Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You Left BehindI've yet to be disappointed with a Jojo Moyes book and this is my third. Her books take me on an emotional roller coaster ride. I become so invested in the characters, I laugh with them, I cry for them. I especially love the situations her characters face, that have you constantly questioning..."What would I do?"

Would you betray your husband to save his life? Would you do your job at the risk of hurting others?

This story also made me think about how...what looks good and right on paper may not be the right thing. In the case of the painting...should the artists's descendants have it simply because it's their "family right" or should a woman who understands the woman within the canvas be allowed to keep it?

There's two stories going on here. One is Sophie in WWI, France. Her home has been taken over by the Germans. She's forced to cook for them. She misses her husband, an artist, desperately....and will do just about anything to save him. Through her we see a town under German occupation as they watch their village taken over, their homes destroyed, their items stolen, as they try to survive on rations and also, sadly, spew hatred and venom at each other.

The modern-day story is Olivia as she deals constantly with grief. She's a widow. She has a painting...that someone else wants and through a sick twist of fate, she and her new lover end up on opposing sides...

The character list is extensive yet you feel like you grow to know each and every one. Each person mentioned has an impact. I especially enjoyed Olivia's roommate. She's the kinda gal I wouldn't mind having around. In a story full of heart ache and turmoil, she provided the laughs.

"I'll be back at three o'clock and I'll call in sick to the restaurant and we can swear a lot and think up medieval punishments for f*ckwit men who blow hot and cold. I've got some modeling clay upstairs that I use for voodoo dolls. Can you get some cocktail sticks ready? Or some skewers? I'm all out."

I have nothing bad to say about this book. It transports you, you makes you think, bite your nails, worry, ties your tummy in knots, and it's just....darn. good. writing. I can't emphasize that enough. The historical bits were incredibly realistic and heart pounding. The modern-day bits were full of thought-evoking situations that made me analyze many things about today's society and behavior.

A beautiful book, a beautiful story, about beautiful women who stand for what they believe in, be it saving their husbands' lives or memories or just holding on to a painting they believe is rightfully theirs.

I received this from Netgalley.

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