Summer Reads

August 2021

I just wanted to lie down on the sofa and watch tv. I binge-watched some tv-series I had missed in the past years. I felt lazy, unhappy maybe a bit depressed after coping for the last year and a half with all that had changed in my life, and not only in mine.

One afternoon I landed on The Last Letter From Your Lover, a fantastic movie, a perfect love story. Well told, well-acted and well written. I loved it, and when the credits started sliding, I was still enchanted and staring at the screen, so I caught it was an adaptation, the book title and the author: Jojo Moyes.

I have discovered quite a lot of writers I love this way. I went immediately from the TV screen to the computer screen. First Wiki to have quick information about the writer; then Amazon, and instead of buying Jojo Moyes’s first book, which is my usual routine, I bought the last one: The Giver of Stars. I’m happy I didn’t act as usual: otherwise, it would have taken me too long to get to this book. The Giver of Stars has all the ingredients I adore: clever women, books, a library, a wild, beautiful nature. Struggles and fights that have a positive turnout. Men that love women the way women love men, A bit of history, a crime or two, a bit of class struggle and please don’t think that is enough; there is more. Well, I loved it. I read the  488 pages in two days. Since then, I have read other Jojo Moyes books. This winter, I included Me Before You in my HiTeacherbookclub. I was so intrigued and curious that I also read the other two trilogy books: After you and Still Me, and I strongly suggested that the book club members read them this summer.

May 2022

That is what happened last summer. Today, I’m back from a short one-week holiday. I always open my summer holiday with love stories, and this week lying six hours a day on a sun bed on one of the most beautiful Italian beaches, I read not one but two books by JoJo. Both the stories unfold in wartime, The first The Girl You Left Behind, inWorld War I,1916 and  The Ship of Brides in World War II, 1946.

I enjoyed The Ship of Brides much more because it told me an entirely new story. I knew nothing about the hundreds of young women shipped to England at the end of the war  to reunite with boyfriends and husbands they had met and fallen in love with when the men were stationed overseas to fight. A page of history brand new to me. The book tells the  story of several hundreds of Australian women travelling on an aircraft carrier for six weeks, sailing from Australia to Plymouth, England. A journey full of twists and turns to the plot in the author’s very recognizable style. A good read.

The Girl you left Behind was also a good read, but the plot reminded me too often of the many books I’ve read describing life in the territories occupied by the German army. Nevertheless, at the end of the novel, Jojo gives the story a surprising turn and I must admit I didn’t see it coming. Jojo Moyes always surprises me, and that’s one of the reasons that makes me a great fan of hers.

 

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