The Girl You Left Behind

( 93 )

Overview


From the New York Times?bestselling author of Me Before You, a spellbinding love story of two women separated by a century but united in their determination to fight for what they love most

Jojo Moyes?s bestseller, Me Before You, catapulted her to wide critical acclaim and has struck a chord with readers everywhere. ?Hopelessly and hopefully romantic? (Chicago Tribune), Moyes returns with another irresistible heartbreaker that asks, ?Whatever ...

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The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel

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Overview


From the New York Times–bestselling author of Me Before You, a spellbinding love story of two women separated by a century but united in their determination to fight for what they love most

Jojo Moyes’s bestseller, Me Before You, catapulted her to wide critical acclaim and has struck a chord with readers everywhere. “Hopelessly and hopefully romantic” (Chicago Tribune), Moyes returns with another irresistible heartbreaker that asks, “Whatever happened to the girl you left behind?”

France, 1916:  Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything—her family, her reputation, and her life—to see her husband again.

Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the painting’s true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is—putting Liv’s belief in what is right to the ultimate test.

Like Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress and Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key, The Girl You Left Behind is a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with Moyes’s signature ability to capture our hearts with every turn of the page.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Moyes’s enchanting latest (after Me Before You) entwines two love stories set 90 years apart, connected by a painting called The Girl You Left Behind. In 1916, 22-year-old Sophie Lefèvre struggles against a new German commandant in her occupied village in northern France. Trying to keep her family safe and their restaurant open while her and her sister’s husbands are away, Sophie makes greater and greater sacrifices as her living conditions grow more spartan. But when things reach their lowest, she must decide whether to gamble everything on the German commandant’s powerful fascination with her husband’s portrait of her. Jumping ahead to London in 2006, the story turns to 32-year-old Liv Halston, whose architect husband David bought Sophie’s painting for Liv shortly before he died in an accident. Still deep in the throes of grief four years after his death, Liv now faces eviction from the beautiful, heavily taxed house he built. But an unlikely reunion with a former classmate and the unexpected entrance of a new man, Paul, into Liv’s life make her feel better than she has since David died—until a restitution company tries to claim The Girl You Left Behind. An unfortunate coincidence twists the knife deeper, and Liv is forced to fight tooth and nail for what she has come to love most in the world. Lovely and wry, Moyes’s newest is captivating and bittersweet. (Aug. 20)
Library Journal
★ 
As World War I rages throughout Europe, the French village of St. Péronne is under German occupation. While their husbands fight on the front lines, Sophie Lefèvre and her sister run the small village hotel, where they must cater to the occupying German forces. The one comfort Sophie has is the portrait her Matisse-trained husband painted of her. When the painting catches the eye of the German Kommandant, Sophie attempts to use it as a bargaining chip for her husband’s life. Nearly 100 years later, the painting, now known as The Girl You Left Behind, belongs to widow Liv Halston and is the subject of a restitution suit between Halston and the Lefèvre family. To win her fight for the painting, a reminder of her own lost husband, Liv must discover Sophie’s true history and what it means to be “the girl you left behind.”

Verdict Splitting the narrative between Sophie’s perspective in 1915 and Liv’s in contemporary London, Moyes (Me Before You) has created a riveting depiction of a wartime occupation that has mostly faded from memory. Liv and Sophie are so real in their faults, passion, and bravery that the reader is swept along right to the end. This one is hard to put down! [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/13.]—Jennifer Beach, Cumberland Cty. P.L., VA
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
The newest novel by Moyes (Me Before You, 2012, etc.) shares its title with a fictional painting that serves as catalyst in linking two loves stories, one set in occupied France during World War I, the other in 21st-century London. In a French village in 1916, Sophie is helping the family while her husband, Édouard, an artist who studied with Matisse, is off fighting. Sophie's pluck in standing up to the new German kommandant in the village draws his interest. An art lover, he also notices Édouard's portrait of Sophie, which captures her essence (and Édouard's adoration). Arranging to dine regularly at Sophie's inn with his men, he begins a cat-and-mouse courtship. She resists. But learning that Édouard is being held in a particularly harsh "reprisal" camp, she must decide what she will sacrifice for Édouard's freedom. The rich portrayals of Sophie, her family and neighbors hauntingly capture wartime's gray morality. Cut to 2006 and a different moral puzzle. Thirty-two-year-old widow Liv has been struggling financially and emotionally since her husband David's sudden death. She meets Paul in a bar after her purse is stolen. The divorced father is the first man she's been drawn to since she was widowed. They spend a glorious night together, but after noticing Édouard's portrait of Sophie on Liv's wall, he rushes away with no explanation. In fact, Paul is as smitten as Liv, but his career is finding and returning stolen art to the rightful owners. Usually the artwork was confiscated by Germans during World War II, not WWI, but Édouard's descendants recently hired him to find this very painting. Liv is not about to part with it; David bought it on their honeymoon because the portrait reminded him of Liv. In love, Liv and Paul soon find themselves on opposite sides of a legal battle. While Liv's more pedestrian story is less romantic than Sophie's and far less nuanced, Moyes is a born storyteller who makes it impossible not to care about her heroines.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410461322
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 9/4/2013
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 639
  • Sales rank: 730,215
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes is the New York Times bestselling author of One Plus One, The Girl You Left Behind, Honeymoon in Paris, Me Before You, The Last Letter from Your Lover, The Ship of Brides, and Silver Bay.  Moyes writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines. She is married to Charles Arthur, technology editor of The Guardian. They live with their three children on a farm in Essex, England.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 93 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(61)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 93 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    You need this book in your life! Anyone who knows me knows I'm

