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The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
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The Girl You Left Behind (edition 2012)

by Jojo Moyes

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4865321,119 (4.01)17
Member:Youdid
Title:The Girl You Left Behind
Authors:Jojo Moyes
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (2012), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

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The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

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Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Another story-within-a -story type book, interweaving two tales, which I tend to like, particularly if both narratives are interesting, which happily was the case here. In one, a woman in occupied France WWI era, finds herself struggling to keep her home and family safe, while her beloved husband is away fighting. She has her memories, and a portrait of her he painted from their days in Paris. All threatens to come apart when a German Kommandant discovers both Sophie and her portrait. In the other thread, Sophie's portrait is in modern day Paris, in the home and in the heart of Liv Halston, whose husband gave her the painting on their honeymoon. Now widowed, Liv finds herself in a court battle over who owns Sophie's portrait and if it is the spoils of warn or a true gift of love. I honestly have to say that as I read, I kept wondering how the author would untangle the mess that both women seemed to have gotten into, while keeping the promise of a happy ending in sight. I saw one possible out, but surprisingly enough, Moyes came up with a different one.

This is the second Jojo Moyes book I have read. I found the details and characters compelling, and the descriptions of life intricate enough that I could easily visualize the events of the book. My copy of the bok also included a prequel novella, called "Honeymoon in Paris", which for me, was really only interesting for the backstory of Sophie and her Edouard, rather thank Liv and her husband.

Tags: a-favorite-author, currently-reading, taught-me-something, will-look-for-more-by-this-author ( )
  bookczuk | Sep 10, 2014 |
I'm not a great fan of books that jump to different time periods but, in this case, I thought, the two stories were skillfully linked together. Not only that, but both stories kept me engaged. I was impressed with this and am eager to read the author's other books. ( )
  librarygeek33 | Aug 28, 2014 |
A great read that drew me in quickly and kept me engaged thru to the end. This is yet another story of life during the world war years, but this one not only revealed a exciting and passionate tale, but was as honest and candid as possible about how the war affected the wives, children and neighbors during the German occupatio of France. The characters were presented in a very detailed and realistic way, yet the story was detailed and convoluted as well. The author created saitsfying connections with several characters and told the story in two different generations and locations and distilled it into a novel that could be read in a relatively short time. This ability to tell a story clearly, present living and caring characters, and keep me interested every step of the way is a talent that I have noted a few times at most.
The story was nightmarish, passionate, tender, humble and very, very real, very much like life itself is when 50 years are summed up. But how to convey all of that without needing 1500 pages is the impressive talent that the author clearly exhibited.
I finished this book in 1/2 the time it normally takes me to finish, and I only finish 1 out of 5 books to begin with.
Much appreciated and enjoyed! ( )
  pife43 | Jul 23, 2014 |
Took me a week to read which is my barometer for how well I liked the book. In this case I could not steal away enough time to read and enjoy. I think I would have read it cover to cover in one sitting if I had been able. Good characters plausible plot moved between World War 1 and current time without missing a beat. Though this is basically chick lit it is top shelf chick lit ( )
  Alphawoman | Jul 21, 2014 |
In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time. Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened… (from Goodreads)

Jojo Moyes’ The Girl You Left Behind was a perfect book club choice. Both protagonists are complex women forced to make some very thought-provoking decisions. As with the last book club selection, I wasn’t always sure what I thought the protagonists should do. I think this is one way in which to be a truly brilliant writer. If a character is having a hard time making a decision and I want to shake her because the right choice is so obvious, that’s just frustrating. When an author like Jojo manages to make me uncertain as well, the story seems more real and the characters become much more relatable.

Despite starting reading around 3 or 4 in the morning, I constantly wanted to know what the characters were going to do and what was going to happen next. The details of both the WWI and the modern day settings were so vivid, I was drawn right in. Some of the scenes, including the opening, are so dramatic and so fun that I immediately started imagining them happening in a movie. Although I loved both Sophie and Liv, Sophie was by far my favorite. She’s brave, intelligent, and captivating. The description of her experience of the resistance movement in France was very well done, with a fascinating look at both the good and the bad of how people treated each other. And finding out the surprising ending of her story… Well, lets just say it was well worth the wait.

This review first published on Doing Dewey ( )
  DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
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Book description
What happened to the girl you left behind?

France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre must keep her family safe whilst her adored husband Edouard fights at the front. When she is ordered to serve the German officers who descend on her hotel each evening, her home becomes riven by fierce tensions. And from the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born, which will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision.

Almost a century later, and Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before he died. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth, and its troubled history. A history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down all over again . . .

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for what they love most - whatever the cost.

If you can't wait for The Girl You Left Behind treat yourself to the prequel, Honeymoon in Paris, Jojo Moyes' irresistible ebook-only novella out now.
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Unwillingly rendered an object of obsession by the Kommandant occupying her small French town in World War I, Sophie risks everything to reunite with her husband a century before a widowed Liv tests her resolve to claim ownership of Sophie's portrait.… (more)

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