For February’s Book Club pick, I’m choosing Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, a novel so good I dragged Tony to the holocaust museum on our 6-month wedding anniversary to see their special exhibit, “Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration & Complicity in the Holocaust,” which was the backdrop for this page-turning story. Set during WWII, it’s not about the soldiers or the war front, but rather what was happening to the people left behind – primarily, the women, children and men deemed to old to fight. All at once, it’s a love story, a story of survival and (most interesting of all), the quieter, less-celebrated acts of heroism by women. At its heart are two French sisters in German-occupied France: Vianne, a meek housewife left alone when her husband goes to serve, and whose home is shortly thereafter requisitioned by a Nazi whom she and her daughter must live with. And Isabelle, her rebellious 18-year-old sister, who joins the Resistance (the Maquis, a rural band of French guerilla fighters that I was fascinated to read about at the museum yesterday). Both face horrific situations and help turn the tide of the war in their own way. It’s a story I hadn’t read about WWII yet, about the everyday choices the everyday people who weren’t off fighting made – to help their neighbors, or to collaborate with the Nazis and inform on them – that shaped the outcome of the war, and I could not put it down.
What are you reading right now? If you’re keeping up with the book club, have you loved any of my picks?
For past book club books, get over here!