Moyes is very good at creating dilemmas and very real people who have to deal with them. In this book it is the Germans in 1916, taking over their little French town, and deciding to have Sophie cook for the Kommandant and his men. Of course she really has no choice in the matter, she is hoping to stay alive and protect her family, so that when her husband Eduard returns, they are all still alive. How much would one do to keep their family safe, to protect them and hopefully save them. That is the dilemma and though it seems she has little choice, there is always a choice, good or bad. This part of the story was excellent and reminded me a little of The Baker's Daughter. It is a picture that will connect the two story-lines.
When one writes with dual time frames, I feel they are always taking a risk. One story is usually stronger than the other and can weaken the whole story. The story taking place nearly a century later, concerns a young woman, who must fight her deceased husband's family for the rights to own this painting. This part of the story I did not like as much. It was not as strong, though the descriptions were solid, the emotional connection was not there, at least not for me.
Yet, one cannot go wrong reading her novels, she gets people, she gets the little things that make up a life, the problems people and families deal with daily. She has a depth to most of her characters that many writing this kind of fiction, just don;t. I am looking forward to her next book, which I believe is publishing fairly soon.