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The Girl You Left Behind Hardcover – August 20, 2013

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The Girl You Left Behind + The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel + Me Before You
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Moyes (Me before You, 2012) writes with such clarity that one can almost see the eponymous 100-year-old painting at the center of her wonderful new novel. Also crystal clear are the emotions that protagonist Liv Halston attaches to the portrait. Gifted to Liv by her late husband, David, in celebration of their wedding, The Girl You Left Behind becomes a personal icon, embodying all that was good about their brief marriage. What is less clear is the painting’s provenance and who has the right to assert ownership. Will Liv’s notion of ownership unravel when the artist’s heirs sue to reclaim what they call ill-gotten goods, seemingly misappropriated by German soldiers during WWI? Did the artist’s wife—the subject of the portrait—give or sell it? Can anyone establish a clear trail of legitimate ownership? Does emotional attachment to a work of art have cash value? Can love ever trump greed? At its heart, such questions, thrumming in the background, add depth to what is an uncommonly good love story. --Donna Chavez



"Vibrant and gripping.”
People Magazine (***)

"Jojo Moyes expertly weaves a bittersweet tale in this irresistible novel, taking careful interest in the dark corners that exist within great love stories, and the trickiness of simple happy endings. A-"
Entertainment Weekly

“Moyes writes delicious plots, with characters so clearly imagined they leap off the pages in high-definition prose. . . . Clever plot turns make for a satisfying ending . . .  Moyes brings fresh strokes to this story about the power of art and love to transcend what imprisons us. Romantics looking for a story set amid the politics of plundered art couldn't do much better than The Girl You Left Behind.”
USA Today (3 1/2 stars)

"Jojo Moyes builds on her strengths in this moving and accomplished new novel. As she did in the best-selling Me Before You, she asks readers to think in fresh ways about a morally complex issue. . . . The Girl You Left Behind is strong, provocative, satisfying fiction.
The Washington Post

"'In this moving paean to daring, determination and perspicacity, Moyes keeps the reader guessing down to the last hankie."
Los Angeles Times

"Good storytelling."
New York Daily News

"In her latest heart tugger, Jojo Moyes deftly weaves the story of newlyweds in WWI France with that of a young widow in today’s London."

"Lovely and wry, Moyes’s newest is captivating and bittersweet."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Moyes (Me Before You) has created a riveting depiction of a wartime occupation that has mostly faded from memory. Liv and Sophie are so real in their faults, passion, and bravery that the reader is swept along right to the end. This one is hard to put down!"
Library Journal (starred review)

"Moyes (Me Before You, 2012) writes with such clarity that one can almost see the eponymous 100-year-old painting at the center of her wonderful new novel. . . .  an uncommonly good love story."

Praise for ME BEFORE YOU:

“When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it: I wanted to reread it. . . . Moyes’s story provokes tears that are redemptive, the opposite of gratuitous. Some situations, she forces the reader to recognize, really are worth crying over. . . . with Lou and Will she has created an affair to remember.”
New York Times Book Review, Liesl Schillinger

“An unlikely love story . . . To be devoured like candy, between tears.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“After finishing Jojo Moyes' Me Before You, you grasp why the novel, a word-of-mouth sensation from Britain, has been sold to 28 countries. . . . by turns funny and moving but never predictable.”
USA Today (****)

“Funny, surprising and heartbreaking, populated with characters who are affecting and amusing . . . This is a thought-provoking, thoroughly entertaining novel that captures the complexity of love”
People Magazine

“READ IT AND WEEP: Heartbreak collides with humor in Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You, about the romance between a quadriplegic and his hired caregiver.”
Good Housekeeping

“Masterful . . . a heartbreaker in the best sense . . . ME BEFORE YOU is achingly hard to read at moments, and yet such a joy.”
New York Daily News

"Jojo Moyes has written the perfect modern love story.  You will be astonished at what you feel, and what you hope for when you are forced to face the possibility of your own dreams. It's that good. Read it now."
Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of The Shoemaker's Wife

“ME BEFORE YOU is a delicious surprise—funny and hopeful and heartbreaking, the kind of story that will keep you turning pages into the night. Lou Clark and Will Traynor will capture your heart and linger there long after their story has ended."
Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters

“Some books make you stop and think, compel you to examine your own take on life or your position or stand on an issue.  Jojo Moyes’ ME BEFORE YOU will surprise you—it is impossible not to put yourself in the characters’ shoes and you will find yourself thinking about the choices you might make if life changed in an instant.  I loved it.”
Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author of Those We Love Most

"A lovely novel, both nontraditional and enthralling."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Moyes’ latest is made heartwarming, thanks to the vibrancy of its main characters, both of whom will keep readers on their toes with their chemistry and witty repartee. . . .humorous and romantic through and through."

