The Girl You Left Behind

The Girl You Left Behind

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Jojo Moyes

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 560 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 192mm x 38mm | 400g
  • Publication date: 27 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0718157842
  • ISBN 13: 9780718157845
  • Sales rank: 1,679

Product description

"The Girl You Left Behind" is a hauntingly romantic and utterly irresistible new weepy from Jojo Moyes, author of the "Richard and Judy" bestseller, "Me Before You". What happened to the girl you left behind? France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre must keep her family safe whilst her adored husband Edouard fights at the front. When she is ordered to serve the German officers who descend on her hotel each evening, her home becomes riven by fierce tensions. And from the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born, which will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision. Almost a century later, and Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before he died. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth, and its troubled history. A history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down all over again...In "The Girl You Left Behind" two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for what they love most - whatever the cost. If you can't wait for "The Girl You Left Behind" treat yourself to the prequel, "Honeymoon in Paris", Jojo Moyes' irresistible ebook-only novella out now. Praise for Jojo Moyes: "Destined to be the novel that friends press upon each other more than any other...Moyes does a majestic job of conjuring a cast of characters who are charismatic, credible and utterly compelling". ("Independent on Sunday"). "This truly beautiful story made us laugh, smile and sob like a baby". ("Closer"). Jojo Moyes is a novelist and a journalist. She worked at the "Independent" for ten years before leaving to write full time. Her previous novels have all been critically acclaimed and include the "Richard and Judy" bestseller "Me Before You", "The Last Letter from Your Lover", "Ship of Brides" and "Foreign Fruit".

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Author information

Jojo Moyes is a novelist and a journalist. She worked at the Independent for ten years before leaving to write full time. Her previous novels have all been critically acclaimed and include Me Before You, The Last Letter from Your Lover, Ship of Brides and Foreign Fruit. She lives in Essex with her husband and their three children.

Customer reviews

By Rachel Thompson 18 Nov 2013 4

I really liked this book. It is easy to read and I really enjoyed the historical storyline. The modern day storyline isn't as enjoyable, but not terrible. I would recommend it to a friend as nice light reading.

By Caroline Storen 19 Aug 2013 5

I loved the girl you left behind, the main character Sophie came through so real and courageous.
right from the start i couldn't put this book down
it was my 2nd Jojo moyes book, the 1st was 'me before you' which i also loved.

By Jill Henderson 16 Dec 2012 5

The Girl You Left Behind is set in two eras. 1917 during WWI and the present day. It tells the story of Sophie Lefevre, the wife of Edouard, a French artist, and Liv Halston, the widow of a prominent architect whose untimely death has brought her life to a stand-still. The two women are linked through time by a painting. Edouard's portrait of Sophie.

When Edouard goes to fight at the Front, Sophie leaves Paris and returns to her village, taking the portrait with her. When her village is occupied by German troops, and the new Kommandant becomes obsessed with the painting, Sophie finds herself risking her reputation and her life.

Almost a century later, and shortly before his death, David Halston gives Sophie's portrait to his wife Liv. In her grief, it becomes Liv's life line.

Thought provoking and compelling, The Girl You Left Behind is a great read. Sophie Lefevre's character, is particularly poignant. I became so immersed in her story in 1917 that it took me a few pages to adjust myself to Part 2 and the present day. I need not have worried, however, because I, again, became captivated as the story unravelled.

This is the second JoJo Moyes book I've read, the first being Ship of Brides. Another excellent read.

By Fictions 29 Sep 2012 2

This is the first novel that I have read by author Jojo Moyes. I am sorry to say that overall I was very disappointed. The premise - "two women separated by a century, united in their determination to fight for what they love most, whatever the cost" - intrigued me and on beginning the book I was immediately drawn into the life and story of Sophie Lefevre. She is a strong character, easy to relate to and easy to care about. Forced into an impossible situation in war-torn France she remains a likeable protagonist despite the actions she chooses to take. For the first hundred pages, I loved this book.

However, the story then leaps into present day London and the life of Liv Halston. Despite having also suffered heartbreaking loss Liv is an empty character, hard to empathise with. Ultimately, I just didn't care enough about her. For the next four hundred pages, the novel jumps back and forth between Sophie in 1916 and Liv in 2006.

