engaged with brief, mysterious sojourns to the 1990s amidst her 1940s narrative, effortlessly traveling between the United States, Paris, and the French countryside. This story has stayed with me all year, and I’m thrilled that it’s Audible’s Best Book of 2015. —Katie, Audible Editor


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Heroic & Harrowing Work Of Fiction

I have mixed feelings about this intense work of fiction. This is probably because I have read several books of nonfiction recently about France during WWII and the Vichy Regime. Some of the information presented in this book contradicts the actual history of the time. Additionally, if you know Paris well you will balk at the street locations and distances between places mentioned in the story. I found myself torn about pushing on with the book because of these problems. In the end, I allowed the excellent storytelling to override my concerns and treated the book as a compelling work of fiction.

Polly Stone's narration was really good. Her timing and accents added to the experience of listening. For me, she was a positive, but do listen to the sample because others disagree.

Be forewarned that this story is not for the faint of heart. Women and children in peril, torture, extreme violence and the horrors of war are all strong themes. Hannah's writing captured the emotions and fears of women in war forced to make difficult and impossible decisions. A harrowing, heartbreaking, and terrifying listening experience. If actual historic facts matter to you or if you are disturbed by violence I would proceed with caution.
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- Sara


There have been many books written about WWII and I have read many of them. For that reason I almost passed up this gem. It's a powerful, thought-provoking look at this horrible time in history from the very intimate perspective of a woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend. It's about impossible choices, strength of the human spirit, endurance beyond imagining and hope. A stark reminder that not only men, but also women, were heroes in that war.

It's a long book, but I never felt it to drag. The narration was very well done. And I found myself wanting to stop along the way to reflect on situations and decisions characters had made and ask myself, "What would you have done?" There are many moral dilemmas in this book, none of which are easy. How far would you go to protect your child?

It was well worth the credit. The best book I've listened to in the past twelve months.
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- sweetgrassfarmgirl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-03-2015
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio