The Girl You Left Behind

“The Girl You Left Behind, by Jojo Moyes was an excellent read.

I passed up a few invites to hang out with friends so I could keep reading – which is the true sign that you are thoroughly enjoying a book!

Courtesy of Google images.

Courtesy of Google images.

The story goes back and forth between two plot lines. One is set during the First World War and the other set in current day.

The story revolves around the painting of a beautiful young woman. The painting of Sophie Lefevre was done by her artist husband, Edouard. He leaves to fight in the war and Sophie is left behind to run their hotel with her sister. The sisters struggle morally and socially when they are forced to prepare proper meals for German soldiers while their community starves on the rations. During this time, Sophie does what she thinks is best for her community and to save her beloved Edouard.   All the while, her mesmerizing portrait hangs in the hotel for the public to admire. Sophie uses it to remember a time filled with love and hope before the war.

Fast forward to current day.  Liv Halston has the very painting hanging in her own home. It was a wedding gift from her late husband and acts as an anchor in Liv’s life, serving as a reminder of her happiest times.

Liv is unaware that this painting is considered to be stolen or that the Lefevre family has hired a company that specializes in locating art stolen during the wars. She finds out when she is summoned to surrender her loved painting.

As the story weaves back and forth between the two women’s lives you feel connected to them both and worry about the direction they are each headed.  The story of Sophie unfolds as Liv’s lawyers research the painting’s history, its removal from the hotel, and how it ended up in Liv’s possession.

Liv is willing to give up everything she has to fight the Lefevre family in court and keep the painting of Sophie.  She knows they care only for the monetary value of the painting.

Was the painting stolen by the Germans or gifted to them?  The entire case is hinged on this technicality.

Who is the rightful owner of the painting and who will end up with her in the end?  It’s worth reading the 363 pages to find out!

 

The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian

The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian is a story about a young guy who is just what the title implies, a total fuck-up.

the_fuckup-large

Courtesy of Google Images

He can find a way to ruin anything good that comes his way.

He is searching for the best life with the least amount of effort and will do anything it takes to satisfy his needs.  This takes him to some of the shadier parts of New York.

He lies, steals, abuses his body and mind, cheats on his girlfriend, and even goes to great lengths to pretend he is gay to achieve one of his scams.  We should hate him, but we don’t.

I never felt sorry for anything that happened to him but I certainly enjoyed peeking in on his wreck of an existence.  The end has a twist that I didn’t see coming but is plausible as it followed the path he was heading down.

The cover design sparks conversation as it grabs people’s attention pretty quickly!

I recommend this book as it is a fast read and it is interesting the whole way through.

Y by Marjorie Celona

yToday I learned that “Y” by Marjorie Celona is a great read.

The main premise of this book is that a newborn baby is left on the steps of the YMCA.  Each chapter shifts perspective between this baby as she grows up and her birth mother.

She is moved from one foster home to the next and this story  follows her coming of age and her desire to find out who her birth parents are and what reasons they had for doing this to her.  If you want to know more you will have to read the whole story!

“Y” reminded me of two of my other favourite books: “Lullabies for Little Criminals” and “A Complicated Kindness”.  It reads the same in that it is a very flawed and naive impression of the world told by a young girl living in an undesirable situation.  She makes the best of what she believes to be normal and we admire her ingenuity and optimism.

I really enjoyed this book and read it very quickly.  Recommended!