Tag Archives | Jojo Moyes

Tell Me Something True: A Visit With Jojo Moyes

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Jojo Moyes | @JojoMoyes

Don’t forget that today is the last day to enter this months giveaway. See this post for details on how to win all three of Jojo Moyes’ novels.

Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes

I grew up surrounded by art. My parents were artists (they met at art school) and my father later ran a business storing and transporting art, so my earliest memories were spent wandering his warehouse, gazing at the priceless paintings and sculptures through the stretchers and cases. While art was treated reverently, it was also unremarkable, and as a child, having sat under his desk copying the Jackson Pollocks, or Francis Bacons, I would ask why my art wasn’t as valuable as the paintings in the high security area.

It is a question that still preoccupies me. What separates two works that look the same, that just happen to be by two different people?

In my book The Girl You Left Behind, a once-worthless painting becomes the subject of a multi-million pound lawsuit after the artist who paints it becomes fashionable. In the 1900s the painting has huge emotional significance to its subject, as it represents a time when her husband painted her and she was joyously happy.

Unfortunately, it has significance too to the German Kommandant who takes over her hotel, and sees remnants of his life before the war — as well as a woman he finds increasingly compelling.

And decades later, for Liv Halston, its owner, it speaks to her of her late husband and the happiness they shared. Each of these people suffers, and fights to claim this painting as their own.

Sometimes I look at the items in my home that have value to me: a carved figure, a picture by my daughter. What would have value in future years? More importantly, what would I do to keep them? There is no value, except the value that we place on them. To me, the lock of my child’s hair, or their first painting is as important as a Jackson Pollock. I just hope nobody ever offers me the chance to swap.

* * *

The Girl You Left BehindFrom the  New York Times—bestselling author of  Me Before You, a spellbinding love story of two women separated by a century but united in their determination to fight for what they love most

Jojo Moyes’s bestseller,  Me Before You, catapulted her to wide critical acclaim and has struck a chord with readers everywhere. “Hopelessly and hopefully romantic ” (Chicago Tribune), Moyes returns with another irresistible heartbreaker that asks, “Whatever happened to the girl you left behind? ”

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 dangerous 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.

Like Sarah Blake’s  The Postmistress  and Tatiana de Rosnay’s  Sarah’s Key,  The Girl You Left Behind  is a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with Moyes’s signature ability to capture our hearts with every turn of the page.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

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A Room Of Her Own: The Writing Space of Jojo Moyes

Today’s photos from this month’s featured author, Jojo Moyes | @JojoMoyes

Moyes Writing Space Collage

I have to admit that I love getting a peek inside the writing rooms of my favorite authors. It’s often equal parts inspiring (that’s where she wrote the book!) and comforting (she hasn’t taken out the trash either!). But mostly I love to see what books they’re reading and the odds and ends they surround themselves with in their most creative moments.

What I love about Jojo Moyes’ writing space: the books (of course), the big comfy chair, and the view.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

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Book Club Recipe: The Girl You Left Behind

Today’s post by our lovely chef, Ingrid, of Edible Tapestry | @EdibleTapestry

Meeting with your book club this month to discuss THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND? Try making this amazing dish inspired by the novel.

ChouFarciWtrmk

Chou Farci

When Sophie asks the Kommandant in The Girl You Left Behind if there are any dishes he would prefer her to cook, he answers that the meal she served to him and his men that same evening is one they would enjoy having again in the near future. She describes to him how she prepares the meal that is called Chou Farci.

It’s sausage meat, some vegetables and herbs, wrapped in cabbage leaves and poached in stock.

I was so inspired by her explanation that I wanted to find out what was so special about this take on the ordinary beef and rice stuffed cabbage, baked in tomato sauce, that I’d grown up eating. I decided it would be the perfect October She Reads dish, and imagined ladies carrying towel wrapped Crock Pot liners of steaming stuffed cabbage parcels to their book club meetings to discuss Jo Jo Moyes’ First World War novel.

The first thing I thought of when buying my ingredients, the pork sausage, in particular, was the baby that Sophie was holding wrapped in a blanket on her first meeting with the new Kommandant assigned to her village. Just as she worried about his reaction to the baby in her arms, had he taken a closer look, I was concerned that the types of sausage available to me wouldn’t be appropriate for the traditional French stuffed cabbage dish that the German officer was so fond of. And “some vegetables and herbs” was a vague enough description to keep me chewing my lip, hoping I’d be able to pull it off.

