Monday, November 14, 2016

The Girl You Left Behind / Jojo Moyes / 369 pgs

This is one of those books that I would have never read if it were not a book club book. It's also a book that I would have probably given up on if it were not a book club book, because it was a bit of a snorefest. I will put in a disclaimer and say that this is the first Jojo Moyes book I have ever read. Having already been spoiled a year ago or so on the ending of Me Before You, I decided that I would prefer not to read that book, nor its sequel.

In 1916, a French town is occupied by German troops during WWI. Sophie and her sister run a bar/restaurant/hotel and must cook daily meals for their occupiers. Both of their husbands are fighting in the war, both leaving their young sons with their moms. Sophie's husband, Edouard, is an impressionist artist. The Kommandant becomes enamored with a portrait of Sophie that her husband painted of her, but Sophie is arrested and sent away on a train. Seventy years later, a young widow has the portrait, now entitled "The Girl You Left Behind" but soon finds herself embroiled in a fight to keep the painting when the descendants of Edouard and Sophie sue to get the painting back.

I think this may be the third book I've read in as many months where the action flip flops between the past and the present, and every time I find myself not at all caring about what is occurring in the present. I guess I just prefer my historical fiction to stay in the past. The only time the present ought to be mentioned is if time travel is somehow a factor.

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