'The Nightingale' sells well, receives critical praise

Kristin Hannah's 'Nightingale' follows two sisters living in World War II-era France.

'The Nightingale' is by Kristin Hannah.

The novel “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah is selling well and receiving some positive reviews. 

“Nightingale,” which was released earlier this month, follows two French sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, living during World War II. After Vianne’s husband leaves for combat, the Germans take up residence in Vianne’s home. Meanwhile, Isabelle falls in love but, once she is betrayed by her paramour, decides to become part of the Resistance. 

The book ranked at number five on the IndieBound hardcover fiction bestseller list for the week of Feb. 19 and it’s at number five on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list for the week of March 1.

Amazon selected the novel as one of the best books to be released this month and Amazon editorial director Sara Nelson predicted it would be a novel the public would be hearing a lot about. “This is going to be a huge book,” she said. 

Barnes & Noble staff called the book “penetrating,” while Library Journal writer Julia M. Reffner of Midlothian, Va. called the book “full of emotion and heart.” 

Meanwhile, Shelf Awareness writer Jaclyn Fulwood wrote that Hannah “delves unflinchingly into a time and place when the world was at war…. With her instinct for capturing family dynamics and female relationships, Hannah offers her fans everything they've come to love and expect in her writing. She shows how war creates circumstances that bring out the best and the worst in humanity. Spanning the entire war, Hannah's epic is an emotional powerhouse that lays bare the human heart's capacity for courage, compassion and resilience.”

Kirkus Reviews staff found that “[Hannah’s] tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale” but noted that Vianne’s story is “no less wrenching” than her sister’s and that the book is “vivid…. a respectful and absorbing page-turner.”

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