The link between the two women - a painting - is not strong enough to integrate the lives of Sophie and Liv. The style of the writing changes so dramatically between the two stories that it is like trying to read two different books simultaneously. Perhaps writing two books instead of one would have been a better plan for Moyes - Sophie's story is strong enough to stand alone and had the writer chosen not to include Liv's story I would have loved this book with a full five stars. That's a shame.

By Kevin Loh 23 Sep 2012 5

Review originally on I Heart.. Chick Lit.
www.chicklitkevinxx.blogspot.com

What happened to the girl you left behind?

France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre must keep her family safe whilst her adored husband Edouard fights at the front. When she is ordered to serve the German officers who descend on her hotel each evening, her home becomes riven by fierce tensions. And from the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born, which will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision.

Almost a century later, and Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before he died. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth, and its troubled history. A history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down all over again . . .
In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for what they love most - whatever the cost.

The only book I've read by Jojo Moyes was The Last Letter From Your Lover last year which I thought was really captivating, very Mad Men. So when I received The Girl You Left Behind from Penguin one day, I was shocked and surprised, in a good way. Inside the parcel, was the book and a note from the ever lovely Joe, thinking I'd like to read Jojo's new one and he couldn't be any more correct.

Okay, I admit: I don't really like historical fiction and stories related to war because I find them really dreary and depressing. That was my initial thought of The Girl You Left Behind, as the first 100 pages or so are set in St. Peronne, France during the German occupation during the First World War. I don't know if it's the way Jojo wrote about life during such a time that drew me into the book or the fact that Sophie was a really good heroine. But either way, I read through and found myself enjoying it.

As you know, I'm a massive sucker for love stories and The Girl You Left Behind didn't fail to deliver. The story is divided into two parts - one part set in 1916 and the other in 2006 - and alternates throughout the book. Set in 1916, the story follows Sophie Leferve, wife of Edouard, a painter who is forced to fight in the front during the war against Germans. She spends her days praying for the well being of her husband while serving for the Germans as their cook. Sophie would do anything she could to reunite with her husband, including sacrificing her good name. On the other side of the story, there is Liv Halston, who is devastated by her husband's sudden death and still clings onto The Girl You Left Behind, a painting given to her by her late husband. Coping with her sudden loss, with only the painting to get her by, until the Leferves come searching for The Girl You Left Behind, which is supposedly rightfully theirs.

Honestly, I was a bit sceptical when I saw the reviews on Goodreads saying The Girl You Left Behind is "compelling", "heartbreaking" and "heartwarming". But I dismissed the idea of it and decided against others' reviews and carried on reading. Don't get me wrong, I like History as a subject, but not when I'm reading fiction, but somehow, just somehow, Sophie's story had kept me intrigued and wanting to know more. Thoughts started to swirl in my head "Will she meet Edouard again?", "Will she be safe?", "What happened to her after the war?". Clearly it was thought-provoking.

Normally, I'd prefer books written from the heroine's perspective, as I find it slightly harder to understand if they are narrated from a third person's point of view. But Jojo Moyes is an exception, followed by a handful of authors whose writing style I'm comfortable with, namely Jenny Colgan. I really like how Jojo describe the hardship faced by the people in Sophie's village during the occupation, how they coped with their loss and living day by day, praying the war would end. On the other hand, Liv's side of the story where she copes with her husband's death and feeling the loneliest she's ever been.

For me, it was really absorbing and utterly captivating. It got me hooked onto it and as I read, I was hoping for both women's happy ending. Some parts were really heartbreaking while others were pleasant. The plot is written very well and it never failed to keep me guessing. Now I know why Jojo's readers love her books. I am looking forward to her next one already! Bring it on, Jojo! If you love a good romantic love story, what are you waiting for?

Review quote

Even as Moyes tackles the inflammatory issues around art stolen during wartime, she never loses sight of the driving engine of her narrative ... this pleasurably assured writer skilfully balances the quotidian and the comic with the broad and universal, leaving us with the tantalising possibility of a potential caper to come Independent on Sunday Jojo Moyes paints a genuinely moving, beautiful picture of how love and belief will ultimately win the war, even if they can't win the battle. The Girl You Left Behind is a true work of art Fabulous This story is wonderfully well-written and completely engrossing, with exquisitely drawn characters in a brilliantly plotted narrative. It will make you think long after you finish the final page Daily Mail Moyes is the queen of the classy weepy and this won't disappoint. A masterclass in story-telling that fans of Me Before You will adore Elle Another heart-stoppingly brilliant novel from Jojo Moyes Marie Claire