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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Conflicting Loyalties In Occupied France

The Girl You Left Behind - Jojo Moyes

In 1917 Sophie's life is devastated when her village is taken over by the Germans and the commander of the occupying troops becomes infatuated with her. Ninety years later Liv, a thirty year old widow and the current owner of Sophie's portrait - a honeymoon present from her husband - is informed that the painting was looted by the Germans and must now be returned to its rightful owner. It's devastating news but what's worse is that the message is relayed by the first man she has allowed herself to have feelings for since the death of her husband.

A powerful historical romance glimpsed through a contemporary lens, The Girl You Left Behind overflows with dramatic tension as the plot switches skilfully between the two women's narratives. Like the tormented protagonists, the reader is drawn into a net of conflicting loyalties. A study in the easy assumptions we all make and the difficult realities we so rarely have to confront, it's a solid read and a book that lingers in the memory.