Monday, 7 September 2015

Book Review: The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes

Read: September 4 - 6    Verdict 4.5 Stars

In 1916, Sophie is trying to help her small family survive in a French town under German occupancy while constantly worrying about the survival of her artist husband. When the new German commander becomes enthralled by a painting of Sophie, and quite possibly Sophie herself, how far will the French woman go to save her husband?

In 2006, Liv is still battling with grief following the death of her husband. Liv lives all alone, under crippling debt with a lone painting of a young woman staring back at her. When Liv meets a new man, the painting suddenly becomes a source of tension. Liv knows she needs to find out more about Sophie and what happened to her.

I really loved this book! Both Sophie and Liv are amazing, complex characters with a lot of similar characteristics. I really loved reading Liv and thinking, 'Sophie would do that,' and the same with Sophie.

Both women are living a life they never expected, trying to keep things together while apart from their husbands. Both had husbands who were very successful, and they both seemed to be content just supporting their other half in their work while being fiery enough to keep him on his toes. I found the similarities between David and Edouard interesting, both artists in their own right and immersed in their work. I felt Paul's stature yet kindness also similar to Edouard.

Liv and Sophie are both stubborn at the best and worst of times. Sophie isn't too afraid of speaking her mind to German soldiers where many times Liv could have backed down and made life easier for herself but she didn't. They both show kindness - Liv to Mo and Fran, and Sophie with Louisa and the rest of the villagers. I also found it interesting how Sophie was treated by the village after the rumours of her relationship with the Germans could be compared to Liv's treatment by protestors during the court case. Both women were in situations that they couldn't do anything much about, and despite being innocent, were treated poorly for it.

I really loved how Liv called her home the Glass House as I really felt like she was living for a large portion of time after David's death in a glass house. She was very fragile and seemed on the verge of cracking a lot, yet she was surprisingly strong when you'd expect her to crumble.

The history is rich yet not too much for a book in this genre, and it really gives us just enough to know Sophie and her situation. This book is just packed with two strong yet fragile women dealt with blows in the life they didn't expect but who still remain standing tall afterwards.

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