The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You left Behind was very different from Me Before You and its sequel, After You. The book is set in two different time periods with interlocking story lines.  The beginning is set in 1916 in occupied France.  Sophie Lefevre is married to an artist, Edouard Lefevre who has gone off to fight in the war.  Sophie has moved back to her family home where her family operates a hotel where the Germans expect her to cook their meals.  For comfort she keeps a copy of a painting Edouard painted of her hanging in the hotel.  The Kommandant takes an interest in both Sophie and the painting, putting her in a perilous position.  During this turbulent and treacherous time Sophie eventually risks everything to try to be reunited with her husband.  Flash forward 100 years to London. Liv Halston still mourns the loss of her architect husband who died 4 years previously.  She has hanging in her bedroom the painting of Sophie.  The painting appeared in a article in an architectural magazine featuring the Halston’s house, so relatives of Sophie have learned of its existence and start the battle to reclaim the painting as a stolen piece of art during the war.  Liv, however, does not want to give up the painting because her husband had bought it for her on their honeymoon, and it means a lot to her.  To make matters more complicated, the man she recently met and was beginning to get interested in, works for the company trying to reclaim the painting.  I listened to the book  and would highly recommend the audiobook version.  The girl narrating Sophie has a french accent and is wonderful.  This book has an interesting story with interesting main characters, a little bit of history, and poses a lot of what would you do in this situation type of questions.  It appears to be a hallmark of Moyes’s books that you’re never quite sure if the book is heading in the direction you think it is.  I’ll continue to read/listen to more of her books.

4 thoughts on “The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

  1. Gretchen Collins says:

    Mary, I read this some years ago and loved it. First of her books I read.

    Just read BLACK SWAN GREEN by David Mitchell. Perhaps you read this..about 9 years ago. I just loved his exquisite writing and the 13 year old boy who was the main character. I think you would really enjoy this as Jason Taylor struggles with his stammer, with bullies in his class…and the travails of adolescence. Takes place in an English Village.


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