The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes - review

The tale of two women yearning for lost loves, The Girl You Left Behind tells the story of Sophie Lefevre, a hotel owner in German-occupied France and Liv Halston, a modern woman struggling to move on following her husband's death and how their stuggles are linked by a rare work of art

What's The Girl You Left Behind about? The tale of two women yearning for lost loves, The Girl You Left Behind tells the story of Sophie Lefevre, a hotel owner in German-occupied France in the first World War.

Sophie is left to care for her family and defend her townspeople from the Germans with only her lovingly-painted portrait to remind her of her husband on the front line. When a intriguing new German Kommandment comes to town, the painting could be her ticket to her husband or the cause of her demise.

Flash forward nearly a century later, the portrait finds itself in modern-day London, again a source of comfort to a woman mourning her lost husband. As the picture proves just as valuable as it did in the past, how far will Liv Halston have to go to keep her most prized possesion where it belongs?

goodtoknow says: Rich and full of emotion, The Girl You Left Behind grabs you from the word go, starting with Sophie's dramatic story in a small French village. All alone with their men on the front line, Sophie and sister Helene must fend off the German soldiers and provide solace for the children and elderly members of the town.

Strong, independent and not afraid to stand up to the enermy, Sophie is such a good character to get behind. She's not foolhardy and has no heroic notions, she simply puts herself on the line to protect those she cares about.

Told from her perspective in hazy flashbacks, her life with painter-husband Edouard in Paris is a distant, rose-tinted past with her vivid self-portrait the only reminder of her former love and life. When Sophie has to make a tough decision in the hope of seeing her husband, she really has only one option.

Leaving Sophie at a dramatic turning point, we are hurtled into the 21st century into the life of Liv. Living in a glass house designed by her late husband David, Liv is struggling to get over his untimely death. The portrait of Sophie hanging in her bedroom is the only thing keeping her sane.

Liv's loneliness and isolation is so expertly conveyed, that when she decides to risk everything she has for the paining, you fully understand why she does it. Her romance with David is also narrated in glorious, trouble-free flashbacks and like Sophie's love, paints a fairytale romance.

Liv's growing relationship with Paul is a much more modern affair. With his own baggage, a recent divorce and young son, his and Liv's courtship is far from perfect but it feels much more real.

The book really picks up that pace with a dramatic court case. Interspersed with flashbacks to Sophie's increasingly bleak outlook, Liv learns everything she can about the woman and the painting and fights some seriously big guns for what she believes is right.

With more twists and turns that you could predict, the outcome for both Liv and Sophie is never a sure thing - and this keeps you truly hooked until the end.

With thoroughly well-rounded support characters, Liv and Sophie capture your heart and take you on a emotional roller coaster that is about so much more than just a painting.

Rating: 9/10 You'll like this if you liked: Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure by Joanne Harris

Publisher: Penguin Publish Date: Out now Buy it now on Amazon

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