Book Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You Left BehindWhat’s it about?

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.

My thoughts

Separated by almost a hundred years this is a dual time frame novel about devotion, hardship and fighting for the thing you love most. Part one revolves around Sophie and her sister Helene in Occupied France during World War 1 and their struggle to survive the harsh winter, the lack of food and the German oppression.

When Sophie and her sister Helene are forced to serve German soldiers their evening meals in their bar the Kommandant takes an instant like to Sophie and her painting. Unfortunately and through no fault of their own Sophie and Helene are faced with the town’s disapproval and eventually Sophie is faced with an impossible decision and the consequences of sleeping with the enemy and we’re left on a cliffhanger.

In part two we’re introduced to Liv, widowed, lonely and up to her eyes in debt she risks everything to keep the painting she adores, the painting of The Girl You Left Behind, allegedly stolen during war time and subject to laws of restitution.

I was hooked, completely drawn in; I wanted to find out what happens to Sophie, did she ever find Edouard? I hoped and hoped and that they would find the evidence they needed to for Liv to have legal title to the painting so much so I just had to keep reading – a real page turner with such a moral dilemma which raises the question – what would you do in Liv’s and Sophie’s position?

Although it’s just a quote from a fiction novel…these are wise words, but so true:

It’s just stuff…The only thing that matters is people…All that really matters is who you love.

Although it didn’t make me cry like ‘Me Before You’ did, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would recommend if you’re a fan of Jojo Moyes or if you enjoyed The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.

Available from Amazon The Girl You Left Behind

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