The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Nightingale


Isabelle: Isabelle is the spunky daughter of Julian and younger sister of Vianne. She's rebellious and gets kicked out of school a lot. She is eager to fight the Germans with no sense of concern for her own well being. She takes dozens of downed allied pilots over the mountains of France into Spain. Then she gets sent to a concentration camp and does not do so well. Her codename is Nightingale and her false identity is Juliette Gervaise. A lot of names just for one girl!

Vianne: Vianne, the older sister of Isabelle, lives in a small village in France called Carriveau. I have never heard of a tiny village with so many vowels. Anyway, Vianne is married to Antoine but he only appears for a bit of sex at the very beginning and end of the book, right after he gets cuckolded by a mean SS officer who impregnates Vianne. Vianne and her daughter Sophie must cope with the German occupation. Vianne has to fight the urge to spread her legs for the German Captain Beck, who lives with her. When she is not trading longing looks with Beck, she is busy saving Jews. At first Vianne is passive about the invasion and criticizes Isabelle for getting involved in the resistance movement, but over time Vianne gets involved too when she starts to save Jewish children from going to the concentration camps. Later she has rough sex with an SS officer and gets impregnated with a Nazi rape baby.

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Captain Wolfgang Beck: Captain Beck is the German army officer who is sent to live in Vianne's house. He is very kind and gentle, brings food to Vianne, and in nearly every scene he is in you can tell he wants to bone Vianne. He even assists Vianne helping a Jewish family to escape and brings forged papers so a Jewish baby can survive. His subtle romance with Vianne, however, ends suddenly when she hits him over the head with a shovel and Isabelle shoots him dead.

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