Monday, July 7, 2014

The 'Right Thing' Is Never Black and White

"Just for carrying on, really.
Sometimes, my darling girl, that's heroic in itself."
--Jojo Moyes, The Girl You Left Behind

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction and Contemporary
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Pages: 384
Publication Date: August 20th, 2013
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: Me Before You & One Plus One
Goodreads Description

 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...

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.
The Story 

YOU GUYS!! Jojo Freakin' Moyes. I just can't! I KNOW she was an auto-buy author for me before but this cements it even further! The overall story is just amazing! I don't even know how to accurately describe how f'ing great her book is. The flow of the story and the characterss roles and interactions are just this perfect ebb and flow of storytelling. When I think back on this book I just want to have a big sigh. Like, 'ah' this is just such a good story.

The Characters 

Once again, Jojo takes seemingly ordinary people and turns them into something extraordinary. This is my absolutely favorite trait of hers as a writer. She makes the norm into something unique and amazing. She writes real people and real stories that could happen to people. Granted, the situations they are put in do not happen to everyone but that is what is so great. Crazy stuff happens to normal people and she takes these situations and explores it into these epic stories of conflict, love, morality, choices, EVERYTHING! Liv and Paul and Sophie are people that are living their lives just trying to do the right thing and make the best of their situations. The characters are complex and layered and I want to know these people in real life. They are simply amazing.

The History 

Sophie's part of the story takes place in France in WWI and it grabbed my attention immediately. It is laced with tension because German soldiers have taken over their small town. Sophie is a woman running a hotel and just trying to survive. She makes the choices she does in order to protect herself and her family and it is not an easy choice at all. Her story broke my freakin' heart and I love love LOVE her. She is strong and capable and a really tough heroine. She is a pillar of courage and I love that she always strives to do the right thing.

The Romance 

While I loved what we get from Sophie and her husband Edouard, Liv and Paul stole the show for me. I loved that they were both people who were starting over. The build-up during their courtship is subtle and slow-burning and tension-filled and I just LOVED it. I was rooting for these characters from the very beginning.

The Morals 

Jojo Moyes can't write a book without making you think. She takes subject matters that are controversial and discussion-inducing and makes you look at your own thoughts and beliefs. No spoilers but let's just say the topic of this book really made me question my own thoughts on the topic and what I believe is right or wrong. You'll just have to read it to know what I'm talking about. Sorry...or am I?...

The Behavior 

Again, this is not really a 'Beast' because I really loved everything in this. So I'll make the behavior of the people are Liv a critique even though it was realistic. I hated that people treated her like a thief. This poor woman was trying to get over the death of her husband and wanting to keep a happy memory. Even the people who were supposed to be her friends turned their backs. It broke my heart but made me love Liv even more. She, like Sophie, is a tough cookie who doesn't take any shit. Y'all know how much I love this in a female.

I am foaming at the mouth for the rest of Jojo's books to be published in the States so I can own all the pretty paperbacks to display on my shelf. Jojo Moyes=Auto-buy author. Hands down. 


  1. I have never read Jojo Moyes and that is very sad because everyone seems to love her books.

    The summary makes this sound like the kind of book where I would cry while reading AND I LOVE THAT.

  2. I am so scared to read these sometimes but I'm scared of the history part!!!!! Why am I horrible? I won another (not this one?) from a giveaway and I still haven't read it. But Kelly, I am going to listen to you & do so. I love love love your blog title for this one.


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