Friday, February 22, 2013

Fiction Friday - The Girl You Left Behind

I have a little confession to make:  I always thought that Jojo Moyes was just chick lit, fodder for the masses.  Nothing wrong with that, but when I was browsing Amazon and looking for something more substantial, I hurried on past.  How wrong can a person be! I first came across JM when she was recommended by a friend, and with nothing to else to read, I downloaded, Me Before You.  I was hooked.  It's not often I come across a writer that knows how to construct a plot and run with it.  This writer has got it.  Her characters literally dance into your life, they're so real.  I wanted this novel to run and run.  Anyway, that's not what I wanted to write about today; today I want to present you with (fanfare) The Girl You Left Behind.  Where to start - the plot?  It begins in 1916 wartime France in a bar called Le Coq Rouge, which is run by two sisters Helene and Sophie.  Their husbands are away fighting in the war and their village is gradually overun by the Boche.  Le Coq Rouge becomes the favourite eating place for the local German soldiers and it is there that the Kommandant notices a painting of Sophie, painted by her husband, a student of Matisse.  He falls in love with it; with her.  The story of Sophie goes on to what seems to be a tragic ending, but the painting lives on and emerges in Part Two of the book, residing in a minimalist architects house in London owned by the young widow of said architect, Liv Halston.  Over a lost handbag, she meets Paul, who works for a company specialising in restoring lost works of art to their rightful owners.  Well, you know what's coming don't you?!  I'm not going to spoil this for you because you're going to find out for yourself when you read it - you are going to aren't you?!.

The two plotlines weave in amongst each other with ease and familiarity.  JM writes with great clarity, empathy and historic knowledge and the result is a great read.  Go get. 

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