Contemporary, Historical Fiction

The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep by Steven Heighton

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My knowledge on world history is really poor. It’s not something I’m proud of. It’s also one of the reasons why I try to pick up books that highlight some conflict that happened between different nations that I was unaware of. This novel does that through the eyes of a soldier suffering from PTSD. So here is my review:

Elias Trifannis is lost. He joined the military in order to make his dying father happy, but soon realizes what a terrible mistake this decision was. His time in Afghanistan scars him, and he is so exhausted by nightmares that he seeks refuge in Cyprus. There, he meets Eylul, a beautiful Turkish journalist, and he finds comfort in her arms. But their reprieve ends in a moment of shocking violence that drives Elias into Varosha, an old town that has been abandoned since the Turkish invasion of 1974. Hidden in the ruins of this once-famous resort town is a community of exiles and refugees who live in harmony, thanks to the cheerfully corrupt Colonel Kaya who turns a blind eye to their existence. As Elias begins to heal, he finds himself drawn to this town and its inhabitants; he may have finally found a place to “belong”. But just when he feels safe, his past comes back to endanger this sanctuary.

I really wanted to like this novel but I had a hard time getting through. At first, I was intrigued with the action and Elias’s discovery of Varosha. I sympathized with him and enjoyed learning about the people living in this town. I liked that the story switched perspectives and the reader was able to glimpse the life of Colonel Kaya. However, none of this was enough to get me to push through the rest of the novel. I could feel my interest waning as each new character was introduced. It felt like the story wasn’t moving at all, and after a while I didn’t care about Elias’s healing time. Because of this, I stopped reading at about 128 pages. I hope this doesn’t deter other people from reading this novel; it has received strong positive reviews from other readers.

If you did finish this novel, I would love to hear what you thought about it! Let me know if it is worth the effort, and I might just give it another shot!

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