I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from SheReads
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.
How did I describe this book to my mom? “OMG.” What an outstanding read, and I think this is not just a favorite of 2013, but my favorite of the year so far. I love how story starts out, giving us a big chunk of Sophie’s life in 1916 during the German occupation of France. From reading the synopsis I knew we would be getting both past and present, and most books like that give a chapter or two then switch for a chapter or two, then back. I thought this was great to give so much of the past storyline, because when we finally start reading about Liv Halston and how she comes across Sophie’s painting, my mind was always on Sophie. What happened to her? Did she find her husband? Or did she die? I was so hooked that I was bringing my Kindle everywhere with me so I didn’t have to stop reading. Towards the end of the novel I was walking on my treadmill (while reading, yes) and I remember goosebumps springing all over me when a new characters is introduced in the present – but someone from the past. I really don’t want to give anything away, because clearly it had quite the impact on me. From there, I started bawling – not crying, not sniffling, but full-out sobbing – when we finally learned of Sophie’s fate. And yes, I was still on the treadmill. What a magnificent book, and one I will recommend to everyone!
Jojo Moyes was born in 1969 and grew up in London. After a varied career including stints as a minicab controller, typer of braille statements for blind people for NatWest, and brochure writer for Club 18-30 she did a degree at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London University. In 1992 She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to attend the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at City University, and apart from 1994 when she worked in Hong Kong for the Sunday Morning Post, she worked at The Independent for ten years, including stints as Assistant news editor and Arts and Media Correspondent. She has been a full time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain was published. She lives on a farm in Essex with her husband, journalist Charles Arthur, and their three children.