Tag: JoJo Moyes

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Posted January 26, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 Comments

me before you
Rowena’s review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book so when it was picked up as my book club’s January Book of the Month, I was pretty excited to jump into the story. I’ve never read anything by Jojo Moyes so I didn’t know what to expect going into the book but I will say that Moyes made me cry a lot throughout the telling of this story.

When Lou Clark loses her job at a cafe, she lands a job as a caretaker of a quadriplegic named Will Traynor. Will Traynor isn’t the old man that she was expecting but she needs the job so she lets herself get talked into keeping the job. Will isn’t an easy guy to get to know but the farther you read into the book, the more you grow to love him. Mean ass and all.

In the beginning of the book, I didn’t quite know what to think of Lou’s family. They were a bunch of jerks to her and it frustrated me that she just took whatever verbal dig they threw in her direction but I thought Moyes did a good job of addressing everything that happens in the book, in a way that explained without bogging the story down. This book wasn’t an easy read by any means but it was a compelling one.

Both Lou and Will are complex characters going through different things and seeing them help each other in a way that neither was expecting made the reading experience that much more interesting.

Lou was a great heroine. Her character unravels slowly throughout the entire book and by the end, you are such a huge Lou fan that your heart really breaks for her. I loved seeing Lou change and really come into her own. I thought Moyes did a great job of capturing Lou’s spirit throughout the whole book. She really shows us that you never really stop growing and learning. No matter what age you are, changes still happen and learning never stops. I really liked that Will was a part of her growth. I loved that a lot.

Will was a hard person to like. He was so mean to Lou when she first came onto the scene but even then, I knew that I was going to love him. I knew that we were going to get to know him, fall in love with him and I knew that he was going to break my heart.

I was right on all of those counts because I did come to love the hell out of him and he did break my heart. Oh  man, I’m starting to tear up just thinking about him and the love I know he came to have for Lou. The love that Lou came to have for him. Their relationship was my very favorite part of the book. Watching them grow so close to one another, seeing feelings develop made the book so freaking good.

Lou’s mission that she gave herself when she finds out about Will’s plans broke my heart. Every page that I turned, I hoped and prayed that she would be successful in her mission. I hoped that she would be able to give Will what he needed to change his mind.

I was wrapped up in the story from the very beginning. The story starts with a bang and never really slowed. The story unfolded in a series of little things that led to bigger things and I enjoyed the whole thing as a whole. It’s not your typical romantic story and I was a bit bummed about that but other than that, this was an enjoyable read. I will definitely be reading more from this author and I can’t WAIT for the movie.

The secondary characters were great as well. Lou’s family came around for me. In the beginning, I didn’t really care for them and hated the way that they treated Lou. I was  also a bit mad at Lou for letting them get away with saying whatever they wanted to her and treating her like the step child in the family but as the story goes, her family wised up and got better so I didn’t end up hating them in the end. I actually came to really love her family…just like I came to love Will’s family and Nathan. All of the characters brought a little something to the story and I appreciated their addition.

Overall, this book was good. It was a great introduction into Jojo Moyes work and I look forward to discussing everything with my book club. My heart is still broken from the ending but I enjoyed the book as a whole still.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Viking. You can purchase it here and here in e-format.

7 Comments
Tags: , , , ,


Guest Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

Posted November 12, 2013 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

The Girl You Left Behind - Jojo Moyes

Ames’ review of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes.

France, 1916: Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dan
gerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything—her family, her reputation, and her life—to see her husband again.

Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the painting’s true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is—putting Liv’s belief in what is right to the ultimate test.

I’m not the biggest fan of books set during either World War. It’s a personal choice, I just prefer books set during happier times. But Jojo Moyes had a guest post here at Book Binge  recently and I was intrigued by what she had to say. I took the plunge and decided to read The Girl You Left Behind. I’m so glad I did.

