Are you reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah as part of your book club this month and you want to go in armed with some insightful questions? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
We’ve compiled a list of book club questions for The Nightingale so you can start an engaging conversation about the novel with your book club members.
Of course, when discussing books at a book club, often organic questions come up based on what people have to say, so use these The Nightingale book club questions as a guide to get you started and to inspire the conversation should it be dwindling.
Also to make your life easier, we’ve prepared a list of suggestions for what to read next, so you can offer some suggestions for the next read.
Left it too late to plan your book club meeting? Don’t worry, we have your back…
The Nightingale is a historical fiction novel set in the sleepy village of Carriveau in France during WWII. Vianne Mauriac was one of many wives to say goodbye to their husbands heading for the frontline, and she was one of many who didn’t think the Nazis would invade France, but they did.
As the soldiers piled in with their flanks of trucks and tanks, with planes dropping bombs on the innocent, a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, forcing her and her daughter to live with the enemy.
Without food or money, the danger begins to escalate and she is forced to make impossible choices to keep her family alive.
Meanwhile, Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a young, rebellious teenager looking to find her place in all this.
She meets Gaëtan, a partisan whose rebellious attitude and hopes of destroying the Nazis from within causes her to fall in love. But he betrays her, and she decides to join the Resistance risking her life to save others.
This is a novel full of courage, grace, and resilience. It captures the place of women in worn-torn France in WWII, capturing an illuminating part of history that has seldom been told. The Nightingale is about two sisters, who have very different lives and ideals, as well as circumstances, but each looking for freedom in German-occupied France.
Please note that the questions below contain spoilers of the book.
Generic Book Club Questions for The Nightingale
Let’s begin the list with some generic questions to get the ball rolling. These book club questions for The Nightingale are designed to encourage every member of your group to say something about the book.
Perhaps you have a shy member of the group or a newbie? These will help give them the confidence to speak up.
- What did you think about the book? (obvious, but we have to say it).
- What were your expectations before reading The Nightingale?
- How did The Nightingale make you feel?
- Which was the most interesting scene in the book, in your opinion?
- Were there any characters that you felt you can relate to in any way?
- What are the key principles you have learned from the book? What have you taken away from the story?
- Did you feel this was a slow-burning novel or a real page-turner?
- Would you recommend this book to others?
- What do you think the front cover represents?
- Let’s talk about the ending. Were you shocked?
The Nightingale Discussion Questions
Once you’ve gone through the general chit chat, it’s time to open up a deeper and more meaningful discussion. Here are book club discussion questions for The Nightingale we recommend you bring up…
- Isabelle and Vianne react to the war in different ways; one is defiant and the other is cautious. How do you think you would react in their situation? What do you think is the reason behind their emotions?
- Were there any characters that you admired or felt a connection to?
- Vianne’s daughter sees Isabel as somewhat of a hero to be idealized. Do you agree? Do you think Isabel is a heroine?
- What are your thoughts on Beck? Do you think his character evolved much throughout the story?
- How did you react when Ari was taken away? What would you have done?
- Do you think Vianne’s husband, Antoine, knew that Julain wasn’t really his son?
- Isabelle meets other women on her
- Vianne takes Ari in and gives him a new name and identity. Do you think this was wrong of her? Why did he need to change his name?
- Were you surprised to find out who narrated the story at the end?
Educated Book Club Questions for The Nightingale
Want to dive deeper into the philosophy and hidden messages of the book? Then you’re going to want to ask some of these educated book club questions for The Nightingale.
- The novel has themes of love and sacrifice. What do you think it would be like to fall in love during a war? Does the fear make it easier to fall in love? Is it really love, or is it dependence?
- How does love influence each character’s actions?
- Some characters chose to conceal their identity – did it work for them? What are the benefits and challenges of using an alias.
- Kristin Hannah writes: “I know that grief, like regret, settles into our DNA and remains forever a part of us.” – Do you agree? Do you think that emotions of grief, love, and regret are part of our DNA? Or do you think it has been constructed by society?
