Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.
The Nightingale features two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac, who live in France during the start for World War II. Isabelle is 18, fiercely headstrong and also independent to a fault. Isabelle has compassion for all and a strong sense of justice. From the start, Isabelle was what I’d call a self-rescuing princess because she was not content–nor wanted–to hide behind anyone. She knew what was happening in her country was wrong and would hurt many people before it was over…if it was ever over. Isabelle had no problem risking her life to save others and struggled to keep her opinions in check, only doing so when she knew her outspokenness might harm her sister and niece. Isabelle was larger than life in way. A totally selfless person who put the good of mankind before any thoughts of preserving her own life. She knew her actions placed her life at risk and did so with abandon.
I related more to Vianne as she was a woman who was desperate to keep herself and child alive, even when it meant following rules she longed to break. She had a quieter of being self-rescuing princess, doing all she could to keep her child feed, healthy, and as protected as she could from the devastation in France. Vianne didn’t feel she had the right to take a stand when her child might suffer the consequences for her decisions. Vianne struggled with her conscience and doing what was needed to survive instead of what her heart and spirit screamed needed to be done. My heart went out to her. Vianne believed herself to be weak and cowardly when compared to her sister. While her sister made bold, brave choices, Vianne also made those same decisions but in a different way. Vianne, like her sister, had a cause deep in her heart and when faced with the choice of looking the other or getting involved, she pushed down her fears and acted.
I know I related to Vianne more because I felt her situation was one I’d most likely might find myself in one day. Not so much having to save someone in a dire, wartime situation, but more of an action that is smaller and local, not something huge and grand. I think those are the situation that everyone finds themselves in during their lifetime, and it’s these times our character is tested and challenged, making us change how we define ourselves. Everyone has had a strong and brave moment, and will again. Many times we don’t see ourselves that way because our actions aren’t grand. But it doesn’t take a grand, in-the-world’s-face action to help someone or to save them…sometimes it’s stepping up to help when it’s needed or simple telling others to stop.