It starts off with Sophie Lefevre in France during World War 1. She’s moved back to her small town to be with her family while her husband is off fighting. Sophie and her sister run an inn and one night after a confrontation with the Germans over a pig, Sophie has caught the eye of the new Kommandant. Well, a portrait of Sophie has caught the Kommandant’s eye. Sophie’s husband is an artist and he was a contemporary of Matisse. The Kommandant is an art lover and after he forces Sophie to start cooking him supper every day, they have tentative discussions about art. The local people, prone to gossip, do not take kindly to the Kommandant’s favor upon Sophie and her family. When Sophie discovers that her husband was taken to the worst prison camp the Germans have, she goes to the Kommandant and asks him to have her husband moved. She’ll give him the portrait for her husband’s safety. The Kommandant agrees, but then something goes wrong…

After that, the story jumps to the present day and we’re introduced to Liv Halston. She’s a young widow who’s barely holding on. She lives in a house she can no longer afford and she’s avoiding facing her debts. But her husband built the house and it would feel like a betrayal to his memory to leave it. It’s been 4 years since his death, but she’s still grieving. Then one night she meets Paul at a gay bar (she was feeling a bit sorry for herself and wanted a stress-free drink, without getting hit on lol) and Paul is at the bar because his brother works there. Paul is a former cop and American (Liv is British) and now he works on locating art stolen by the Nazis and returning it to the rightful owners. And lo and behold, he starts a relationship with Liv when he gets a new case for a portrait. The artist is Edouard Lefevre and the portrait is of his wife. Paul doesn’t realize at first that Liv is the one who has the portrait but things definitely go downhill for them when he sees it.

And this is where things really get interesting. The story now goes between the two time periods when the case goes to court. Liv refuses to part with the portrait. Her husband bought it fair and square from an American woman and it holds great sentimental value for her. The Lefevre family didn’t even know of its existence until a few years ago – and even Paul has his doubts that they hold any sentimental value about it. They just see money signs. So to court it goes – there is 50 years missing from that painting’s provenance and I cried as the story of that painting and Sophie’s fate unfolded. First I cried in sorrow, then in happiness. Any book that makes me cry is a good read.

The author did an excellent job of portraying both women’s lives in their different time periods. I was so caught up in Sophie’s story and the way it stopped to pick up Liv’s story made me read that much faster. I had to know how it ended for her. She was so sure she was going to be reunited with her husband. But the day to day living under German rule, that was well done and not too depressing. The way the book started is actually pretty funny. It hooked me right away. And then later, when Sophie’s story gets picked back up, oh man, that was so hard to read about. I cried.

I like how Liv’s story mirrored Sophie’s as the trial took place. And her search for the truth. I liked that too. Those genealogy shows are some of my favorites (Who Do You Think You Are?) and that part of the story was like that. And Liv’s search and Paul’s as well definitely led to some great finds. Again, I cried. LOL I cried for the last 50 pages I believe. Emotional hangover when I closed that book.

The Girl You Left Behind is going to make my top 10 list of best books of 2013. I highly recommend this. 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Pamela Dorman Books.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

0 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,


Q&A with Jojo Moyes, author of THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND!

Posted September 16, 2013 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

The Girl You Left Behind- Jojo Moyes
Please join us in welcoming Jojo Moyes to the blog today as she talks about THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND, her new release.

THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND, though a love story, features strong female relationships as well. What made you want to write about the connections that can form between women? If Liv and Sophie had lived in the same time, do you think they would have been friends?

My female friendships are so important to me; I honestly don’t know how women survive without them. I get very bored of reading manufactured narratives that pit women against women; the working mums vs. stay at homes, old vs. young, the ‘evil’ woman boss who is trying to keep younger women down—I don’t recognise these images—most women I know are actually pretty supportive of each other. So I liked having relationships in this book where women are supportive of each other, even if their relationships are often complex and changing. To me that reflects real life.

And yes, I think that Sophie and Liv might have been friends—I think through her sister’s grief, Sophie might have understood Liv’s own. And both knew what it was like to utterly adore your husband.

The reclamation of art taken during wartime is central to the plot. How did you first encounter this topic and what kind of research did you do to learn more about it?

I was briefly the arts correspondent for The Independent newspaper in London, so I knew a bit about the legal issues. But I read an amazing news story about a young woman reporter who had been asked to mind a huge collection of stolen Nazi artwork, and was given a very valuable stolen Cranach as a ‘thank you.’ Many decades later when it came up for auction it was recognised and became the subject of a claim.

It would seem the issue of returning stolen art is clear-cut, but Liv finds herself trying to keep a painting that may have been ill-gotten. Is there room for sympathy on both sides?

