Amy Reads Books

The Girl You Left Behind

The Girl You Left Behind - Jojo Moyes I was really looking forward to reading The Girl You Left Behind, having really enjoyed both The Last Letter from Your Lover and Me Before You; Moyes' two most recent novels. However, unfortunately I feel like The Girl You Left Behind suffered from my high expectations; as I did not find it as moving or compelling as her previous novels.Plot-wise, the novel is split between the story of Sophie Lefevre in occupied France during World War One, and Liv Halston, a young widow in contemporary London. While both women are interesting, both balancing a level of strength with a level of fragility in keeping with their situation; I really failed to connect to either of them. Although Sophie's situation was unarguably the more tragic of the two; there was something that just held me back from really grasping her plight-partly, I think, this was due to the fact that I didn't really see any romanticism in her and Edouard's courtship. Whilst I really liked Liv, the modern-day story seemed a little bit confused, and I couldn't help but think that there must have been an incredibly slow news week for the art ownership case to dominate the media. I also had issues with how the Kommandent of the German occupying force appeared to have some kind of character development, only to inexplicably revert back to being a typical bad guy; it would have been nice to see a little more nuance there. Also, some of the actions taken by Sophie's family just seemed totally unbelievable.However, Moyes' writing style is still great. Her descriptions alone paint really great images of the sombre lives lived by the French during the First World War; and of the feelings that both Sophie and Liv experience. The themes of loss and moving on were also dealt with pretty well; I just couldn't help but feel that the modern-day legal proceedings tale got a little in the way of these being fully explored.All in all, The Girl You Left Behind is by no means an awful book, but in my opinion it isn't a great one either (although I do appear to be the minority on this!). For those unfamiliar with Moyes' work, I would suggest Me Before You as a better starting point.FTC: I won this book from Goodreads' First Reads Competition