Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes


The Girl You Left Behind
by Jojo Moyes
Pamela Dorman Books, 2013
385 pages
source : purchased e-book (I love amazon's kindle daily deals!)

Summary (from goodreads):
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...

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most - whatever the cost.

My thoughts:
I rarely read two books by the same author in such quick succession, but this is my second Jojo Moyes novel in as many months… and I enjoyed it even more than Me Before You.

The Girl You Left Behind  utilizes a device that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It alternates between a story set in the past and one in the present. The German occupation of France during WWI serves as the historical backdrop, a lost love is central to both plot lines, and a painting connects the two.

I am not normally drawn to fiction featuring either art or war, but that didn't seem to matter here because Moyes' storytelling is simply captivating. I was hooked by the first chapter and once I reached the midpoint, I could not put the book down.

Moyes has a new novel coming this summer, but in the meantime I plan to work my way through her backlist.

My rating:



Bottom line:
Very different from and, in my opinion, even better than Me Before You... The Girl You Left Behind is a must read!

46 comments:

  1. Another writer I've never read, and now I want to !

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    1. Audrey - She writes wonderful stories! I'm glad to have discovered an author with a backlist :)

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  2. I've enjoyed both of those books by Jo Jo Moyes. I'm glad you enjoyed them. I think she will release a new one in the USA in July (One Plus One).

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    1. Pat - I'm already looking forward to her new book!

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  3. I'm doing her backlist too. I love her!

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    1. Jill - My mother and sister are reading her backlist now, too!

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  4. This was a good one, which I liked even more than Me Before You!
    Harvee
    Book Dilettante

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    1. Harvee - I liked it even better than Me Before You, too!

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  5. The Ship of Brides (historical fiction) is my favourite of her older novels. I think she's getting better and better with each new novel.

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    1. Lovely Treez - I haven't heard of that one... it sounds wonderful! Thanks.

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  6. Better than Me Before You? I'm convinced! Especially since I do enjoy books dealing with art and war. This sounds great, JoAnn. Thanks for the review and the notice about her upcoming release. She's quit the darling of fiction these days, isn't she?

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    1. Les - I am certain you would love this book!

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  7. Wow, I loved Me Before You so this must be fantastic! I can't wait to read it!

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  8. Sounds awesome. I started listening to Me Before You yesterday and liking it a lot. On the list goes this one too.

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    1. Diane - You have some great listening ahead of you!

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  9. I really liked this book too, although maybe not as much as Me Before You. I had a hard time getting attached to Sophie, but loved Liv. It all came together so nicely though. She has such a great literary voice.

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    1. Sandy - My mother and sister loved this one, too. Can't wait to read more!

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  10. Your review makes me want to read this!

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  11. I loved this book too - it was my first from the author. Me Before You will be coming up soon. When I was in the thrift shop recently, I saw a book by her that had been published in the UK (Foreign Fruit) - I am not sure if it has been published here yet. It is great that she has such a big backlist to work through!

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    1. Booksnyc - You're in for a treat with Me Before You! I'm finding it hard to get some of her backlist here in the US.

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  12. Oh, so glad to hear that this is just as good as Me Before You! I was worried that nothing else by this author would live up to it.

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    1. Carrie - I was worried, too, but this surpassed my expectations.

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  13. If you liked it even better than Me Before You, I must open mine up! I received a copy of One Plus One last week, so it looks like I'll be reading lots of JoJo Moyes as you are. Thanks for the great review, as I trust your opinion, JoAnn.

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    1. Bellezza - Yes, you must! Luck you to receive a copy of One Plus One :)

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  14. p.s. So love the lake view in winter, too!

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    1. Bellezza - Thanks. The lake is beautiful all year long... love how the view changes daily!

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  15. Sounds intriguing. Thanks for the review.

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    1. Kelly - It's a wonderful book. Thanks for visiting.

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  16. I liked this book A LOT. And I love Jojo Moyes. I was inevitably (it seems) drawn more to the historical plot, but that doesn't surprise me. Made me cry!

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    1. Andi - I liked the historical plot better (always do) and shed a few tears, too!

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  17. Loved this one, it ended up as one of my favorites last year and I'm not usually a fan of books set during the war either. I need to read Me Before You this year.

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    1. Stacy - This could very well end up on my list of favorites this year!

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  18. Sounds absolutely great--I like that double story/connecting thread format, and think there's lots of room for theme and character therein.

    I haven't heard of JoJo Moyes, but this is definitely going on my library list. After all, I do like stories about art, and some about war, so I can't lose!

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    1. JaneGS - This sounds like it would be a sure hit with you! Jojo Moyes seems to be attracting a lot of attention these days, although I think the UK has known about her for some time.

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  19. oh gosh -- better than Me before You?? Must read!

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  20. I loved how different this one was from Me Before You as well--though not sure I could choose a favorite between them! I do wish that we could have had more time in Sophie's world, though. Looking forward to her new one!

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    1. Trish - I would have loved to have more about Sophie, too... such a wonderful book!

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  21. I loved this book as well. I still have to listen to Me Before You but it's on my list as well as the rest of her books. Looking forward to her newest one!

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    1. Darlene- You're going to love the audio version of Me Before You!

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  22. I read this one and Me Before You in the opposite order; as much as I liked this one, I liked Me Before You even more. I sometimes felt pulled out of the story by the change in focus. But I must say that unlike a lot of books with the past and present stories, I did find both of the stories in this book interesting on their own.

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    1. Lisa - This was one of the few books I felt just as involved in both the past and present story lines. I'm so glad Moyes has so many titles on her backlist!

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