Summary and Analysis Chapter 21



In the summer, Sophie comes down with a fever, and Beck supplies medicine for her.

Isabelle has delivered eighty-seven Allied airmen safely to the British consulate. On her most recent trip, one airman was captured because he refused to follow a “girl’s” orders and tried to reach safety on his own. Her British contact, Ian, advises her to move more slowly because the Germans have begun looking for the Nightingale.

The Germans begin recruiting women for clerical night work, and Isabelle gains a position to spy on them. She learns that they are compiling the names of all of the foreign-born Jews in Paris. She tells her father, and together they hide a neighboring family of Jews. Isabelle tries to save a second family, but she is too late; the police take the family to a concentration camp.


Isabelle’s gender has many advantages for her work because the Nazis consider her to be less suspect than a man might be, but it also poses unique challenges. One of these challenges is being accepted as an authority figure by foreign men who are not accustomed to following a woman’s orders. The inability to do so has devastating consequences for the Yankee airman who chooses to risk the journey on his own rather than follow Isabelle’s orders.

Because the Holocaust is now such a well-known part of world history, it can be difficult to remember that few people knew the extent of its atrocities until after the war’s conclusion. Julien is incredulous when Isabelle first tells him that the Germans have compiled the names of every foreign-born Jew. When Isabelle tries to save the second Jewish family, the mother insists that they are safe with the French police. As the Germans moved closer to the “final solution” of the Holocaust, people had no idea what would come.

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