Our Military Life Blog

The Nightingale – Week 1

Hello dear readers! We are ready to dive into another adventure! Grab your book, your favorite snacks and lets dig in! Hold onto your hats, this journey is going to keep you on your toes!

This week we are reading Chapters 1-9


  1. Vianne and Isabelle were not close growing up. Should Vianne had made more of an effort to reach out to her sister?
  2. Why do you think their father refused to be part of their lives growing up?
  3. As the German forces move in, each family is going to be forced to make sacrifices. But just what will those sacrifices entail?


Vianne thought things were finally going well. Her life had not had the best of starts. When she was young, her mother passed away. With two young daughters, her father could not cope, so he sent them away. Vianne knew that she should have helped more with her younger sister, but a four year old can be difficult to reason with under any circumstance. Now married and a mother, her life is calm and organized. Her husband, Antoine, is a postman in their little french village, and she is a school teacher. As they move through their days, the talk of war becomes more and more frequent. After an afternoon picnic, dinner cleared away, Vianne finds her husband in the backyard. He has been called up for the war, and must report soon. As her world crumbles under her, he reminds her that she must be strong and take care of both herself and their daughter.

Her sister, Isabelle however, is still bouncing from place to place. Expelled from two different schools, she is attempting to stay in another, but holding her tongue has been exceptionally hard for her to do. Having exasperated the Madam for the last time, she is on her way home. She is not sure what her reception at home will be. Her father does not want her around, and the relationship between sisters is not a close one. So home she goes, and after some hard bargaining with her father, she begins working in the bookshop that he owns.

With the onset of war, everything changes. The men are gone, the Germans are coming, and the countryside is in a panic. Anything that can move, and anyone that can leave have been taking flight and moving toward the open country.  The majority of those who are leaving are women, children, and older folks. Isabelle joins the ranks of those leaving Paris as the Germans prepare to invade. As they make their way toward safety, they are attacked by German aircraft and many are killed and wounded. Isabelle is sheltered by Geatan, and together they make their way toward Carriveau, Vianne and safety. Once there, Geatan leaves her, breaking the bond that they had and the plans that they had created in joining the resistance and fighting the German soldiers. Things only get worse for Isabelle when a German officer is sent to live in the house that Vianne owns. As they try to come to terms with the occupying force, the French surrender and the unknown of where their men are and when they might be coming home, Isabelle is angry. She wants revenge for those who died on the side of the road in the attack. She wants to do her bit in breaking the German forces and finding her own place in the world. Vianne on the other hand is not happy about taking the German officer in, but does so in order to preserve her home and wait for her husband to return home. Captain Beck seems amenable to the situation, and while the women are a bit put out, Isabelle prides herself on hiding most of the valuables before they arrived. Captain Beck tries his best to be a good house guest, and surprises Vianne with little tidbits about his family. Surely the war is over for France and her husband will be home soon, but how will he react to a having an enemy soldier barracked in his home?