As the drums of war begin to beat louder on the continent, and life becomes more dangerous in cities, seventeen year-old Jeannie McIver leaves the comfort of her aunt's house in Glasgow, to head to the wilds of the Scottish Uplands to start life as a Land Girl.
Jeannie soon falls in love with life on the busy Scottish hill farm, despite all of its hardships and challenges. She feels welcomed by the Cunningham family who value and cherish her far more than her own rather remote and cold parents, and the work is rewarding. She even finds her interest piqued by the brooding, attractive Tam, the son of the neighbouring farmer, and a sweet romance between them slowly blossoms.
But even in the barren hills, they can't avoid the hell of war, and as local men start disappearing off to fight at the Front, Jeannie's idyllic life starts to crumble. Those left behind try desperately to keep the home fires burning, but then Jeannie makes one devastating decision which changes the course of her and Tam's lives forever.
Born and brought up in the south of England, the eldest girl of nine children, Dee moved north to Yorkshire to study medicine. She remained there, working in well woman medicine and general practice and bringing up her three daughters. She retired slightly early at the end of 2003, in order to start writing, and wrote two books in the next three years. In 2007 she moved further north, to the beautiful Southern Uplands of Scotland. Here she fills her time with her three grandsons, helping in the local museum, the church and the school library, walking, gardening and reading. She writes historical fiction, poetry and more recently non-fiction. Occasionally she gets to compare notes with her youngest sister Sarah Flint who writes crime with blood-curdling descriptions which make Dee want to hide behind the settee.
In a remote hill farm in beautiful Scotland, Ellen and her father Duncan are enjoying a peaceful life away from the belching mills and hustle and bustle of the growing towns. In time they're joined by rugged farmhand Tom, come to lend some muscle to Ellen's ageing father, who has begun to find sheep farming hard to manage alone. Almost inevitably romance grows between Ellen and the new arrival but once married however, Ellen discovers that Tom has a brutish side to his character. As war in Europe spreads, she begins to dream of him leaving for the trenches as a way for her to escape.
Even with Tom fighting abroad however, the family can not hide from the realities of war as a group of POWs are brought to their valley to build a reservoir. And amongst the men, sworn enemies and shunned by all the locals, Ellen finds a gentler heart that she finds difficult to resist...
With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.
Goodreads Best Historical Novel of the Year • People's Choice Favorite Fiction Winner • #1 Indie Next Selection • A Buzzfeed and The Week Best Book of the Year
Praise for The Nightingale:
"Haunting, action-packed, and compelling." —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Absolutely riveting!...Read this book." —Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Director of the University of Miami Holocaust Teacher Institute
"Beautifully written and richly evocative." —Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“A hauntingly rich WWII novel about courage, brutality, love, survival—and the essence of what makes us human.” —Family Circle
“A heart-pounding story.” —USA Today
"An enormous story. Richly satisfying. I loved it." —Anne Rice
"A respectful and absorbing page-turner." —Kirkus Reviews
"Tender, compelling...a satisfying slice of life in Nazi-occupied France." —Jewish Book Council
“Expect to devour The Nightingale in as few sittings as possible; the high-stakes plot and lovable characters won’t allow any rest until all of their fates are known.” —Shelf Awareness
"I loved The Nightingale." —Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Powerful...an unforgettable portrait of love and war." —People