The cover of this book instantly caught my eye and after reading the blurb, I knew I had to grab it. I adore books set in France, there is something so delightful about the sleepy villages, the incredible fresh food and the breathtaking landscapes – and Nightingale has it all, and then some!
Marguerite has arrived in Saint-Sulpice for her new job as full time nurse to Jérôme Lanvier. Her arrival causes a stir, why would a young girl from Paris want to come all the way here to look after a ghastly man who has thrown out all the previous nurses in little time? Is she who she says she is?
With her no nonsense attitude and her supposedly tough skin, she quickly wins the prize for longest standing nurse at the Lanvier residence, and even Jérôme grudgingly admits Marguerite does her job “adequately”. That’s not to say he’s given her an easy time, in fact Marguerite has spent many a night drinking wine and pottering in the garden to keep herself sane! At only 24 years old, Marguerite seems very content with her job and her minimal social life, with many taking the opinion that this is odd for someone so young. As the reader, we begin to slowly discover why Marguerite seems so much wiser and more mature than her years, a chain of truly heartbreaking and sorrowful events have led her here.
Each time Marguerite cycles to the village to get new supplies, her appearance continues to ruffle the feathers of many of the women; whom gossip viciously behind her back, and it only gets worse when she befriends Suki, a woman who is already an outcast within the community. But some people have warmed to her and over time she begins to make friendships that blossom.
With Marguerite now having allies, Brigitte (the nastiest gossiper) feels under threat and desperately wants things to go back to the way they were before, luckily she is in contact with Jérôme’s sons and a call to invite them all back home will change everything…
Kemp’s writing is exquisite, the whole story seems to flow so naturally from the pages and ignite emotions within my mind that were vivid and thrilling. She has captured the atmosphere of rural France so perfectly that I was swept away from my sofa to a place full of colour, sounds and smells. It seems odd to describe a book as relaxing but that is what Nightingale did to me – I was utterly relaxed. The story had this incredible balance between calming me with its spectacular setting and enthralling me with a plot that grew quickly, branching off in multiple directions and offering the reader something different to absorb in every chapter.
Quite frankly I adored Nightingale and I am impatient to see what Kemp will deliver to us readers in her next story.
Nightingale is available in eBook and Hardback versions from Fourth Estate.
Until next time, stay safe, Chloé x