Welcome to my Friday Nope!
Why a Friday Nope ? I decided to create this new weekly meme because even though I have neither the strength nor the time to write a full review for every book I hate, I‘d hate to see people hurt by books I could have warned them against. As explained in my first post, Friday Nope will give me the opportunity to introduce one or two books I didn’t like at all, and briefly explain why.
If you would like to join me in this meme, feel free to do so! Just link back to this post, so I can easily see it and share it here!
But without waiting more, here’s my book for today!
What is it ? The Nightingale is a well-loved historical novel written by Kristin Hannah, and whose story takes place in France during WW2.
Why did I hate ? Actually I had two issues with this novel, and both made my reading experience really shitty, to be honest.
Part one : wait, did I read this before?!
Oh, the IRONY. You might have never heard of it, but in 1981 French author Régine Deforges released a book called La bicyclette bleue (part of a trilogy), which related the story of three sisters during WWII in France. Léa, the outspoken, rebel and reckless one, who joins the Resistance after fleeing from the invasion of Paris and Françoise, the older, who has to live under the same roof of a SS during the Occupation. RING A BELL?
This novel, many times bestseller in France, borrowed A LOT from Gone with the Wind, which led to many trials (that Régine Deforges won, in the end, saying that it was all part of “a game” with her editor – Where have I heard that before? Hmm).
Of course, of course, I exaggerate, and I’m not saying that Kristin Hannah plagiarized Régine Deforges‘s novel. As for Gone with the Wind‘s parts, there’s none here as far as I’m concerned. No. Both authors of these WWII novels must have used the same inspirations is all – especially real testimonies, surely.
(yeah, I’m nice)
Yet it throws me off, even if I didn’t even like La bicyclette bleue – I’m not a fan, but I can’t forget the plot either, and Kristin Hannah‘s characters don’t strike me as interesting enough to follow the same story line again. I know, I’m talking about WWII settings and I should love and suffer and FEEL for these characters but … I just don’t. They seem very flat and unrealistic to me? Sorry?
Part two : why can’t you research?
No, really. Why??? Because you know what else throws me off? The shameless lack of any researches about the world.
The Nightingale = Anachronisms galore
- Post-card France in one meal (I mean, the Baguette, the cannelés, the île flottante, Cognac (for reasons) ;
- the Lavender and Rosemary (which are Provencal plants but WHY THE FUCK NOT) ;
- Vianne & Antoine luxurious – YES, those meals and houses are VERY luxurious for that period of time – lifestyle that their jobs cannot explain. Antoine is a postman, alright? In 1939 his salary should be around 600 francs per year. As for Vianne, as a teacher, she could pretend to 900 francs, tops. How in the WORLD can they have 65,000 francs in the bank?! Tell me, really, I need to know how to multiply my funds like that (if that’s explained later in the book, I apologize). Really though, nothing about their home, their jobs, their lives make any kind of sense ;
- They use cups as unit of measure, as if it was a thing in France (that would be no) ;
- This is a detail, but I do not know one Parisian who would INSTANTLY say something along the lines as, “oh, the bomb must have fallen into the 2nd Arrondissement”. BAHAHAHAHAHA Nope. This is actually ridiculous. Streets, districts names like la Bastille or Les Halles, alright, but randomly quoting an arrondissement when YOU’RE NOT EVEN PARISIAN? Pl-ease. Unbelievable – like the whole thing, apparently.
Perhaps it sounds like details to you, and perhaps they are. But when I read an Historical novel, more than Historical facts I need for the book to carry me away in another time. I need to BELIEVE in it.
I sure don’t want to read about some cliché, too modern world lacking any savor, picturing my country in such a stereotypical way.
So fake, really. Not to mention that I found the writing repetitive and too dramatic, the dialogue awkward and way too much telling rather than showing (also, it needs editing like, yesterday).
The Nightingale tackles such an essential issue – indeed I believe that the portrayal of women’s role in WWII is VERY important, and I understand why it would appeal to many readers. Yet I can’t see myself finishing it, because really, the similarities and clichés are killing me.
Wasted potential, sadly. They do have the curse words right, though (WELL, they only use one, because we French aren’t that creative with curse words, right? 😂)
Rating ? 1.5 stars, DNF. The Nightingale is FULL of inaccuracies, and I expected more from the winner of the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award in HISTORICAL fiction. Ugh.