reviewed by: Lily Marshall, Library Bookkeeper and Cataloger
The newest novel by Jojo Moyes shares its title with a fictional painting that serves as a catalyst in linking two loves stories, one set in occupied France during World War I, the other in 21st-century London.
The first book I read by Jojo Moyes was Me Before You. Although it was an interesting story on a sensitive subject, I wasn't too fond of the ending and swore I would never read another book by her. When I saw the book The Girl You Left Behind, I thought it was a sequel to Me Before You, but I was wrong. As I was cataloging the book, I was thinking to myself that I needed to give this book a try.
The story is split into two parts that will intercept through time. In France, 1916, Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. Their small town falls to the Germans in the middle of World War I . Edouard painted a portrait of Sophie that attracts the new Kommandant.
In an act of desperation Sophie sacrifices her family, her reputation, and her life to see her husband again. I was so caught up in Sophie, that I have to admit I was a little disappointed that the story shifted away from her character. The second part of the story takes place 100 years later. Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv Halston by her husband before he died suddenly. Liv draws strength from the painting day by day and becomes emotionally attached to the girl in the painting. Some of Edouard's family is looking for the same painting.
There is a long-drawn out battle in court, as the two parties fight over who should be the owner of the painting called The Girl You Left Behind. This book absolutely captivated me. I couldn't put it down. I read it during breaks and lunchtime. I just had to find out what happened next. I recommend this book to everyone who likes historical fiction and Jojo Moyes has become my new favorite author.
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