The Girl You Left Behind
by Jojo Moyes

Release date: August 20, 2013
Published by: Penguin Group Viking / Pamela Dorman Books
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Where do I start with this book?  Okay, let's start with Jojo Moyes.  There is something in the way she tells a story that grabs you.  No gimmicks, fancy tricks or corny cliffhangers.  She just tells the story, not a letter or punctuation wasted or out of place.  I find her writing so easy to read without being easy reading, if you catch the difference there.  She's an artist.

I know I should share a synopsis here, but I don't think I could do it justice.  Besides, I didn't read the synopsis before picking it up and I found it to be a more wholesome experience because of it.  All you need to know is that it's a story about the strength of love and the passionate spirit.

This is the second novel of hers that I have read and I sing from the mountaintops once again, her CHARACTERS.  There is nothing amazingly different about her characters.  They are not scrupulously unique or interesting, but the way she writes them, I believe them. I believe them so much, I care about them.  They are not perfect and it's their blunders, mistakes and straight-up foolishness that irritate me to no end, but I still believe them.  Some characters do stupid things in novels, and I get angry at the author for it.  Moyes' characters do the most infuriating things and I get mad at them for it.  There is a major difference there, and it's what makes characters worth reading.

This plot is a lot thicker and more action-packed than Me Before You.  But when Moyes is writing, as I said in my Me Before You review, the plot is not what carries you through, it's the characters.
The story is split into two parts that intersect through time.  I admit, I enjoyed the first part most and was a little disappointed when the story shifted away from that character.  However, the story comes back around and everything was worth the wait.  It's a rather interesting turn of events that I did not see coming.  At moments, I thought I just could not bear the intensity of what she put her characters through, but I feel like a changed person after reading it.  Big fat sigh.

On a personal level, I felt so connected to the character Sophie.  She was one of the most complex and beautiful female characters I have read in a long time.  What happens during Sophie's time is not perfect.  There were moments I could barely stand it.  Then, there were tears, so many tears.

Read this book.  If you love history, and even if you don't.  If you love art, and even if you don't.  If you love love, and even if you don't.  You will.