“Love has got to be stronger than hate or there is no future for this world,” ~ Kristin Hannah.
Love is truth, freedom, and progression. The Nightingale impacted me so much I had to write a second review. There are a lot of themes in this novel, but one that sticks the most to me is the love theme. Love in this story is a weapon itself that the characters use to survive the war.
Reading The Nightingale, I learn what people endured during World War II – through stories from the people who survived during that time, war veterans, and from conversations with civilians. Fiction is a tool that can take people through time and to fantastical places. In this book, readers are given a historical lesson of what civilians, especially women had to tolerate during the war. From dealing with German soldiers forcing themselves into their homes to live with them while their husbands are off fighting in the war, or being tortured in a prison camp. Then there is the Nightingale who helps downed airman escape enemy territory across mountains. Does it matter whether this person is male or female? A hero is a hero. This is a whole other topic.
As a theme, love teaches me about my own experiences about love. It awakens my conscience to what has been hiding deep back in my brain. Writing and reading helps me discover deeper meaning of love, through characters I want to be and that remind me of myself and other people.
A writer can create his or her own love through characters that both reflect him or herself and the people he or she have come in contact with. In the book, two sisters face the war’s impact in different ways. They are in the belly of Nazi soldiers, as Hitler’s army invades France. Both sisters have obstacles that seem impossible for anyone to overcome. Their individual fortitude and will to survive are two features that save them. However, the love for one another is shown to be the strongest. Isabelle saves the lives of many downed airman, and lives through knowing how much her sister, Viann, cares about her, and how much she cares about Viann. Then there is the love Isabelle has for her boyfriend. Giving up, seems like an easy choice, but she does not, as she awaits the return of her boyfriend, and the evidence she is loved. This proof is demonstrated in various ways throughout the story. To restrain from giving any spoilers away to those who have not yet read the book, I will not elaborate on all of these instances.
There will never be a world complete with love, because there is no such thing as a utopia, outside of fiction. However, the more love that is added to this world, the easier it would be for everyone to live in it. Placing realistic characters in the middle of a war, showing the only way for them to survive is for the love of another human being and/or life itself, is one fine demonstration of how strong love is. These merely fictional characters. Who is to say people during World War II, or any war, or disaster could cling onto an empty word- love to survive? It is in the perspective of the reader, of course. Those who have lived through harshness, including those living through war, extreme weather, disease ridden environments, poverty, and other conditions that make dying easier than living, know how much love can benefit them and the people around them.
Love needs to work both ways, I think. One must love and be loved. A person loves, but has to discover herself to realize she is loved. The other loses love, yet finds it again through the affection from others.
One can be verbally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically abused, and even killed, but the love she/he leaves behind is immortal in every person /she/he impacted.