    You need this book in your life!

    Anyone who knows me knows I'm rarely at a loss for words but that's exactly how this story, which began in the prequel novella, has left me. Trying to put my thoughts/feelings/emotions into coherent sentences is quite a challenging task especially when the tears just.won't.stop. I read Jojo Moyes' ME BEFORE YOU and loved it, so when this one was recommended to me, I pounced and have come to the conclusion that I will read anything this woman writes!

    Whether you are a fan of historical fiction or not, (I'm generally not) THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND is a heart achingly gorgeous story of unwavering love and incredible sacrifice. It will pull you in, wrap itself around your heartstrings and refuse to let go until you have laughed, cried and hugged the ones you love just a little bit tighter.

    Trust me when I tell you that YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE!

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2013

    Wonderful.

    Wonderful. While I was ambivalent about Moyes' previous novels, there is not enough to say about this one. It is thoroughly engrossing and engaging to the point you WILL stay up all night reading; the character of Sophie will keep you absolutely fixated. Moyes' depictions of WWI suffering and trauma is harrowing, and there is simply nothing in the novel that drags. Others have noted humor here and while there are a few (very few) more light hearted moments, this is a story of trauma, loss, suffering and ultimately, redemption. Pick it up.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2013

    Where do I start with this book?  Okay, let's start with Jojo Mo

    Where do I start with this book?  Okay, let's start with Jojo Moyes.  There is something in the way she tells a story that grabs you.  No gimmicks, fancy tricks or corny cliffhangers.  She just tells the story, not a letter or punctuation wasted or out of place.  I find her writing so easy to read without being easy reading, if you catch the difference there.  She's an artist.




    I know I should share a synopsis here, but I don't think I could do it justice.  Besides, I didn't read the synopsis before picking it up and I found it to be a more wholesome experience because of it.  All you need to know is that it's a story about the strength of love and the passionate spirit.




    This is the second novel of hers that I have read and I sing from the mountaintops once again, her CHARACTERS.  There is nothing amazingly different about her characters.  They are not scrupulously unique or interesting, but the way she writes them, I believe them. I believe them so much, I care about them.  They are not perfect and it's their blunders, mistakes and straight-up foolishness that irritate me to no end, but I still believe them.  Some characters do stupid things in novels, and I get angry at the author for it.  Moyes' characters do the most infuriating things and I get mad at them for it.  There is a major difference there, and it's what makes characters worth reading. 




    This plot is a lot thicker and more action-packed than Me Before You.  But when Moyes is writing, as I said in my Me Before You review, the plot is not what carries you through, it's the characters.
    The story is split into two parts that intersect through time.  I admit, I enjoyed the first part most and was a little disappointed when the story shifted away from that character.  However, the story comes back around and everything was worth the wait.  It's a rather interesting turn of events that I did not see coming.  At moments, I thought I just could not bear the intensity of what she put her characters through, but I feel like a changed person after reading it.  Big fat sigh. 




    On a personal level, I felt so connected to the character Sophie.  She was one of the most complex and beautiful female characters I have read in a long time.  What happens during Sophie's time is not perfect.  There were moments I could barely stand it.  Then, there were tears, so many tears. 




    Read this book.  If you love history, and even if you don't.  If you love art, and even if you don't.  If you love love, and even if you don't.  You will. 