Without wanting to diminish in any way the suffering of those who lost their precious belongings, I think there is. The more time that goes by, the more complicated the issue becomes, as people buy and sell in good faith, not knowing the painting’s tainted past. These things are also complicated when great legal industries spring up around them, as seems to have happened in the case of stolen artwork.

You create a vivid sense of French life under the German Occupation in WWI. Did you know much about this period prior to writing the novel?

No I didn’t, but the more research I did, the more fascinated I became by it. I knew about the terrible losses suffered in northern France during the first world war, but I knew little about life away from the Western Front, and the fact that in a great swathe of northern France Belgian and French people had their homes and belongings requisitioned in such a widespread and systematic way.

Sophie and Liv exist a century apart, but their lives are strongly connected, making the past feel very much alive in your story. Do you feel a strong link to the past or a particular historic figure?

That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure I do. I’m always amazed when people do past life regression and say they turned out to be Cleopatra or Florence Nightingale… I think I’d be the anonymous girl who ran the fruit stall near the river, or kept the accounts in the hat shop. But I do like to look at the lives of particularly brave women in history though, undercover women agents, in wartime or Amelia Earhart, say, and try to use their actions to make me braver in my everyday life, like standing up to a traffic warden….

What do you hope readers will take away from THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND?

I hope they’ll be transported into a time and place they didn’t know about. And I hope that they will put themselves in the place of Sophie and Liv, and ask: what would I do in their shoes? I love writing strong, resourceful female characters, and Sophie was one of my favourites, so I hope some women might be a little bit inspired too. Mostly I simply hope that they will feel glad they picked up the book and took the journey with me.


Thanks for stopping by the blog, Jojo.

We hope our dear readers will head out and snag their copies of THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND.  It promises to be a great read!

2 Comments
Tags: , , ,


Excerpt (+ a Giveaway): Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Posted January 24, 2013 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 15 Comments

Today we have an excerpt of JoJo Moyes‘ latest release, Me Before You.

Me Before YouThey had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Check out the Prologue.

Reprinted by arrangement with Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Copyright © 2012 by Jojo Moyes.

Prologue

2007

When he emerges from the bathroom she is awake, propped up against the pillows and flicking through the travel brochures that were beside his bed. She is wearing one of his T-shirts, and her long hair is tousled in a way that prompts reflexive thoughts of the previous night. He stands there, enjoying the brief flashback, rubbing the water from his hair with a towel.

She looks up from a brochure and pouts. She is probably slightly too old to pout, but they’ve been going out a short enough time for it still to be cute.

“Do we really have to do something that involves trekking up mountains, or hanging over ravines? It’s our first proper holiday together, and there is literally not one single trip in these that doesn’t involve either throwing yourself off something or”—she pretends to shudder—“wearing fleece.”

She throws them down on the bed, stretches her caramel-colored arms above her head. Her voice is husky, testament to their missed hours of sleep. “How about a luxury spa in Bali? We could lie around on the sand . . . spend hours being pampered . . . long relaxing nights . . .”

“I can’t do those sorts of holidays. I need to be doing something.”

“Like throwing yourself out of airplanes.”

“Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.”

She pulls a face. “If it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll stick with knocking it.”

His shirt is faintly damp against his skin. He runs a comb through his hair and switches on his mobile phone, wincing at the list of messages that immediately pushes its way through to the little screen.

“Right,” he says. “Got to go. Help yourself to breakfast.” He leans over the bed to kiss her. She smells warm and perfumed and deeply sexy. He inhales the scent from the back of her hair, and briefly loses his train of thought as she wraps her arms around his neck, pulling him down toward the bed.

“Are we still going away this weekend?”

He extricates himself reluctantly. “Depends what happens on this deal. It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment. There’s still a possibility I might have to be in New York. Nice dinner somewhere Thursday, either way? Your choice of restaurant.” His motorbike leathers are on the back of the door, and he reaches for them.

She narrows her eyes. “Dinner. With or without Mr. BlackBerry? ”

“What? ”

“Mr. BlackBerry makes me feel like Miss Gooseberry.” The pout again. “I feel like there’s always a third person vying for your attention.”

“I’ll turn it on to silent.”

“Will Traynor!” she scolds. “You must have some time when you can switch it off.”

“I turned it off last night, didn’t I? ”

“Only under extreme duress.”

