Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

4 Star

What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything - her family, reputation and life - in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie's portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting's dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened...

Lydia - 4 Star

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes currently hovers within my top five favourite reads of the year, so I was eager to snatch up anything else by JoJo Moyes! The Girl You Left Behind, however, is a very different read. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it – I did, immensely – but I found my attention diverted at times and couldn’t help but compare the two novels even though I knew I shouldn’t. Sadly, The Girl You Left Behind didn’t quite live up to Me Before You –in my eyes  but it was still compelling and just as thought-provoking and easy to read.

I adore stories that flip back and forth between a historical story and present day one, so I loved this aspect of the novel, particularly as Moyes has done this masterfully. The historical story was the most captivating to me as at certain points I couldn’t find myself relating to Liv in the present day. I also really liked that this novel covered a German occupation in World War I as opposed to World War II which I have already read a plethora of novels about. It provided an interesting perspective, and I couldn’t wait to flip back to find out what happened to Sophie. I loved the difficult decisions both women are forced to make, and how they cope with their lost loves. 

This story is heart-warming, yet full of heart-break and frustration, both for what Sophie and her family had to endure, as well as the frustration I felt with Liv. I was rather firm on which side of the debate I stood, and really wanted to shake her sometimes for her stance, and for how she treats Paul - who I adored, by the way. This book had its quirky moments, too, just like Me Before You, and I loved Liv’s side-kick, sudden roommate.

The Girl You Left Behind is another roller-coaster ride by Moyes and had me rubbing my eyes and wiping tears as it came to a close - which I was pleasantly surprised by. I will definitely read everything Moyes writes!

Thank you to Penguin - Viking for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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