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2013

    Jojo, this was so so FABULOUS!  I loved this story; the mystery,

    Jojo, this was so so FABULOUS!  I loved this story; the mystery, the relationships, characters, the writing....well I loved everything.  You have to read this right away because I said so and because you will be missing out on an amazing read if you don't.  

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Wonderful

    A very different feel from "Me Before You." But just as good, maybe better. Couldn't put it down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    Jojo Moyes is my new favorite author.  I ran across Me Before Yo

    Jojo Moyes is my new favorite author.  I ran across Me Before You and loved it.  Second, I bought The Girl You Left Behind.  It is an outstanding book.  It reminds me a little of Sarah's Key.  The characters catch you from the beginning and never let go.  I highly recommend this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    Great book!!

    Its not often that a book completely takes me away, but this one did . I just couldnt put it down when i had to i thought about it . I would def recommend this book !!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    Great page turner with history of the German occupation in France. The author was very vivid in her telling of the life of a woman's courage and strength while weaving in a love story. Thought about the book for days after I read it!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2013

    It was one of the best books I have ever read. I love all of her

    It was one of the best books I have ever read. I love all of her books, I've read them all, but this one was exceptional. Couldn't put it down. Bravo!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    So far, ok

    I am only on page 53. Perhaps that is not enough to tell about a book AND I usually have to read a book to the end once I start but... I did find some inconsistencies that bothered me enough to put it down. I like my historical novels to be historically correct for the times so when the sisters start talking about missing sex, I know the author is either very, very young and/or did not do her homework. So I am putting the book down for a while and will probably pick it up again in the future and we will see.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Compelling and well-conceived

    Liv received a gorgeous painting as a wedding gift from her husband. Four years after his death, the family of the painter seeks restitution as it had been lost during the first World War. Through two stories, we learn what happened to a family in German-occupied France as well as how this solitary widow begins to bloom again.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2013

    I¿m still reliving the story of Sophie and Liv days after I¿ve f

    I’m still reliving the story of Sophie and Liv days after I’ve finished it. This is a great read of two different women struggling through the hardships of life. The historical part in WWI France is so real you feel like you’re there.  In war time there are many uncertainties. For Sophie she will do anything to be with her true love again. The modern story focuses on Liv who is still mourning the death of her husband after four years. She receives help from an unlikely friend in Mo. A very unfortunate coincidence between Paul and Liv puts a halt to their budding romance.  Jo Jo Moyes has written a great story that intertwines two worlds into one. It has a little bit of everything. A part of the book is even a courtroom drama. In the end, Jo Jo ties everything together perfectly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2013

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A book with fan

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

    A book with fantastic twists and turns that could keep any reader guessing until the very end!  Liv has been holding on to a painting given by her late husband who died way too young and it is the one thing that helps keep the happy memories of their marriage alive.  While at the same time, the subject of this painting - Sophie is fighting to keep the memories of her husband who is off to war alive, whether he is alive or not.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2013

    Could not put it down

    I love books that switch back and forth between past and present. The story was engrossing and with a little mystery that unfolded as you read. I can't wait to read her other books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    Superb Read

    I've never ready anything by JoJo Moyes, but enjoyed this so much, so much so I ordered others from her. I've recommended it to several others - excellent read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    This was a well written book that captured my attention early and held it throughout the end. Great love conquers all story.

    You Before Me by Jo Jo Moyes is another book that grabs ahold of you early and keeps you hanging throughout. One of my new, favorite authors.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    Great read

    When I was looking for a new book to read, I passed this one over several times, based on the title. I thought it was going to be another silly love story, which I consider a waste of time. I could not have been more wrong. I enjoy histirical novels and this one did not dissapoint. It is well written and thoroughly enjoyable. I recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2013

    Top notch! Wonderful characters and story.

    I am only half way through this book and I don't want it to end. The first part of the story set in German occuppied France is intriguing and gripping. Then the second half takes you to France in 2006. What connects the two.......a painting. A love story. Character development is supurb. You feel as though you thoroughly know these individuals, their wants and desires, their fears.

    I have also read two other books by this author and I would highly recommend each one. A wonderful story teller. Anxious to see what the next novel will be.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2013

    Great book!

    I loved this book. I was totally engrossed with the characters, theme and quality of writing. I wonder if I wouldn't have loved it more without Liv. It was such a lovely story of Sonia and Edouard. I think it could have been equally fascinating and readable had the story been written just about them, their devotion, separation, pain and eventual reconnection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2013

    One of the best books i have read

    Loved this book. Couldnt put it down. Felt the characters emotions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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