When The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes showed up in my mail bag a few weeks ago, some of you were very excited about it. Your enthusiasm invited me to pick up before the other books in that stack. After you read my thoughts on the book, make sure you enter to win a copy of the book for yourself!
The Girl You Left Behind offers two stories bound together by a painting with a mysterious past. The novel opens in a German-occupied French town during World War I. With the same name as the novel’s title, the Edouard Lefevre painting captures his wife Sophie during the early years of their courtship. Sophie’s independence and strength keeps her family together after the German Kommandant forces her to cook and feed his soldiers. The Kommandant is just as enamored with the painting of Sophie as he is with her. Sophie makes a difficult choice for a chance to see her husband again. Soon after, the painting disappears.
Fast forward a hundred years later, we meet Live, the current owner of “The Girl You Left Behind.” After Lefevre’s family attempts to regain control of Edouard’s painting, Liv will do anything to keep the painting in her possession. The painting is her remaining connect to her husband, who died suddenly. The battle over the painting prompts Liv to find out what really happened to the painting and it’s beautiful subject.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Moye’s novel since I avoided any reviews or mention of the book (except for the pitch from the publisher). Usually when there’s a lot of hype about a book, there’s also very strong opinions to go with it. I didn’t want to be swayed them.
I was totally sucked into Sophie’s provincial life and how her fellow townspeople found their own ways to fight back at the Germans. I wanted Sophie to find her husband so badly that I was sad to leave her story to travel to Liv’s story. While Liv’s story isn’t as compelling as Sophie’s, we must keep to the present to discover what happened to Sophie.
I thought the trial process was a bit drawn out and Liv’s relationship with Paul was a little too predictable. The resolution was a little too neat and tidy for me. I’m really just nitpicking, though.
Overall, The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes was an extremely enjoyable read. As soon as I settled into Sophie’s story, I knew I had to set the novel aside until my kids were in bed. If I hadn’t done that, my kids might not have been fed dinner that day.
Want to win your own copy of The Girl You Left Behind? Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. (U.S. addresses only, please).
I received a copy of the book for review. This post contains affiliate links.