He grins. “Is that what we’re calling it now?” He pulls on his leathers. And Lissa’s hold on his imagination is finally broken. He throws his motorbike jacket over his arm, and blows her a kiss as he leaves.

There are twenty-two messages on his BlackBerry, the first of which came in from New York at 3:42 A.M. Some legal problem. He takes the lift down to the underground car park, trying to update himself with the night’s events.

“Morning, Mr. Traynor.”

The security guard steps out of his cubicle. It’s weatherproof, even though down here there is no weather to be protected from. Will sometimes wonders what he does down here in the small hours, staring at the closed-circuit television and the glossy bumpers of £60,000 cars that never get dirty.

He shoulders his way into his leather jacket. “What’s it like out there, Mick? ”

“Terrible. Raining cats and dogs.”

Will stops. “Really? Not weather for the bike? ”

Mick shakes his head. “No, sir. Not unless you’ve got an inflatable attachment. Or a death wish.”

Will stares at his bike, then peels himself out of his leathers. No matter what Lissa thinks, he is not a man who believes in taking unnecessary risks. He unlocks the top box of his bike and places the leathers inside, locking it and throwing the keys at Mick, who catches them neatly with one hand. “Stick those through my door, will you?”

“No problem. You want me to call a taxi for you? ”

“No. No point both of us getting wet.”

Mick presses the button to open the automatic barrier and Will steps out, lifting a hand in thanks. The early morning is dark and thunderous around him, the Central London traffic already dense and slow despite the fact that it is barely half past seven. He pulls his collar up around his neck and strides down the street toward the junction, from where he is most likely to hail a taxi. The roads are slick with water, the grey light shining on the mirrored pavement.

He curses inwardly as he spies the other suited people standing on the edge of the curb. Since when did the whole of London begin getting up so early? Everyone has had the same idea.

He is wondering where best to position himself when his phone rings. It is Rupert.

“I’m on my way in. Just trying to get a cab.” He catches sight of a taxi with an orange light approaching on the other side of the road, and begins to stride toward it, hoping nobody else has seen. A bus roars past, followed by a lorry whose brakes squeal, deafening him to Rupert’s words. “Can’t hear you, Rupe,” he yells against the noise of the traffic. “You’ll have to say that again.” Briefly marooned on the island, the traffic flowing past him like a current, he can see the orange light glowing, holds up his free hand, hoping that the driver can see him through the heavy rain.

“You need to call Jeff in New York. He’s still up, waiting for you. We were trying to get you last night.”

“What’s the problem?”

“Legal hitch. Two clauses they’re stalling on under section . . . signature. . . papers . . .” His voice is drowned out by a passing car, its tires hissing in the wet.

“I didn’t catch that.”

The taxi has seen him. It is slowing, sending a fine spray of water as it slows on the opposite side of the road. He spies the man further along whose brief sprint slows in disappointment as he sees Will must get there before him. He feels a sneaking sense of triumph. “Look, get Cally to have the paperwork on my desk,” he yells. “I’ll bethere in ten minutes.”

He glances both ways then ducks his head as he runs the last few steps across the road toward the cab, the word “Blackfriars” already on his lips. The rain is seeping down the gap between his collar and his shirt. He will be soaked by the time he reaches the office, even walking this short distance. He may have to send his secretary out for another shirt.

“And we need to get this due diligence thing worked out before Martin gets in—”

He glances up at the screeching sound, the rude blare of a horn. He sees the side of the glossy black taxi in front of him, the driver already winding down his window, and at the edge of his field of vision something he can’t quite make out, something coming toward him at an impossible speed.

He turns toward it, and in that split second he realizes that he is in its path, that there is no way he is going to be able to get out of its way. His hand opens in surprise, letting the BlackBerry fall to the ground. He hears a shout, which may be his own. The last thing he sees is a leather glove, a face under a helmet, the shock in the man’s eyes mirroring his own. There is an explosion as everything fragments.

And then there is nothing.

**Giveaway Alert** We have three (3) copies of Me Before You, along with 2 awesome posters, to giveaway. Leave a comment on this post telling us why you want to win and we’ll enter your name. US and Canada only. No PO Boxes. Please Note: You must include a valid email address with your comment to be eligible. Contest ends: 1/31/13 @ 11:59pm. 

This book is available from Pamela Dorman Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

15 Comments
Tags: , , ,