Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: The Girl You Left Behind

JoJo Moyes' The Girl You Left Behind was so much like The Last Letter from Your Lover that I am not sure I can even tell the two apart. Oh, the story line was different but the structure was nearly identical.

First there was a story in which I was utterly engrossed, completely wrapped up in the characters, reading frantically to see what would happen to them… and then boom. Their story is over and we move to contemporary times and a new story that loosely involves the first story. I really liked The Last Letter From Your Lover, but this time I felt manipulated.

Here's the thing: the first story in both of these novels was absolutely fantastic. This novel tells the heartbreaking story of Sophie, a young French bride whose artist-husband is a French soldier in WWI. When her village is occupied by German soldiers, Sophie has to make some hard decisions in order to protect her family and save Eduoard. This part was well written and captivating.

And then. We move to the present day with a story that I never could quite pin down. I couldn't see the characters, couldn't feel them, and didn't care what they did because of that. I just wanted to go back to Sophie. Sophie's story does wrap up ultimately in the second half, but only with a few speculative sentences.

I'm probably done reading this author for awhile, unless I hear a compelling argument that not all her books follow this format. I just want the first stories told to completion without any clever intertwining through the generations.

1 comment:

Marg said...

This split time narrative is very common in historical fiction, not only in Jojo Moyes' books.

Me Before You doesn't follow this format at all and has a very different type of feel to it.