The Secret of the Nightingale Palace: A Novel

The Secret of the Nightingale Palace: A Novel

by Dana Sachs


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The Secret of the Nightingale Palace by Dana Sachs is the poignant story of an estranged grandmother and granddaughter and a secret that ties them together.

After her husband dies from leukemia, Anna agrees to help hard-to-please Goldie to bring a collection of valuable Japanese art from New York to California. Harboring a decades-old secret that could change Anna’s life forever, Goldie must learn to let go of her past so her granddaughter can move on and discover happiness and love.

With a narrative that alternates between early 1940s San Francisco and the present day, The Secret of the Nightingale Palace is a beautiful story about the enduring power of love and family.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062201034
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/19/2013
Edition description: Original
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.86(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

Dana Sachs is the author of the novel If You Lived Here and two books of nonfiction, The House on Dream Street: Memoir of an American Woman in Vietnam and The Life We Were Given: Operation Babylift, International Adoption, and the Children of War in Vietnam. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, she lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with her husband and two sons.

What People are Saying About This

Tom Bissell

“...An uncannily moving novel of the Vietnamese experience in America. Dana Sachs is a one-woman power grid, her book electric company.”

Celia Rivenbark

“Dana Sachs’s beautifully written novel, The Secret of the Nightingale Palace, is so pitch perfect that you’ll be sad when it’s over. A gifted storyteller, Sachs has created a multi-generational page-turner that will keep you reading late into the night. Brilliant!”