- The Nightingale follows the story of two sisters. What do you think is the importance of the story having two strong female leads? How would it differ if it were men?
- The novel is set during a time of gender bias and inequality. How do you think the story would change if it happened today? Are we still living with these views of men and women?
- There is a scene in the novel where Vianne betrays some of the people in her community by providing the Germans with a list of names. Do you think she was wrong or right to do so? What would have happened to her if she hadn’t?
5 Suggestions for What to Read Next
Now you have a list of The Nightingale book club questions for your book club meeting, it’s time to plan the next one. Here are some suggestions for books to read next.
If your book club is looking for affordable ways to read more books, you’ll find some of these titles on Kindle Unlimited…
1. American Dirt – Jeanine Cummins
American Dirt is a New York Times bestseller and Oprah Book Club selection. The story follows a woman named Lydia, who lives in Acapulco with her son and husband, who works as a journalist.
But Acapulco’s cartels are beginning to terrorize the town and Lydia’s life is starting to feel comfortable. When her husband published a tell-all profile about the newest drug lord, their lives are about to be turned upside down.
Lydia and Luca her son are forced to flee amongst the hundreds of other people trying to reach the United States. Everyone is running from something, but where are they running to?
2. The Lost Apothecary – Sarah Penner
The Lost Apothecary is a suspenseful novel of secrets, vengeance, and sisterhood.
In the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an esoteric clientele.
Rumors abound of a mysterious woman who sells deadly poisons to women in order to protect themselves from their abusive husbands or male partners. However, the apothecary’s fate is in jeopardy when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake that leads to consequences that continue through the centuries.
Caroline Parcewell, an aspiring historian, spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone in present-day London. She is researching the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago when she stumbles upon a clue that leads her to the apothecary.
However, Caroline’s life soon collides with the apothecary in a stunning twist of fate, and not everyone will survive.
3. The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
One of the most compelling books similar to A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
It seemed like Alicia Berenson had a perfect life. She was a famous painter who was married to one of the city’s most influential photographers.
They lived together in a beautiful house in one of the nicest neighborhoods in London. Everything was perfect, from the outside.
When Alicia’s husband returns home from work one night, she shoots him 5 times. After that, she doesn’t speak another word. Alicia’s act became one of the biggest mysteries in London.
Psychotherapist Theo Faber is determined to find out the truth about that night, eventually becoming obsessed with uncovering the answers to this mystery.
4. The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah
Set in Alaska in 1974, the story follows Ernt Allbright who came home from the Vietnam War a different man. After he loses his job and decides to move his wife and daughter north to live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Cora will do anything for her husband, including following him into the unknown. Their teenage daughter, Leni, has little choice but to go along.
In this remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find an independent community of strong men and women whose generosity make up for the lack of preparation and resources.
As winter approaches, Ernt’s fragile mental health starts to deteriorate and the perils from outside are nothing compared to what lurks within.
In their small cabin drenched in snow, they live each day with 18 hours of night cover. Soon they are forced to realize, they’re really alone.
5. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
The Alice Network is a work of historical fiction about two women who meet after WWII.
One was a spy that was recruited for the real-life Alice Network in France during WWI, and the other was an American looking for her cousin. The two women are brought together in a story of courage and redemption.
After the end of the second World War, Charlie St. Clair is pregnant and unmarried, and about to be kicked out of her family. She’s also hoping her beloved cousin Rose might still be alive. When her parents banish her to Europe, she sees an opportunity to find out what happened to her cousin.
Eve Gardiner signs up to fight against the Germans in 1915 working as a spy. There, she’s trained by Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who introduces her to a network of secret agents.
Haunted by the betrayal, she spends her days drinking in a crumbling London house. When an American woman asks for a name she hasn’t heard in decades, the pair work together to find out the truth.
Final Word on The Nightingale Book Club Questions
So there you have it, those were the best book club questions on The Nightingale. I hope that these helped you start and drive the conversation at your next meeting.
If you had any interesting questions come up about this book, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.
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