I decided to stick with ingredients that would have been readily available to Sophie in her wartime, French farm village. Just what would have been in those crates the Kommandant had delivered to the inn? Contaminant-free, freshly baked, crusty bread from the village baker, carrots, onions, and basic herbs, such as parsley and sage. I added one of my farm fresh eggs to the list to make sure my cabbage bundles would hold together while they poached. The butcher at my favorite meat market directed me to his most mild, basic links and I was on my way.

Ingredients:

1 lb. mild sausage. Mine was of the Italian variety, but very basic. You could even use mild breakfast sausage, if you like.

2 c. bread crumbs

1/4 c. finely grated carrot

1/4 c. sliced green onions

2 T chopped, fresh parsley

1 tsp. minced sage

1/2 tsp. salt. You may want to cook a little of the filling without salt to taste it. Your sausage may be salty enough.

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 egg

6 to 8 cabbage leaves

3 to 4 cups stock

Method:

Gently coax 6 to 8 leaves from a head of cabbage by cutting each at the stem.

Cut the hard vein from the base of each leaf in a “V” shape so that the leaf will fold over the sausage stuffing easily.

Bring a stock pot of water to boil. Blanch the leaves until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and thrust into very cold water to stop the cooking process.

Squeeze the sausage from its casings into a bowl.

Add the bread crumbs, carrots, onions, herbs, egg, and salt and pepper.

Mix together to thoroughly combine.

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Place a ball of filling in the center of each cabbage leaf and wrap the sides of the leaf up to make a round parcel.

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Do this with remaining stuffing and leaves.

Lay the stuffed leaves in the bottom of a stock pot.

Cover with stock.

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Bring the liquid to a poaching temperature, just until there is barely any movement. Poach for 2 hours.

You could also place them in the bottom of a slow cooker and cover with the stock. 8 hours on low should do it, but you should keep an eye on the level of the liquid to make sure it doesn’t evaporate away.

I really wanted to thicken the poaching liquid once the stuffed cabbage leaves were cooked to make a sauce, but Sophie didn’t, so I didn’t either.

022

6 to 8 servings.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

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Jojo Moyes on Writing and Worries

Today’s post by international best-selling author, Jojo Moyes |  @JojoMoyes

What’s that? You’ve not read a Jojo Moyes novel yet? We’ve got the cure for that! You are officially invited to read this month’s book club selection, THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND, with us this month.

Jojo MoyesI’m not one of those authors who can write the same sort of book every time, although I have a huge respect for those who can (Jack Reacher novels are my current burly comfort read). For a long time this lack of consistency worked against me; it made my novels difficult to market in the UK, where a lot of book retailing is done through supermarkets, and buyers, apparently, require a product as uniform as a tin of beans.

But eleven books in, I can only ever write the book that is humming away like an engine at the front of my head, and that might be a 1946 love story set around war brides on an aircraft carrier, or a mystery set in a community of modern-day whale watchers in South Australia.

After the global success of Me Before You, I worried for a while that readers would want the same thing again. Worried because the story that was resolutely taking shape in my head was as far removed from that book as it could get, an epic love story, spanning a century, that revolved around art stolen in wartime, and the effect that it had on two couples many decades apart. Different characters, different themes, different tone.

But as The Girl You Left Behind launched, and the first reviews came in, I began to relax, and I realized that there was more of a consistency than I had realized. My books may be set decades, and continents apart, they may be issue-based and small scale, or sprawling and intricately plotted, but what they all contain (hopefully!) is a big, emotional read, a plot that will draw the reader in and haul them along through a new landscape.

What they all contain — and this is, I hope, what keeps the readers with me – is love.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

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October Book Club Selection

Jojo Moyes Collage

I first heard of Jojo Moyes three years ago in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was on a business trip for She Reads and found myself deep in conversation with a literary agent who was singing the praises of an author she’d just discovered. The author was Jojo Moyes and the book was her first U.S. published novel, THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER. And then last year Jojo quite literally took the world by story with her novel, ME BEFORE YOU. So it should come as no surprise that her latest book, THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND, is just as spellbinding. We knew, the moment we read it, that it had to be our October book club selection. And we are so fortunate to have Jojo Moyes with us this month. She’s given us a glimpse not only inside her life as a writer, but inside the very room she writes. Stick with us through October and you’ll get to know this very talented and charming writer.