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The Secret of the Nightingale Palace 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and was sorry when the story ended. Dana Sachs created a wonderfully entwined story of two women: grandmother and granddaughter taking us back to World War II era in San Fracisco and present times. This book teaches reader about life a nd it's unexpected turns, takeing charge of life and enoying it as it happens. Wonderful surprising ending is a cherry to top a great story.
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Palace is Perfect I loved, loved, loved this book. I so rarely say this so I want to put it at the beginning of this review. And , this is doubly exciting because I won it for free from LibraryThing. Not only did I race through this book, but I actually gasped – out loud – at the ending, which never happens (and usually when it does it’s a gasp of anger at the author, not out of pleasure). What is even more surprising is that I spent the last five years living in Wilmington, NC, and have never heard of this author and she lives there. How did this happen? How did I not know about her? How did I miss out on getting this awesome book signed?! But back to the book. Why is it so great, you ask? Well, The Secret of Nightingale Palace; brings together all of my favorite elements in a book: love, war, grandparents, marital distress, and intercultural relationships. Plus, it takes place over a large chunk of time, which I love (I’m a big Kate Morton fan). That said, I’m fairly picky when it comes to books that jump back and forth between timeframes because the author oftentimes leaves loose ends, but that was not the case in Nightingale. The Secret of Nightingale Palace tells the story of Anna and her grandmother, Goldie. Despite their estranged relationship, the two embark on a cross-country drive (in an old Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, no less) to return some Japanese artwork to its original owner. Little does Anna know that the artwork has a story of its own. Told over the course of several decades, the book hops back and forth from today’s drive to the mid-1900′s when Goldie lived a life that is unfathomable to her family. Always prim, proper, and wealthy – Anna learns about a side of her grandmother that she had never expected.¿¿Roughly 2/3 of the book is about Goldie, who comes of age alongside her best friend, a Japanese immigrant named Mayumi. The two are the best of friends and coworkers in the years leading up to WWII, which, as we know from history, changes everything. The events surrounding these delicate years set up the story for the rest of the book and the complicated love triangles that catapult the past into the next century. Fans of literary fiction will love this book, but I think that fans of historical fiction will enjoy it, too. I hope you snag yourself a copy and let me know how you like it!
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
THE SECRET OF THE NIGHTINGALE PALACE by Dana Sachs is an interesting contemporary/women's fiction. An estranged grandmother,Goldie Rosenthal and her granddaughter,Anna take a trip across country to return a precious Japanese artifact her grandmother has kept for years. Filled with a bit of laughter,family drama,betrayal,grief,loss,sacrifice,secrets,forgiveness and the power of love. The story is told between the two main characters,Goldie and Anna. A compelling story! The story tells the tale between a young Jewish-American in San Francisco,Goldie,and her walk down memory lane,her involvement with a Japanese-American and the attack on Pearl Harbor. And Anna's take in modern-day,her heartbreak,and grief of losing a husband. If you enjoy Women's fiction with a touch of historical elements,Japanese-American ethnicity,than you will enjoy "The Secret of the Nightingale Palace". From the 1940's to present day,you will not want to miss this compelling story. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR,(Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an ending! I suspected, but wasn't too surprised. Good story about the struggles in life.
TiffanyHawk More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much that I already look forward to reading it again. I haven't had a chance to read much over the last couple of months since I'm taking care of a baby and getting ready for my own book's launch, but I was secretly glad to be sick and stuck in bed for the weekend so I had uninterrupted time to read this. I loved spending time with Anna and Goldie and was amazed at how well Sachs balanced their two stories. I always looked forward to each character's POV, but I never felt yanked out of their world or manipulated for the sake of turning pages. And yet, I eagerly turned the pages. All of the relationships were exceptionally well developed and never forced, even the ones with surprising plot twists. I was also surprised by how well Sachs incorporated deeper themes like race, identity, and family within a fresh and entertaining story. It's wonderful to be encouraged to think without being pulled out of the dream. I highly recommend this book.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
Having lost her husband after a long illness, Anna has been living in something of a limbo. Her grandmother Goldie never approved of her husband, and their relationship has been strained for years. Now Goldie has persuaded her to drive her across the country to San Francisco, in order to return an art collection to an old family friend. This modest story started out a little slow for me, but probably about a quarter of the way through it picked up and got more interesting. Anna’s grandmother Goldie is an opinionated woman whose criticism can grate, and she has alienated her granddaughter years before when she made clear her opinions of Anna’s fiance. As Goldie and Anna embark on a cross-country trip together, the two couldn’t seem more different, but as the book carries on you begin to realize that they are more alike than Anna even realizes or would want to admit. This book continually changes perspectives and performs time shifts as we go from Goldie during WWII as she was just blossoming into womanhood and discovering herself and what life held for her, and Goldie in her advanced years reflecting on the past with her granddaughter as they travel. When touring through Goldie’s past, we are introduced to a whole other cast of characters, including Mayumi, the artistic Japanese woman who became Goldie’s best friend, and her somewhat stoic brother Henry, who were both sent away to a Japanese internment camp after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In the current day, Anna has been living in limbo for two years, her heart damaged and scabbed over, after losing her husband to leukemia. She is hesitant to agree to her grandmother’s request for her to drive her from New York to California, so she can return some art to the Nakumura family. But in so doing, Anna learns as much about herself as she does about Goldie along the way. I loved Goldie’s strength, although it often manifested in an abrasive and critical demeanor. Goldie believes that you don’t sit around waiting for happiness, but you make your own happiness. She is not one to brood on heartbreak, not one to be defeated. She is certain that if you aren’t invited to the party, then you just make your own party. There is such great beauty throughout this novel. From the art collection Goldie is hoping to return to the Japanese Tea Garden that Mayumi and Henry’s father maintains, from the artistic storefront windows that Mayumi creates to the modern day graphical comics created by Anna, from the beautiful designer clothes that Goldie wears to the Rolls Royce that she drives, this book is filled with beauty. And it’s filled with hope. This book follows two paths: One woman’s past being remembered, and another woman’s future being discovered. My final word: There was a nice little twist in the end that I enjoyed and found very satisfying. I enjoyed the second half of the story more than the first, but the story in general was gentle, emotional, sentimental and affective. The characters were rich. Goldie is the true star of the story. Overall the book made me feel hopeful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My heart swelled and I was in tears by the end of this wonderful book. I leave you as I go to acquire another of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the drama between the grandmother and granddaughter . Especially loved the ending .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mjmutch More than 1 year ago
This is just a flat out beautiful book. I loved every minute of it. Goldie is such a rich character and finding out what made her into the woman she turned out to be was such a great journey. I cannot begin to tell you how many Goldies I have in my life. Strong, powerful women, doing their best and wrong more often than right, but heaven forbid they ever realize that, and oh so full of love and life. I enjoyed having a new way to think about these tough and yet frail, old ladies.  I also really enjoyed the that every single "secondary" character was a complete person, that you mourned their passings and failings every bit as much as the "main" characters. The time setting was perfectly caught, Goldie's life took place in hard, historically important times, but she only acknowledged as it touched on her life. She never looked too hard at the goings on around her, she let nothing distract her from her hard swim to the top.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago