Anne Bonny #BookReview Night Road by Kristin Hannah 4* #FamilyDrama @panmacmillan “A girl without a mother was a prisoner of a different kind”

Night Road by Kristin Hannah
My Own Paperback Copy

Synopsis ~

Lexi and Mia are inseparable from the moment they start high school. Different in so many ways – Lexi is an orphan and lives with her aunt on a trailer park, while Mia is a golden girl blessed with a loving family, and a beautiful home. Yet they recognize something in each other which sets them apart from the crowd, and Mia comes to rely heavily on Lexi’s steadfast friendship.

Mia’s beloved, and incredibly good-looking, twin brother Zach, finds life much less complicated than his sister. Jude thought she’d never have to worry about her son, that he’d always sail through life easily achieving whatever he, and his family, wanted and expected – but then he fell in love.

The summer they graduated is a time they will always remember, and one they could never forget. It is a summer of love, best friends, shared confidences and promises. Then one moment one night changes them all forever. As hearts are broken, loyalties challenged and hopes dashed, the time has come to leave childhood behind and learn to face the future.

My Review ~

‘Once, this road had simply been the way home’

The Night Road is an emotional rollercoaster that surrounds the events that took place, that simmer in 2004.
The characterisation is intense, with each character playing a role in the story of what took place that summer. Teen siblings Mia and Zach are at the heart of the tale. Mia’s best friend Lexi is new to the area and moving into a local trailer park with her aunt, finally escaping a life in foster care. Mia and Zach’s mother Jude also plays a central role, as she becomes like a mother to Lexi.

Judy Farraday is the mother we all wish to be. She has known her own share of heartache and difficult upbringing, but she hasn’t let it impact the way she has chosen to raise her kids. They are at the heart of every decision she comes to make. She often agonises over every minor detail in their lives.

‘It’s impossible to love you children too much’ – Jude

Pine Island high school is where Lexi and Mia first meet and instantly strike up a deep friendship. Mia finds it difficult to fit in and Lexi is new to town and looking to settle in and get on with her education. Too often children are forced to carry the stigma of their own parents and this becomes evident in Lexi’s life. I felt quite emotional at times during Lexi’s story and the theme’s were really tear jerking.

As with all teenage friendships there will be secrets and forbidden love. But for these teens the mistakes they make one night will have a massive impact on all their futures. Can Jude protect her children?
And will Lexi survive saying bye to more people in her life?

The raw honesty of the situation is astounding. I cannot say too much here for fear of leaving spoilers. But this book left a huge dent in my heart. 4*

‘A girl without a mother was a prisoner of a different kind’

Kristin Hannah
My Review Of The Nightingale

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 5* #HistoricalFic #ww2Lit @panmacmillan ‘This is a story of sisterhood, maternal instincts and the power of women’

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
My own copy – Kindle

Bravery, courage, fear and love in a time of war.

Despite their differences, sisters Viann and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Viann is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Viann finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength is tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Viann and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

Vivid and exquisite in its illumination of a time and place that was filled with atrocities, but also humanity and strength, Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale will provoke thought and discussion that will have readers talking long after they finish reading.

My Review:

The Nightingale falls in my favourite historical fiction era, ww2. I had heard great things about the novel, with many fellow readers recommending it to me. I have since, also devoured The Great Alone, by the same author.

The Nightingale centres around the story of two sisters and the novel tells the story of their journey through world war two. Their stories take place in occupied France and is extremely moving.
I had to relay the entire novel to my husband after reading! I was so taken aback at finally closing the door on both Vianne and Isabelle.

‘The father who went to war was not the one who came home’

Vianne and Isabelle may have had different childhood experiences, but ultimately what pains one, pain the other in a different way. They are both still, in some way grieving for the loss of their mother. While Vianne has thrown herself into married life. Isabelle has thrown her efforts into teenage rebellion. The each carry a sense of abandonment from their father, a man that never fully returned from the first world war.

‘What was love when put up against war?’

When the Germans invade Paris, each sister must make a choice of how they will choose to survive. It will be the choice they have to live with for the rest of their lives…

‘French women do not ask Nazi’s for help’ – Isabelle

Vianne’s husband is called up to service, which eventually will lead him to a POW camp. Leaving Vianne to decide how best she and her young daughter Sophie will cope in the now occupied Loire Valley. Whilst Isabella aspires to join the Free French Movement and fight back against the Nazi’s.
Each choice, will cost each woman dearly, in ways they can never have foreseen.

The location of occupied France is incredibly atmospheric. It also brings it home to you, the fear French women lived under, with Nazi’s at their doors. I have visited Jersey and the various monuments to the occupation. I think this maybe added to my enjoyment of the novel, but also my terror.

This is a story of sisterhood, maternal instincts and the power of women to survive. Highly recommended for book groups, also as a gift for your mother/sister or female relative. 5*

Kristin Hannah