Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Girl You Left Behind - Jojo Moyes

‘And always, somewhere underneath, the sense that she is missing something; secrets that float just out of sight.’

This is a dual time frame novel and the new book from the author of the hugely successful ‘Me Before You.

I really enjoyed curling up and getting lost in this very romantic and engaging story. Most of all I loved the historical storyline, learning about Sophie’s life with Edouard prior to World War I, and her daily life during the war, struggling to keep herself, her sister and her sister’s children safe and well during the German occupation of their town in France, whilst her beloved Edouard is fighting at the Front.

A talented artist, Edouard painted a portrait of Sophie which catches the eye of the new Kommandant of the occupying forces in their town. Once a successful, thriving hotel in the town, Sophie’s home and place of work is now being used to replenish the strength of the enemy soldiers, under the Kommandant’s instructions. As he spends more time there, Sophie begins to wonder if his interest in her may offer her a way to see Edouard again, but she takes an enormous risk.

Liv is a bereaved widow still enduring the heartbreak of losing her talented archictect husband at a young age and after only a few years of marriage. Prior to his death, her husband had given the beautiful portrait of Sophie to Liv as a gift almost a hundred years after the events affecting Sophie occurred. Liv is struggling to make things work and despite a chance encounter that hints at potential new love at last, events involving the portrait may scupper this almost as soon as it has begun.

Both storylines held my attention, but I felt very drawn into the historical element, and would love to see the author return to this sort of period again. The ending was very satisfying and heartwarming. I understand the wide appeal of this author and appreciated her very readable style, and I liked this novel even more than Me Before You. I found this a captivating story, complete with much intrigue, secrets, tension and romance.

Published by Penguin

Reviewed by Lindsay Healy

Reviewed for, netgalley and goodreads first reads.


  1. I really enjoyed this too, Lindsay and I think she excelled in the historical storyline. My first Jojo Moyes read was historical fiction, The Ship of Brides about Australian war brides sailing to England to be reunited with their husbands in 1946. I'd love to read more like this.

    1. Thanks for commenting Treez. I'm glad you liked the historical element too. I really like the sound of The Ship of Brides, thanks for telling me about that one, will look out for it.

  2. This sounds like something I would really enjoy. Thanks for the excellent review.

    1. Thanks for commenting Barbara. It has a good mix of elements making up an enjoyable book.

  3. I really liked this one too, Jojo Moyes is fast becoming one of my fav authors


    1. It's a lovely book isn't it. I've read Me Before You, and I'd like to read some of this authors earlier books now too. Thanks for commenting Lainy.


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