“Moyes’ twisting, turning, heartbreaking novel raises provocative moral questions while developing a truly unique relationship between two people brought together by chance. With shades of David Nicholls’ beloved One Day, Me Before You is the kind of book you simply can’t put down—even when you realize you don’t want to see it end. . . . A big-hearted, beautifully written story that teaches us it is never too late to truly start living.”

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books (August 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670026611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670026616
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,718 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

206 of 215 people found the following review helpful By Lougrahamii on October 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is set in two halves. The first being in France during WW1. Sophia is left struggling to support her sister and her family whilst both their husbands have gone off to war. With the Germans occupying their small village, life is extremely tough and complicated. All she has of her husband is a portrait that he has painted of her.

The second half of the book joins us nearly 100 years later on and we follow Liv's live as she struggles to come to terms with the sudden death of her husband. All she has is the painting he gave her on her honeymoon. This one painting connects the ladies so unexpectedly.

What a wonderful book, heart breaking, emotional and gripping read. Jojo has again written a book that will have you staying up until the early hours as you just have to see what happens next. Extremely well written and will totally engage you. I found the first half of the book so emotional and I was briefly disappointed when we skipped to the present day. However, one chapter in, I was as hooked as I was with the first part. A brilliant book and I one not to be missed.
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86 of 89 people found the following review helpful By sb-lynn TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brief summary and review, no spoilers.

This book is narrated by two different women at different points in time. The first part of the novel takes place during WWI and tells the story of Sophie LeFevre, who owns and helps run a bar/cafe in a small town outside of Paris. The town has been taken over by Germans and the locals have all suffered from deprivation and oppression at the hands of their captors.

Sophie and her sister Helene are both concerned about their husbands who are French soldiers and possibly in a prison camp or worse. Sophie's husband is a talented and fairly well-known artist named Eduoard, and Sophie's most prized possession is the portrait he did of her shortly after they first met. She has it prominently displayed on the bar wall. When the German Kommandant sees the portrait, he becomes enthralled with it and with Sophie as well. What will happen to Sophie and her family and to their town if the Germans don't leave? And what will Sophie do in order to save her husband and see him again?

The story then moves to the present times and we meet Olivia (Liv) Halston, a woman who's been in a state of depression and grief since the death of her young husband 4 years earlier. Liv is struggling financially and emotionally but things seem to take a turn for the better when she becomes attracted to a man named Paul McCafferty. Paul works for an agency that tries to give priceless paintings stolen by the Nazi's back to their original owners, and when he spots Sophie's portrait in Liv's home, he feels he must take action.

I really enjoyed the WWI parts of this book, which pretty much make up the majority of the first half.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Bookie on January 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really liked the WW1 french occupation by the germans background, set in a small town. The modern story got a bit bogged down, but linked up well with the earlier story. I think Jojo Moyes has a strength in doing recent historical fiction, such as early-first half of the 20th century.
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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Kindles & Wine Book Blog on August 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover

I knew absolutely nothing about this book before I read it. My digital advanced reader's copy had no plot description, and I requested it simply because I have read and enjoyed one of the author's previous books, ME BEFORE YOU.

I TOTALLY recommend trying this method of reading sometime. I find that a lot of times book blurbs are WAY too descriptive, so you feel like you already know what is going to happen just from reading the summary. Also, sometimes if you read too many reviews of a book you have unrealistic expectations, and a perfectly lovely book can end up falling short. However, I regret to inform you that because you are reading this review, you will pretty much be unable to duplicate my experience of reading this book. Unless you want to stop reading this post right now. If you do, I'll simply say--READ THIS BOOK.

For those of you who want the more conventional reviewing option, here you go:

Since I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into, I was thrilled that the book starts out in France during World War I. As you may have gathered, WWI is a special interest of mine, and I thought the first part was beautifully written historical fiction. Moyes really made me feel what it would have been like to be a woman with a husband at the Front, and the difficulty of living in an occupied country. She also explores themes of what it means to be "the enemy" and the lengths people are willing to go to save someone they love.

I was also pleased because, although I started the book while in London, I was going to be traveling to France the next day. I was EXTREMELY EXCITED to be reading a book set in France WHILE IN FRANCE. I don't know why this was extremely exciting to me, but it was.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By AES on March 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to say that JoJo Moyes is now officially my favorite author. In The Girl You Left Behind, