“She was wiser than she’d been before. Now she knew how fragile life and love were. Maybe she would love him for only this day, or maybe for only the next week, or maybe until she was an old, old woman. Maybe he would be the love of her life… or her love for the duration of this war… or maybe he would only be her first love. All she really knew was that in this terrible, frightening world, she had stumbled into something unexpected. And she would not let it go again.” – Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale First, let me paint a picture for you: me, sitting in my business clothes in Chipotle at 1:00 P.M. on a Wednesday, weeping over my chicken bowl because this book has ALL the feels. Literally could not hold in my sobs. It was like reliving Dumbledore dying all.over.again. And while I’d truly like to apologize profusely to the Chipotle worker who had to endure my half-hiccup/sob explanation – “I’m sorry *hiccup* I’m crying so loud *sob* but this booooook-” unfortunately, I’m too embarrassed to go back. Although, I’m not sure if that was more embarrassing than walking back into work with a food baby and tear-stained cheeks. (This is not the first time….) My co-workers have stopped asking questions at this point. The Nightingale tells the story of sisters Vianne and Isabelle, both deeply affected by their mother’s death and their father’s subsequent abandonment. While their relationship is rocky at best, Hannah illustrates the necessity of the love and loyalty only a family can provide during the direst times. Set in France during WWII, these vastly different sisters must find a way to survive while the Germans occupy France and the war rages on. Isabelle is a rebellious, impetuous but courageous 19-year old who longs to fight for France’s freedom. Brokenhearted by a love lost, she puts herself at the forefront of danger and joins a resistance group to fight the Germans from within France. Vianne, arguably the more conservative of the two is deeply devoted to her husband, currently a POW, and fiercely protective of her young daughter. When a German soldier billets at Vianne’s house in the country, she finds herself more alone than ever as the watchful eye of the enemy forces her to make one awful decision after another. Despite the differences in their struggles, both sisters stand to face deadly consequences as they fight for what’s important. So, why is this book so magnificent? (It is, don’t argue with me – I’m clearly unstable). Well first, there is something to be said about a book that is genuinely well-written and this one is better than well-written, it is magnificently-written. Magnificent plot, magnificent character/character development, magnificent emotions, just… magnificent. It is 100% my favorite book I’ve read this year, and definitely in my top 10 books of all time. Secondly, it’s a historical fiction novel that will literally reach into your chest cavity and pull out your heartstrings one by one until you can no longer enter certain eating establishments. *ahem* All joking aside – if we’re getting down and dirty into the nitty gritty, The Nightingale is a truly beautiful and evocative story. It manages to weave the complicated relationship of siblings with love, loss, extreme pain and the ravages of war and turn it into an emotional, compelling novel. Hauntingly real, the respective stories of Vianne and Isabelle will enrapture any reader. I 100% recommend this book to anyone, anywhere.