Moyes Novels.jpg

Thanks to the amazing folks at Pamela Dorman Books (Viking/Penguin) we’ve giving away copies of all three novels to one lucky winner.
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The Girl You Left BehindFrom the  New York Times—bestselling author of  Me Before You, a spellbinding love story of two women separated by a century but united in their determination to fight for what they love most Jojo Moyes’s bestseller,  Me Before You, catapulted her to wide critical acclaim and has struck a chord with readers everywhere. “Hopelessly and hopefully romantic ” (Chicago Tribune), Moyes returns with another irresistible heartbreaker that asks, “Whatever happened to the girl you left behind? ” 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 dangerous 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. Like Sarah Blake’s  The Postmistress  and Tatiana de Rosnay’s  Sarah’s Key,The Girl You Left Behind  is a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with Moyes’s signature ability to capture our hearts with every turn of the page. * * * Jojo MoyesJojo Moyes was born in 1969 and grew up in London. After a varied career including stints as a minicab controller, typer of braille statements for blind people for NatWest, and brochure writer for Club 18-30 she did a degree at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London University. In 1992 She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to attend the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at City University, and apart from 1994 when she worked in Hong Kong for the Sunday Morning Post, she worked at The Independent for ten years, including stints as Assistant news editor and Arts and Media Correspondent. She has been a full time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain was published. She lives on a farm in Essex with her husband, journalist Charles Arthur, and their three children. * * *

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

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Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I loved Me Before You  by Jojo Moyes. It was the first book I read this year and, while there were parts that reduced me to a sniveling mess, I felt it was a  perfect book to start off the year. When I read Swapna Krishna’s review of the book, I begged her to let us share it with you here, because she said how I felt about the book exactly. It is reprinted here with her permission.  

Summary:

When the café where Louisa Clark works announces it’s going to close, she’s bereft. After all, she knows her parents depend on her paycheck to help out at home and she has no idea what she’s going to do next. An opportunity falls into her lap, though, with Will Traynor. Will was an attractive risk seeker who was taken down by the most mundane of things: a car. Now, he’s paralyzed and his mother believes that he needs someone to keep him company and lift his spirits. At first, Louisa is bewildered by Will’s bad attitude, but as she gets to know him, she comes to see him for who he is, beyond the wheelchair.

Review:

Me Before You is a difficult book to describe, and an even harder one to review, simply because it is just that good. It seems like the simplest of storylines: young girl is hired to care for guy in wheelchair. But this book is so much more than that. It has heart and soul and wit; it’s a novel that will have you laughing with joy, but also sobbing with everything you have in you. Moyes manages to make the reader incredibly emotionally involved with both the characters and the story without manipulating them. As a result, this is an honest, down to earth read that floored me.

Moyes has created realistic and sympathetic characters in Me Before You. Louisa is charming and wonderful. She’s not perfect, mind you, but she’s oh-so-easy to fall in love with. Will is more difficult at the beginning; he’s prickly, and it’s clear he (for good reason) resents his circumstances. It’s wonderful to see Louisa have an effect on him, but also to see how Will changes Louisa. It’s a unique relationship that really does come about organically.

Jojo Moyes

There are definitely aspects of the storyline of Me Before You that are predictable. But there are also surprises around every corner, both large and small. It’s the type of novel that’s full of small delights, little things that you don’t expect that are just so much fun. But it’s also a difficult novel to read at times. Will’s disability is gut-wrenchingly difficult. There’s a darker side to this book, to be sure. It has all the messiness of real life, and whether you like it or not, things aren’t always easy and tidy.

One of the many things that Me Before You does extremely well is show just how difficult it is for a person in a wheelchair. Just going out to lunch is a huge ordeal for Will; it’s understandable why he’d just rather stay at home. Every time he goes out, he’s reminded of his accident, of what he’s lost, because it’s so hard for him to accomplish anything and he’s so dependent on others. It’s so dejecting and sad, and Moyes portrays the psychological side effects of this vividly.

Me Before You is, quite simply, one of the best books I’ve ever read. It has so much depth and wisdom within its pages. Read it for book club, read it on a plane, read it on a dark and stormy night or by the pool — you can read it anywhere, but make sure you read it.

Other books by Jojo Moyes:

The Last Letter from Your Lover

Swapna is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer and is an avid reader. She has been blogging at S. Krishna’s Books since 2008. When not reading and blogging, she enjoys watching TV, exploring craft beer, traveling, and spending time with her husband.

Twitter:  @SKrishna  |  Swapna on Facebook

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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