The Girl You Left Behind

All posts tagged The Girl You Left Behind

Honeymoon In Paris – Jojo Moyes

Published February 18, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

At the heart of Jojo Moyes’ heartbreaking new novel, The Girl You Left Behind, are two haunting love stories – that of Sophie and Edouard Lefevre in France during the First World War, and, nearly a century later, Liv Halston and her husband David.

Honeymoon in Paris takes place several years before the events to come in The Girl You Left Behind when both couples have just married. Sophie, a provincial girl, is swept up in the glamour of Belle Epoque Paris but discovers that loving a feted artist like Edouard brings undreamt of complications. Following in Sophie’s footsteps a hundred years later, Liv, after a whirlwind romance, finds her Parisian honeymoon is not quite the romantic getaway she had been hoping for…

This enthralling self-contained story will have you falling in love with Liv and Sophie, and with Paris then and now, and it is the perfect appetizer for the The Girl You Left Behind, a spellbinding story of love, devotion and passion in the hardest of times.

What did I think?:

Honeymoon in Paris is a novella meant as a sort of prequel to the author’s book The Girl You Left Behind. Within it Jojo Moyes uses different chapters to narrate two love stories of women on their honeymoon to set the scene of two different time periods which provides a heart-warming and somewhat comforting read. The first story is that of Olivia (Liv) Halston in the present time (2002) and her new husband David, a much in demand architect. A bit too in demand, in fact as we find out when we meet Liv at the top of the Eiffel Tower, on her honeymoon but very much on her own. It turns out that one of David’s big jobs which involves commissioning a home for the rich Goldstein family means that he has to leave her to her own devices to attend important meetings. Liv is understandably crushed and starts to worry that perhaps she has made a mistake in marrying him. She is well-known by her friends to be impulsive and only knew David for three months before he proposed, a sum total of six months now they are married.

Chapter Two and we switch to our second love story in Paris, 1912 where former shop girl Sophie and acclaimed but small artist Edouard Lefevre have recently wed and are the picture of wedded bliss. Most days they don’t know where their next meal is coming from if Edouard hasn’t managed to sell a painting but they are both incredibly happy. It probably doesn’t help that Edouard is a generous man and Sophie finds that a few of his so-called “friends” who have bought paintings from him are in debt to him for as long as seven months. When Sophie discovers a couple of his friends in a bar with exceedingly fat wallets she takes it upon herself to be debt collector for her husband. A fight breaks out when one of the men insults Sophie and Edouard hears it but she manages to get the money and they have a wonderful meal that evening. Things don’t stay too rosy in Paris-dise however when Sophie is introduced to some of the girls that Edouard has painted. According to one particular venomous woman, who still holds a bit of a candle for Edouard, he is “a man of certain appetites,” (ooh, my!) who slept with all the women he painted, and this honeymoon period he has with Sophie is just a phase, he will return to his old behaviour, guaranteed. Sophie is obviously distraught with this woman’s claims and confronts Edouard with his past.

The two stories do end with a happy resolution, I have to say as this is only a prequel to the story that comes in The Girl You Left Behind which also follows the two couples. I think the author does a great job of telling two very different love stories set in different time periods. Personally, I preferred Sophie and Edouard’s story as I just fell in love with their characters, especially Sophie who seemed a bit more fiesty than our current day heroine, Liv. I also enjoyed the tiny cross-over in one chapter where Liv sees a painting in a gallery by our war-time hero of the past, Edouard Lefevre. I think it was also a nice way of explaining that marriage and a relationship isn’t all about the honeymoon period, it requires work and disagreements are inevitable, despite the intense love you may have for someone. I have to admit it wasn’t my favourite of Jojo Moyes work, but I do highly recommend The Girl You Left Behind as a beautiful, must-read novel. This is a nice little prequel that gives you a great introduction to the characters but isn’t a necessary read if you haven’t read the novel and can also be read quite easily as a stand alone.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

NEXT JOJO MOYES READ: Night Music, coming soon!

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The Girl You Left Behind – Jojo Moyes

Published June 6, 2013 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.

What did I think?:

I had such high expectations for this book having loved the author’s previous work “Me Before You,” one of the Richard and Judy Book Club winners. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed, and although this wasn’t the perfect five stars, it was a cracking story. It is told in a dual narrative style by two women, one based in 1916, and one in the present day. In 1916, Edouard Lefevre has painted a portrait of his wife Sophie (which she entitles “The Girl You Left Behind”) before he goes to fight in the First World War for France. Sophie and her sister Helene are struggling with poverty and starvation along with the rest of their small town as it is taken over by the Germans. They are forced to prepare sumptuous and enticing dishes for the soldiers in the restaurant that they own – Le Coq Rouge, despite being famished themselves. The painting that Sophie’s husband painted hangs proudly in the restaurant and the Kommandant of the German division takes a bit of a fancy to it, and to Sophie herself. Sophie begins to question how far she would go to be re-united with her husband again.

Meanwhile, our present day heroine Liv (Olivia) is struggling herself, trying to come to terms with the sudden death of her husband, and is in severe financial difficulties. The only thing that seems to keep her going is the beautiful glass house that her late architect husband built for them, and a painting he purchased for her as a wedding gift which is… you’ve guessed it, “The Girl You Left Behind.” However, just when it seems things might be turning round for her in the love department, Liv learns something about the history of the painting, and she is in danger of losing everything dear to her.

I absolutely loved this book, it kept me gripped with its fast pace and intrigued with its mystery. Sophie and Liv are beautiful and inspiring characters whom the reader warms to almost instantly. The dual narrative of the two women was incredibly effective, and I found myself constantly curious and a little melancholy with the history that is recounted. I always worry with a book like this that the romance element can get a bit cheesy, which is why I don’t personally rate “chick-lit.” (Sorry any chick-lit fans!). This novel however, managed to pull it off without me wanting to stick my fingers down my throat which is always a good thing.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

WWW Wednesday #5

Published June 5, 2013 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..
•What are you currently reading?
•What did you recently finish reading?
•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?

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I loved Jojo Moyes “Me Before You” and have high expectations for this one also! Just over 100 pages in and loving it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

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This is on Waterstones Book Club list for the summer – it is about an American man who marries a woman from Bangladesh after meeting her online. Good story dealing with some important issues regarding families and relationships. My review can be found HERE.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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Another one of those books that I’ve been meaning to read for ages but haven’t got round to – can’t wait!

Please feel free to leave your WWW’s and I’ll pop over to see what you’re reading this week. Happy Reading Everyone!