Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You Left BehindThe Girl You Left Behind. Finished 10-29-13, rating 4.75/5, fiction, 369 pages, pub. 2012

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost. (Goodreads)

The dueling time period story isn’t one that I seek out, but in this case I loved it.  It was told at just the right pace, switching between the past of WWI France and current day London, at all the right times to keep me invested in both stories.  We learn about Sophie first and what her family and village had to endure during the German occupation.  I loved Sophie and was so disappointed when we moved to Liv who seemed weak in comparison.  Sophie was full of spirit and strength. She was a survivor and I wanted to see how she would manage to save herself and those she loved.  Poor, sad Liv hadn’t gotten over the death of her husband four years before, no friends, no life.  Sophie’s portrait and history became the only thing that Liv cared about even when it cost her everything she had managed to find, a friend, a love.

I learned about the German destruction of WWI France, which I knew next to nothing about and I appreciated the restitution storyline.  I knew what I thought was right, but Liv’s journey with the portrait made me see the flip side of restitution issues.  I didn’t love Liv’s trial, but the way these two stories were so separate and yet so connected made this book a joy to read.  I loved the way it wrapped up and I imagine I’ll be thinking of Sophie for at least a few days.

I highly recommend this one.  It was such a thought-provoking and satisfying novel.  I know many preferred her book, Me Before You, but since I haven’t read it yet I have nothing to compare it to.  I plan to remedy that soon!

I received this book from She Reads.  Go on over and see what other bloggers think, if you hurry you can enter to win free books 🙂

October 30, 2013 - Posted by | 5 Star Books |


  1. I enjoy the “dueling time periods” and was very impressed with Me Before You so I’m really excited about this book. I’m glad to see you loved it.

    Comment by bermudaonion (Kathy) | October 30, 2013 | Reply

    • I’m excited about discovering a new great author!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | November 1, 2013 | Reply

  2. Isn’t JoJo Moyes the best?!! Yes, I am one of those who loved Me Before You even more, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t love this one. I recently bought one of her backlist to read soon. She’s so good! (okay, in spite of her name, which made me think she was a lightweight, because I’m sort of prejudice like how covers can turn you off….)

    Comment by rhapsodyinbooks | October 31, 2013 | Reply

    • I am officially on the bandwagon. I agree about the bias with the name, me too!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | November 1, 2013 | Reply

  3. I think you already said this, but my reaction was the opposite! I loved the modern voice of Liv much better than Sophie. I almost DNF’d the book in the first section. Liv’s voice reminded me of the spunk I saw in Me Before You. But those are the pitfalls of dual storylines. There is always a chance one won’t sit well.

    Comment by sandynawrot | October 31, 2013 | Reply

  4. Call me weird but I usually like books that jump around in time. I’ll have to put this on my never-ending list of good books to read.

    Comment by Leslie | October 31, 2013 | Reply

  5. Glad you liked this one Stacy – it’s in my stacks:(

    Comment by Diane@BibliophilebytheSea | October 31, 2013 | Reply

  6. I enjoyed reading your review. I enjoyed this book as well. Yes, Jo Jo Moyes is a great writer. Me Before You is one of my most favorite books this year.

    Comment by Pat @ Posting For Now | November 1, 2013 | Reply

  7. I keep hearing great things! Need to read 🙂

    Comment by Heather | November 1, 2013 | Reply

  8. I didn’t like the Liv storyline very much at all, because I didn’t believe it. If we could have stayed with Sophie, I would have liked the book much more. I look forward to Me Before You though.

    Comment by Thoughts of Joy | November 2, 2013 | Reply

    • I hear ya, there were times I had problems with Liv too.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | November 2, 2013 | Reply

  9. I loved Me Before You and when I saw this book I grabbed it. Hope to get to it soon.

    Comment by Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) | November 2, 2013 | Reply

  10. I can’t wait to read JoJo Moyes… have a feeling I’m going to love her books!

    Comment by lakesidemusing | November 3, 2013 | Reply

  11. I haven’t read this author yet, but I have this book in my review pile. I can’t wait to read it, but like you, I imagine I’ll be drawn more to the past storyline.

    Comment by Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) | November 3, 2013 | Reply

  12. I have a few Amazon gift cards I have yet to use up from my birthday a couple months ago, and this is at the top of my list to get. I am really looking forward to reading this one. So glad you enjoyed it, Stacy.

    Comment by Literary Feline | November 4, 2013 | Reply

  13. So glad you liked it so much. I’ve got this one and Me Before You on my TBR stack, maybe I’ll get to them over the Christmas break

    Comment by Teddyree | November 9, 2013 | Reply

  14. […] The Girl You Left Behind was a surprise to me because I rarely read wartime books and I found this one addicting.  I want more. […]

    Pingback by 2013 Favorites and Stats « Stacy's Books | December 31, 2013 | Reply

  15. […] a book I like to wait because I want my expectations to fade a bit.  I read Jo Jo Moyes book, The Girl You Left Behind, and loved it so when I heard bloggers saying that they loved this one even more I knew I had to […]

    Pingback by Me Before You by Jojo Moyes « Stacy's Books | February 10, 2015 | Reply

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