The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

the girl you left behind

Photo Credit: Goodreads

2 women. 2 stories. 1 painting.


Sophia lives in a small France town with her sister, brother and their children. It’s World War 1 and the community has lost it’s spirit, it’s sense of fun, it’s joy. Most of their husbands are gone to fight in WWI, the Germans have taken over the town, and life has altered dramatically. Still, the women soldier on. They try to keep life as normal as possible- and some make desperate choices- not for themselves; but for the greater good.

Sophia is one of these women. The Germans have decided they need a new place to stay and eat and her hotel is the desired location. Much as Sophia does not want them in the building (similar to how Scarlet felt about Yankees at Tara) she recognizes that cooking for them might provide her family with a few extra morsels- and the hope to get through a dark period. One of the Germans, the new Kommandant, takes a liking to a beautiful painting. A painting that Sophia’s husband did of her- back in a time where life was good, food was plentiful and hard times were not known. Sophia is repelled and yet drawn to this man, this man who can talk art, who can almost remind her of life before the war. For her family, she is nice to the Kommandant- and they, at times, learn to see each other beyond the role of enemies. One day, Sophia learns news about her husband- news that hurts her deeply. She knows that she must try to have her husband brought back home- and sets out to use the 1 thing she has that the Kommandant wants…. the painting. Only, her plan does not go exactly as she hoped- and Sophia, like other women making hard choices, finds her life is about to get infinitely worse.

Nearly a hundred years later, Liv, lives in London. Liv is young and bright- and she has incredible sorrow in her life. Her husband has passed away and the only thing that brings her joy is a painting that he gave her. The painting is of a woman, of a woman from a long ago time. It’s striking and means a great deal to Liv.

The painting also means a great deal to other people- as the painting is the painting that Sophia had. As Liv fights to cling to a memory of her husband, one of the things that he gave her that brings her joy- she has to consider other things. Should the painting be returned to it’s original owners? Is the painting rightfully hers since her husband bought it?

The painting is so much more than a painting. It’s love, trust, putting others needs ahead of your own- the painting is a reminder of good times, of a life before everything changed. The painting has value- but the true value is not tangible.


Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Jojo Moyes takes a real life event (WWI) and creates a fictional story that is heartbreaking. Utterly heartbreaking. Then because she’s not quite finished breaking the reader’s hearts- she adds a current story with a woman who has lost her husband and may lose the 1 thing that is the last thing he gave her. While Sophia’s story is ten times more compelling than Liv’s- Sophia’s was almost too hard, for me as a reader, to enjoy. This is the fault of Jojo- as she takes situations, gives them a twist, and makes the reader feel like they are right there suffering along with the character.

The Girl You Left Behind is a book for book clubs- the club members can debate the actions of Sophia and Liv, as well as what they think they would do if in same situation. However, be prepared- because while as a reader you might have a strong reaction to what the right thing to do with The Girl You Left Behind is, by the end of the book- you may be questioning everything.


The Girl You Left Behind is the October She Reads selection. The above thoughts and opinions are mine alone. To see what the other reviewers at She Reads thought about The Girl You Left Behind, please visit here.



Thursday Mashup…. (giveaway, giveaway, giveaway!)

Gosh it seems like FOREVER since I’ve had a mashup!


Here’s a few #giveaways you need to know about:

1. The Book Wheel is giving away a SIGNED copy of The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer! SIGNED folks- you don’t want to miss out!


2. Read Baby Read  is giving away Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn- again, it’s SIGNED. Get thee over there to enter!


3. Luxury Reading is giving away The Good Wife by Jane Porter!


4. She Reads is giving away all 3 of Jojo Moyes books- The Last Letter To Your Lover, Me Before You, and The Girl You Left Behind.


5. Traveling With T has 3 giveaways going on this week: Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn, Weak at the Knees by Jo Kessel, and So Tough to Tame by Victoria Dahl.


6. Book-Alicious Mama is giving away Hush Little Baby by Suzanne Redfearn!


7. River City Reading is giving away Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois!


Pssssst…. Book Lovers Unite just announced that Hush Little Baby will be the November Book Club Selection! So, you might want to head over and enter Read Baby Read, Book-Alicious Mama’s or stay here and enter my giveaway! I’d be trying to triple my odds- though, if I were you!

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes is a book that is touching- it’s heartfelt and quite an enjoyable read. However, Me Before You does have sadness- sadness that makes the readers hearts hurt; but the reader will not regret the book. This book is a love story- a beautiful love story. It’s not a typical love story- it’s so much more.

Louisa Clark, a young woman, has just been let go from her menial job- however, it’s a job that she loves. Louisa is proud of her tiny existence-steady boyfriend, lives with her family, has never been further than the area she lives in. She’s fine with that. She lives a small life and cannot see it any other way. Will Traynor, though, has been used to living a big life- traveling extensively, mountain climbing, having his pick of women, a job that he not only loves- but that he is successful at- which defines his personality. Will Traynor knows that life is for the living- and he intends to make the most of it; until the accident. Paralyzed and depressed- Will is not sure that life is worth living- if he can’t live like he did.

When Louisa takes a job being Will’s caregiver, she is put off by his attitude and ways. Will apparently feels the same way for some time. Though, with time, they get to know one another and see the good in each other. Each day, the two grow closer to one another- Louisa tries to get Will to see that life is worth living and Will tries to get to Louisa to see that being complacent about life is no way to live. Will wants Louisa to be out experiencing life- traveling, experiencing, going to events.As their time together continues, each makes an impact on the other one. Louisa thinks she has found a way to make Will see that life can be good in the chair- that life does not have to be over because he is paralyzed. Will, though, does have some hard lessons for Louisa about life and love.

Me Before You– a tale that is meant to be read and enjoyed. The reader will laugh and cry- experience a rush of emotions. When the last page is turned and the book is closed, the story of Will and Louisa- the journey they take the reader on, the lessons they teach, the feelings they share- will stick with the reader. And, for a writer, I think that’s the best thing.

Literary Friday ya’ll…

Friday! I’m off for a weekend of books and foods and friends- don’t be jealous!

1. Deep South Mag is back with their Twitter chats today- Attica Locke, author of The Cutting Season (it made the Deep South Mag Fall/Winter Reading List!) Come chat. NOW. 2-3pm EST. Use #southernlit to join in.

Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday is also posted- Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday and talk of the Pulpwood Queen’s Girlfriend Weekend among other things!

2. My #fridayreads is Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. Really enjoying it so far!

3. I’ve been hearing such great things about Me Before You by JoJo Moyes that I’m putting that on my “To Read” list!


Sorry to cut it short- I’m chatting in the Attica Locke Twitter chat, preparing to leave for my weekend away- and basically trying to do too many things at once! I need about 5 more hands to accomplish all!