The Girl You Left Behind (Paperback)
Short Description for 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.
- Published: 27 September 2012
- Format: Paperback 544 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780718157845 ISBN 10: 0718157842
- Sales rank: 790
Reviews for The Girl You Left Behind
A Great Read
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 Jill Henderson
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 Fictions
Compelling and heartwarming!
Review originally on I Heart.. Chick Lit.
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? by Kevin Loh
Funny, moving and uplifting
In 1916 inn-keeper Sophie Lefevre must cope while her artist husband is fighting at the front though German troops requisition everything of value in her village and their officers choose her establishment as the venue for dinner each evening. A painting of Sophie by her husband, displayed in the hotel, catches the eye of the German Kommandant and triggers a series of events which rapidly spirals out of Sophie's control. In present day London the same painting is emblematic of the love between a young woman, Liv, and her late husband, but the artwork's history means that her ownership of it comes into question, so Liv must embark on her own emotional battle.
This is the first of Jojo Moyes' books that I've read and I had little knowledge of her work before I started, other than having seen some rave reviews of her recent novel "Me Before You", so I didn't really have any expectations one way or the other. I have to say that I loved this novel and devoured in it two sittings, the second one ending in the small hours of the morning as I just had to finish it. When I did finish it I found myself lying awake thinking about it, and I've caught myself thinking about the characters on several occasions in the week since I finished it.
I've also raved about it so much to friends and family that there's now a waiting list for my copy and a couple of them have decided they can't wait and have pre-ordered their own copies ahead of publication on 27 September.
I found it funny and sad and moving - it's not often that a book makes me cry, but this one did. I also found myself talking to the characters when some of the events of the last half of the book happened, telling them not to do things or trying to warn them of impending events. I realise this makes me sound several sandwiches short of a picnic (or that I "haven't got all my chairs at home" as a Yorkshire-born friend says), but it's a sign that I was deeply involved in the book and fully identifying with the characters. For me, doing this is even rarer than crying while reading, which I think underlines how much I enjoyed this book.
I must also point out, however, that all of the above relates much more to the First World War sections of the book than to the modern-day story. I found the latter interesting, particularly when it deals with the recovery of stolen art works, but not nearly as involving as Sophie's story. I found the characters less warm and a bit less real that their historical counterparts. I adored Sophie and her family and wanted to help them during the terrible times they were living through.
I've read a good number of novels set during the First World War, but wasn't aware of some of the things that went on in this book, so it made me want to go off and read some non-fiction on the subject - always another good sign about a historical novel.
I'm so glad I read this and had the experience of enjoying it so much. The Girl You Left Behind took me completely out of my own life and into Sophie Lefevre's, and after it was over I felt like I'd lost a good friend. What a fantastic book! by CuteBadger