The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah Summary Study Guide

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Plot Summary Part 2

Beck assures Vianne he only wants it for "clerical" reasons, whatever that means. But Vianne is so under the spell of his handsome German p_nis that she complies, making the list he requests.  Vianne has started to become a collaborator!

Vianne is horrified when her daughter Sophie accepts chocolate from Beck. He is trying to charm her by charming her daughter!

Then Vianne learns that the teachers she identified as Jews and Communists and Homos are being fired. Vianne tells Isabelle she had no idea this would happen when she gave Beck the list of names. She goes to church and seeks forgiveness. Then she goes to her Jewish neighbor Rachel, who was fired, and tells her that she, Vianne, helped get her fired. They both share a good cry over that.

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Vianne comes home to see the Nazis breaking down the wall by her property and stealing her furniture.  She starts to realize that maybe collaborating isn't such a good idea.

Isabelle goes to Paris to work for the resistance. She visits her dad, who immediately tries to throw her out of his home. She refuses to go. She finds out that he is working for the Nazi High Command. He's a collaborator! He's drunk too. And he's mean. But Isabelle desperately needs a place to stay, so refuses to leave. She also takes over her Dad's bookshop to use as a cover so she can meet resistance operatives.

Beck finds out that Vianne's husband is a prisoner of war. He makes it possible for her to send care packages to him. This is yet another way he is trying to get into her pants.

Vianne gets fired from her school teacher job for questioning a Gestapo arrest. Now she will have trouble getting food to eat.

Isabelle discovers a downed British flier and hides him in a hiding hole in her bedroom. Her father hears noises and searches the whole house, including her bedroom, looking for the source. This is a scene full of great tension as he almost discovers the flier. Remember, at this point Isabelle thinks her dad is a German collaborator.

Isabelle takes the flier to the resistance. There she meets Gaetan, who had abandoned her back in her village. Isabelle could "hardly breathe". Obviously, like her sister Vianne, she becomes sexually aroused upon the smallest of stimulations. Gaetan had abandoned her because he felt she wasn't ready to join the resistance but Isabelle isn't mad because she is still in love with him. Remember, they only had a single kiss. That's the entire basis of their romance. Anyone believing this?

Isabelle's father revealed that he knows she hid the British flier in her closet. The flier urinated in the closet and Isabelle's father smelled his urine. At this point her father reveals that he is not in fact a collaborator, as Isabelle thought, but is actually a spy for the resistance, forging documents they need for the war effort. He also reveals he knew all along that Isabelle was working for the resistance.

Isabelle gets two new names. One is Juliette Gervaise, and one is Nightingale. That's why the book is called Nightingale. They also could have called the book Juliette Gervaise, but probably would not have sold as many copies as Nightingale.

Isabelle or Juliette or whatever her name is now agrees to take four Allied fliers over the mountains of southern France into Spain. But these are really, really tall mountains and it is a very long, cold trek. Also if the Nazis find them they probably will not be very nice to them.

Isabelle agrees to go. There's like 50 page describing how cold Isabelle and the fliers are during their long walk. There are many pages describing how they get wet when it rains. More pages describing how tired they are. But eventually they get to Spain, drop the pilots off at the British consulate, and have tacos and enchiladas for all.

Meanwhile, back in Carriveau, Captain Beck has been gone for a while and Vianne misses him. She tells herself it is because Beck brings extra food but we know the real reason. Vianne starts selling her jewelry for food. But she still doesn't have enough money so she gives her food to her whining waste of space daughter, Sophie, and eats less. Then Vianne gets very sick and falls and hits her head on the ground.

Then Beck reappears and brings her food. Here's the latest sexy scene:

The salty, smoky scent of the ham, combined with the slightly stinky aroma of the cheese, intoxicated her, overwhelmed her better intentions, seduced her so thoroughly that there was no choice to be made.

Doesn't this sound like a description of a sex scene?

And then when Sophie gets sick, Beck gives Vianne medicine, and they have another sort-of sex scene:

She took the bottle from him. For a second, they were both holding it. She felt his fingers against hers. Their gazes locked, and something passed between them. (His sperm, perhaps?)

Meanwhile, Jews are forced to wear yellow stars, and Nazis are making lists of Jews. They are deporting the foreign born Jews to concentration camps, but before long they will take all of them. It's starting to get real Holocausty in France.

Beck warns Vianne that Rachel, her Jewish neighbor, should not be "at home" the next day. He is tipping her off that the Nazis are coming for her. Beck even tells her the best escape route.

How likely is this? A German officer helping Jews escape? I know Beck is trying to get into Vianne's pants, but this seems rather unlikely.

Anyway, that night Vianne tries to help Rachel and her daughter Sarah escape but Sarah gets machine gunned.

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