October 7, 2013

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes



Publication Date: August 2013
Categories: Contemporary Women, Historical
Source: She Reads

Description:

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Me Before You, a spellbinding love story of two women separated by a century but united in their determination to fight for what they love most

Jojo Moyes’s bestseller, Me Before You, catapulted her to wide critical acclaim and has struck a chord with readers everywhere. “Hopelessly and hopefully romantic” (Chicago Tribune), Moyes returns with another irresistible heartbreaker that asks, “Whatever happened to the girl you left behind?”

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 KeyThe 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.

My Thoughts:

About Jojo
Jojo Moyes does it again. The Girl You Left Behind is another heartrending tale that moves briskly to a compelling conclusion.

The writing is twisty and vibrant. It's the kind of story that keeps surprising you. The only thing I didn't exactly buy into was Liv's obsession with the painting. There didn't seen to be a legitimate reason for her to be so gangbusters about it. It was essential to the story that she wanted to keep that piece of art but it kept snagging on my brain as unrealistic.

I found the history in this book to be fantastic. I was even quite a fan of the romantic elements. That's not something you'll hear very often from this reader.

Have you read The Girl You Left Behind? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

46 comments:

  1. I'm also not a romance fan, but I'm glad you mentioned the historic element - I think that this sounds great, Jennifer.

    I have Sarah's Key on my kindle, and really want to read it, so I guess I will start there since I have that book. Maybe I will purchase this one too!

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    1. The historical stuff is what always gets me. If it's done well that is. And it is in this book. :D

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  2. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I enjoyed this story. You make a good point about Liv's obsession with the painting.

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    1. Thanks Pat :) There was just something about her obsession that didn't ring true.

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  3. I downloaded this book to Sparky a couple of weeks ago...and loved Me Before You, so I can't wait to dive in. Thanks for your great review!

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  4. I disagree with you because I can't stand Liv. How dare she think that a stolen painting is hers to keep? If you purchased a stolen car, you wouldn't be in trouble, but you can't keep the car. Why would Liv think she can keep the painting? It's immoral to me.

    Although, I did read the end, so I know what happens but that's the kind of thing that bugged me like crazy.

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    1. Exactly! That's basically what I said...I just didn't buy why she thought she should be able to keep the painting. It didn't ring true to me at all.

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    2. Okay, gotcha! I wasn't sure if you meant that her obsession was what you didn't buy or if it was, like my thoughts, the obsession plus she's f'ing wrong! :P

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    3. Ha ha! Nope, it made me crazy. It was pretty see through as a plot device.

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  5. Jennifer, I'm with you on Liv -- I keep considering DNFing this one, but I think I'll finish it to review tomorrow.

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    1. Might as well finish it if you're that close right? ;)

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  6. I SERIOUSLY need to work on reading some JoJo. But everyone loves her and her books so much that I'm slightly afraid that I'll be disappointed.

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    1. Honestly? I don't know if she'd be your bag! I wouldn't discourage you from trying but I wouldn't be surprised if you were "meh" about her stuff. Is that awful? LOL

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  7. Read it. Loved it! My first Moyes novel but definitely not my last! I especially loved Sophie's story and the history surrounding it. One of my favorites of the year for sure!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it Lisa! You'd probably go nuts for Me Before You then! :D

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  8. Having read the prequel novella, I'm interested in Sophie's story but Liz not so much. Sounds like that might be true for the book as well. I'll probably still read it but maybe not rush out. :)

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    1. I forgot all about the prequel. I wouldn't mind taking that one for a quick spin! :D

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  9. Jojo Moyes is my new go-to comfort/romance author. I just love how well-rounded her stories are. So glad to hear you enjoyed this one!

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    1. Don't you love finding an author that speaks to you?? :D

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  10. I'm so tempted by this one because of the WW1 link and I STILL have a ridiculous obsession will all things WW1. But then I'm sure Moyes is my cup of tea. One day I'll try maybe...

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    1. This might be one to check out from the library Ellie ;) See how it goes?

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  11. I enjoyed the historical parts but thought first part a bit too long. I understood Liv better because it's all she had left. Agree a somewhat over the top reaction. While I loved it, it's not better then Me Before You.

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    1. I think we're going to agree to disagree Anita, lol. I'm pretty sure I liked this one a bit better than Me Before You, ha!

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  12. I am really looking forward to reading this one! You make it sound so good, Jennifer.

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  13. I recently won a copy of this and I'm really excited to read it. Though I enjoy her writing, I was a little frustrated by a few things with Me Before You. I think the historical fiction aspect of this is more to my liking.

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    1. I think the historical aspect is why I liked this one better than Me Before You. I'll be very curious to hear what you think

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  14. I've still not read a JoJo Moyes book -- can you believe it? I have Me Before You waiting on my shelf, but it appears I have to add this one too :-)

    Stop adding to my already massive TBR pile, Jennifer!!! LOL

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    1. I think it's time you give one of her books a whirl Melissa ;) I'm super sorry about adding to your pile! (No, I'm really not, ha ha!)

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  15. I love how you describe things... "twisty and vibrant"? That totally intrigues me!

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  16. I loved this one. It makes me happy to hear that you enjoyed the romantic elements, because you're so discerning... There were a couple times when reading this where I was like "SERIOUSLY, LIV? Just give them the painting!!!" Because that was a little crazy, but then I was all happy with the way things wrapped up so I stopped being a grump about it. You are twisty and vibrant... And I mean that in the best possible way!

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    1. More often than not romance makes me say ICK. ;) Twisty and vibrant, ha! I'll take it!

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  17. I have to give Jojo Moyes a try sometime soon! Everybody seems to love her books. I brought her Me Before You twice but couldn't read it both times.

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    1. She's incredibly popular :) I think her work speaks to a lot of people. There's romance but it's not your typical unbelievable romance..that's my fave thing about her books.

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  18. Great review! I loved this book and am looking forward to reading Me Before You soon. I agree with your point that Liv's obsession was a little hard to take. You should try The Last Letter From Your Lover- her first novel.

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    1. I really do want to try her first one, thanks for the reminder! I'll add that to my list :D

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  19. Love hearing that the historical facts are solid and enjoyed. And not too heavy on the romance. Sounds like a really good read. Have you read The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy? Set in WWII on Guernsey, it too is a story of a soldier at war whose wife is quickly approached and pursued by a German soldier. Perhaps a bit more romance than this sounds, but a 5-star read from my perspective. You might enjoy.

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    1. The Soldier's Wife sounds SO familiar to me! I'm going to go look it up right now :D

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  20. I'm on page 60 or so and I just love the vibrant detail. There's detail like in The Historian and then there's Jojo Moyes AWESOME, eat-it-up detail in this book. So good!

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    1. Vibrant, yessss! Super glad you're digging it too Andi :D

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  21. Absolutely, absolutely agree with you about this one. I had a problem, too, with the obsession about the painting and I didn't entirely buy into the solution but I was willing to get over all of that because I enjoyed both of the stories so much.

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    1. Yes! It ended up being ok because the story and the characters were good enough to pull us through :D

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  22. I agree with you completely :) I enjoyed this and couldn't put it down, but the obsession with painting did seem a bit over the top to me.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes. Great minds ;) Right? Right~!

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