Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 389
There are many characters in the novel The Nightingale written by Kristin Hannah. The main characters in the novel are Vianne, Isabelle, Julien, Wolfgang Beck, Von Richter, and Gaetan.
Vianne Rossignol Mauriac is married to Antoine Mauriac. She grew up taking care of her younger sister, Isabelle, after their mother died when she was young. Vianne and Antoine have one daughter named Sophie. When Antoine is called to war, Vianne must host a Nazi soldier in her home. She begins to resist the soldiers by forging identity papers for Jewish children and finding them safe homes to live in. She also takes in her friend's son, Ari, to care for him when his mother is sent to a concentration camp and his sister is killed.
Isabelle Rossignol is the younger sister of Vianne. Isabelle is very rebellious and has been from a young age when she learned to care for herself. She joins the French Resistance and begins helping fallen soldiers climb from the mountains into Spain. She earns the nickname The Nightingale and is wanted by the Nazi soldiers so they can interrogate and kill her. Isabelle falls in love with Gaetan while helping these pilots find freedom.
Julien Rossignol is the father of Vianne and Isabelle. He is devastated by the loss of his wife and is very distant from his daughters. He redeems himself for his lack of fatherly love by claiming to be The Nightingale so that Isabelle's life is spared.
Wolfgang Beck is a German soldier who lives with Vianne after her husband goes to war. Although he is on the opposite side of the war, he does have compassion for Vianne and her family. Vianne helps her sister hide a pilot who has been shot down. When Beck finds Isabelle in hiding, Vianne defends her sister by killing Beck.
Von Richter is a German soldier who takes the place of Beck. He is very violent, unlike Beck. Von Richter rapes Vianne and she becomes pregnant.
Gaetan is a last major character in this novel. He is Isabelle's love interest. Gaetan is also a resistance fighter. At the end of the novel, readers learn that he names his daughter Isabelle in honor of his lost love.
There are many minor characters in this novel as well. For more information, please visit Kristin Hannah's website.
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