Friday, April 24, 2015

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes weaves the tale of two stories together to create a captivating book. The first story, set in World War I France follows a young woman named Sophie, the owner of a hotel. When the Germans make their way into France, Sophie and her sister are forced into using their hotel restaurant to feed the German soldiers and their Kommandant. With her husband gone to war, the Kommandant and Sophie begin to chat about art, particularly the piece entitled The Girl You Left Behind which was painted by Sophie's husband. Not hearing from her husband for several months has Sophie desperate to do just about anything to ensure that he is safe, even if it means sleeping with the enemy. When things don't go according to plan, Sophie is sent to a prison camp in Germany and little is known about after that.

Fast forward to the year 2000 in London, where Liv is still grieving her architect husband. On a whim one night, Liv decides to go out on the town where she meets Paul, a former cop. The two strike up a relationship only to have that relationship go awry when Liv finds out that Paul is working for a firm that recovers stolen art work. When Paul realizes that Liv is now the owner of the once looted, now sought after painting of The Girl You Left Behind things get far more complicated.

Moyes does an amazing job of weaving together two captivating stories so different from one another. Who will keep the painting? What happened to Sophie? Can Paul and Liv work things out? All of these questions come down to the final few pages. Using beautiful language, Moyes once again wrote a book that's unable to be put down.