Book Club, reader's advisory

After Dinner Mints – The Dish on Just Desserts – September 2017

after-dinner-mints

Just Desserts Discussion Group talks about
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This month’s fiction book is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale, Night Road, Firefly Lane, True Colors and Winter Garden.  She is a former lawyer, who started writing while pregnant and on bed rest with her son. Writing soon became her obsession and she’s been writing fiction ever since.

Our choice for this month is an epic love story/family drama set in France at the beginning and duration of World War II. Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads to war to defend France. Vianne and their daughter, Sophie, don’t believe that the Nazis will invade their small town of Carriveau. But they do invade and live side by side with the French citizens. Vianne is forced to make choices to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s rebellious sister, Isabelle, is searching for a purpose in life.  She joins the Resistance with a young man named Gaetan. They never look back, while risking their lives to save others. Isabelle is young, beautiful, and brave.

Their father, Julien, sends Isabelle to the country to help Vianne and Sophie survive the war. Their relationship is tested, but so is their strength and their abilities to tell right from wrong. The French people are being forced to accept a life filled with starvation, cold, and horrible treatment of their friends and neighbors, who are Jews.

Our story is told with courage, grace, and insight. We all hope that this is not Kristin Hannah’s last historical fiction novel. The group agreed that her writing is very visual. The novel would translate into a memorable film. In fact, several members thought that this was one of the best novels that they had ever read. I agree!

Pick up The Nightingale for yourself! You will find yourself getting lost in Vianne’s and Isabelle’s stories. It illuminates a part of history rarely seen: the women’s war in World War II France.

The Nightingale

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Read-a-Likes

Read-a-Likes: Jojo Moyes

If you like Jojo Moyes’ warm, moving, and insightful character-driven fiction, try these authors:

Elizabeth Berg
Diane Chamberlain
Lisa Genova
Kristin Hannah
Joshilyn Jackson
Lisa Jewell
Jodi Picoult
Rainbow Rowell
Maggie Shipstead
Graeme Simison
Sarah Strohmeyer
Beatriz Williams
Meg Wolitzer

read-a-like-moyes

Read-a-Likes

Read-a-Likes: Debbie Macomber

If you like Debbie Macomber’s contemporary romances and novels of women’s lives with  domestic settings and sympathetic heroines, try these authors:

Mary Kay Andrews
Donna Ball
Robyn Carr
Jennifer Chiaverini
Lori Copeland
Barbara Delinsky
Richard Paul Evans
Dorothy Garlock
Kristin Hannah
Jan Karon
Susan Mallery
Fern Michaels
LaVyrle Spencer
Susan Wiggs
Sherryl Woods

read-a-like-macomber

Book Club

The After Party – Books and Bagels and Morning Book Break – Sept. 2016

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Books and Bagels and Morning Book Break Book Discussions on The Nightingale

Rating: Several members of Books and Bagels gave the book at 3.5, while most members rated the book between a 4.0 and 4.5.  The book received three 5.0s from the three men in the group.

In Morning Book Break, this book was much beloved by the members who attended. The book received between a 4.0 and 5.0 with the exception of receiving one 3.5.

Review: Overall in Books and Bagels, the members felt Kristin Hannah crafted a compelling story and the main characters were well-developed. Many in the group had not previously read Kristin Hannah’s books and plan in the future to read some of her other works. Kristin Hannah states that her personal favorites of her own work are: The Nightingale, Winter Garden, Homefront, and Firefly Lane.

In Morning Book Break, members were thrilled that this book was selected to discuss. The members loved the richly developed main characters.

Discussion Points – Morning Book Break:
*Dilemmas faced by the main characters.
*Narrative structure and narrator selected.
*Emotional connection to the story.
*Previously read novels set during this time period. One member preferred Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky.

Discussion Points – Books and Bagels
*Several members felt the story was compelling, but the quality of writing was deficient.
*Due to the epic nature of the story, some members felt the plausibility of main characters lacking.
*Many members shared anecdotes about their experiences during World War II.
*We also discussed other Holocaust novels. Two members thought Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky to be higher quality read.
*There was much discussion about the moral/ethical choices made by the characters.

Resources: http://kristinhannah.com/

http://www.jewishbookcouncil.org/book/the-nightingale

Kristin Hannah’s inspiration: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/18/world/europe/18jongh.html

Readalikes:

the-nightingale