The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books (August 2013)
Formats Available: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Format Read: ARC
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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: I don’t even know where to begin to summarize my thoughts on this book. At first I was a bit skeptical as I was feeling incredibly burned out by Historical Fiction. Sophie’s plight quickly helped me to move past my apprehension and fully engage in the story.
As I tried to gather my thoughts on the story and determine what I wanted to share with you about what I liked I discovered that everything that I was initially putting on my dislike list actually turned into something that I ended up liking about the story. I think that says a lot about the author’s ability to tell a story.
So much of the Historical fiction I’ve read lately has been told in alternating perspectives chapter by chapter between the past and present. The Girl You Left Behind was a refreshing change to this format as it is split into two sections. The first is set in 1916 and features Sophie Lefevre and her family as the deal with the hardships of war in their small town. The second features Liv who is trying to find her way in the world on her own after unexpectedly losing her husband. The connection between the two women being Sophie’s portrait painted by her husband hanging on Liv’s bedroom wall. I found it interesting how Moyes took what could be a tenuous connection and developed it into so much more.
The Girl you Left Behind was full of emotion in both sections. You could feel Sophie’s desire to return to her true love. You had a real sense of the pain that Liv was dealing with as she sorted through her life with her husband.
Both of the main characters were flawed which made them that much more real to me. They did things that bugged me, which made me love them even more.
I’ve not read Me Before You despite all of the raves I’ve heard about it. I didn’t figure it would be my cup of tea. After reading The Girl You Left Behind and seeing what an excellent storyteller Moyes is, I’m going to have to read it.
If you haven’t read The Girl You Left Behind, I highly recommend it. It’s engaging, entertaining and informative. The characters feel so real its amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this fantastic storyteller.
© 2013, Teresa. All rights reserved.