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Kat's Review of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

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My Rating: 3/5

My first Jojo Moyes book was her last release Me Before You which I both devoured and loved. I was looking forward to reading another by her but if I'm being honest the synopsis didn't grab me quite as much. The synopsis explains that in France in 1916 Sophie Lefevre is trying to keep her family safe while her husband Edouard fights at the front. The Germans descend on her hotel every evening and when the new Kommandant sees Sophie's portrait it starts a terrible journey for Sophie. Almost a century later, the portrait is owned by Liv Halston who is also taking her own terrible journey as she is grieving the loss of her husband.

I don't tend to read stuff set in the war times as it tends not to hold my attention as much. I decided that as I loved JJM's last book so much I would give this a go even though not my first choice. What surprised me the most was how quickly I was drawn into Sophie's world? Jojo Moyes did a wonderful job of ensuring the reader really understands how tough times were for the French when the Germans were invading. I found myself drawn to Sophie and keen to find out more about her life and how she ended up in the position she was. Before I knew it I was a large chunk of the way through and I actually felt quite disappointed when the story jumped forward to Liv Halston and her current situation. From there on in, the reader is taken between Liv's current dilemma regarding the painting and the life of the woman who is in it.

Although the writing was good and I was enjoying the story I found myself yearning to read more about Sophie and less about Liv. Although Liv's story was okay, I just found the character a little on the irritating side. I much preferred the history of Sophie's story and was pleased when towards the end we start realising just what happened to Sophie Lefevre. I don't know why Liv irritated me so much, but Sophie was somebody I wanted to read more about, whereas Liv's story grated on my nerves a little and I couldn't help feeling like she was just feeling sorry for herself. Maybe the stark contrast between time and what both women endure had something to do with it? After reading and enjoying her last book, I must say this wasn't as good in my opinion. Maybe if the story focused on Sophie more it would have been just as good as her last book.

As it was, the book was a solid read, and one I'm sure her fans will enjoy. For me it was an okay read but not my favourite book of Moyes. I will however still look forward to the next one she releases.

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