Kristin Hannah Pages: 564 Published: 2015
The book: France, August 1939. Vianne, a teacher, her husband, Antoine, and their daughter, Sophie, live in the Loire Valley. Life seems good, but then Antoine is drafted into the French Army. Isabelle, Vianne’s estranged, rebellious sister, is expelled from boarding school and makes her way to Paris, where she plans to live with her father. World War II begins and life gets harder in both Paris and the Loire Valley. As the Germans overrun France, what will happen to Vianne and her family? Where will Isabell’s rebellious streak take her? Into danger? Will the family survive the war?
You might like it because: This is a marvelous story of love, perseverance, and bravery that is inspired by real people. It’s fast paced, with lots of plot twists that keep you turning the pages
What did other people say?
“An unforgettable portrait of love and war.” – People
“Hannah’s proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale. Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.”- Kirkus Reviews
Awards & Recognition:
#1 New York Times bestseller
Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year
How quickly will you get into the book? The book was interesting from the start, and within the first 45 pages or so I knew I’d have to keep reading. It was hard to put down.
You might not like it because: At several points in the story, elements of the plot feel unrealistic or implausible. The love story sub-plots, at times, seem to detract from the stories of bravery and defiance that were inspired by real people.
What might you read next?
In a New York Times interview, Hannah was asked who her favorite writers were. She listed a few, one of whom was Yaa Gyasi. Read her novel Homegoing.
When asked what her favorite works of historical fiction were, The Shadow of the Wind was one she listed. It was also the book she says she most often recommends to bookclubs.
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