Summary and Analysis
Julien confesses to being the Nightingale so that Isabelle will be freed. Isabelle tries to save him by professing that she is the Nightingale, but the Nazis don’t believe her. Julien is executed.
The next day, Vianne comes to try to save her sister and her father. She finds Julien’s dead body. Isabelle and Vianne briefly see each other as Isabelle is being transported to a concentration camp. Isabelle refuses her sister’s help, not wanting Vianne to die for her as Julien did. Isabelle and her friend Micheline Babineau are taken to a concentration camp called Ravensbrück.
Whereas the Nazis don’t believe that Isabelle could be the Nightingale despite catching her in the act of escorting Allied airmen, they have no trouble believing Julien’s confession. Isabelle, realizing that her father is turning himself in to save her, confesses as well, but her German interrogator only laughs at her: “You, a girl? The infamous Nightingale?” One last time, Isabelle’s capacity to aid the war effort is underestimated because she is a woman. Her gender saves her life; however, it also keeps her from being able to save her father’s life.
Julien’s, Vianne’s, and Isabelle’s actions testify to the way family love is magnified in wartime. Both Vianne and Isabelle risk their lives attempting to save a loved one, and Julien sacrifices himself for Isabelle. As she sees her father taken away to be executed, Isabelle laments that they will never enjoy moments of ordinary love together. Paradoxically, the war provides Julien with an opportunity to show Isabelle the love that he failed to show her before the war.