Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2018
The Girl You Left Behind is a very sweet story. Like all of JoJo Moyes' books, I enjoyed every page and devoured it in a very short period of time. Having said that, I think some of her other works are more compelling.
There are two parts to The Girl You Left Behind--the story about Sophie, a woman running a bar/hotel, in small-town France, during World War I; and the story about Liv, a widow struggling to survive following the unexpected death of her husband, in current time. What unites these two woman who are living 100 years apart? Liv is now the proud owner of a painting made in Sophie's likeness, which was painted by Sophie's husband, a Matisse-inspired artist.
The problem? The two stories don't really mesh. It's truly like reading two different novels. Beyond that, there are several little piddly things that really bothered me. For example, a big deal is made about a baby pig during Sophie's section of the book. They hide it from the German soldiers so it will grow and provide sustenance for them and their neighbors. The problem? Where in the world are they getting the food to feed this pig? These people are surviving on some atrocity called black bread, a food which likely tasted as atrocious as it sounded. There were no leftovers. And it's not as if the pig could roam free, finding truffles in the yard. It had to be hidden from the Germans.
That's one of many minor oversights I found in this book. Am I being picky? Perhaps. But if an author chooses to write historical fiction, accuracy equals success. Anything less isn't acceptable to readers.
Overall, if you've enjoyed Moyes' previous books, you'll enjoy this one as well. It's worth reading.
3.5 stars rounded to 4.