Jojo Moyes does it again! I resisted reading her previous book, Me Before You, because I didn't think I'd like it based on the premise. But when my book club chose it for discussion, I reluctantly jumped in and surprisingly LOVED IT. And for whatever stupid reason I wasn't sure I'd like this book either.
Well, it does have two plotlines: one historical and the other contemporary. Y'all know I have issues with multiple narrators and hopping back and forth in time. I ALWAYS like the historical bits best, and the contemporary stuff usually pales in comparison. But much to my delight, this book was very well balanced! I should've known Jojo wouldn't steer me wrong.
Sophie is the wife of an artist living in German-occupied France during WWI. She's spirited and hard-headed--not one to bow easily to the Germans, even when they invade her village AND the hotel she runs with her sister. The family is forced to cook for the soldiers and her relationship with their commander is odd. Friendly enough, but strained given the circumstances. And he seems oddly fond of a painting of Sophie, which was done by her now-missing husband. On the flip-side, Liv is the owner of the Sophie painting in the present. Her husband is deceased, her finances are strained, and there's a legal battle over the ownership of the painting, which is also one of Liv's most prized possessions.
I was PISSED the first time this book switched from Sophie's time period to Liv's. I admit, I threw a fit on Twitter, and Trish laughed at me. But eventually, once I calmed down and read some more, I enjoyed both time periods in this book very much. Of course, I still liked Sophie's story the most, but they were integrated in a way that made the whole thing extremely enjoyable, and through Moyes' expert characterization, I genuinely cared for everyone in the book.
I'll just stop resisting Jojo Moyes books now. I heart them!
Pub. Date: August 2013
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Source: Purchased by me!