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 🙂

18 thoughts on “The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

  1. rhapsodyinbooks says:

    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….)

  2. sandynawrot says:

    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.

  3. Thoughts of Joy says:

    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.

  4. Literary Feline says:

    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.

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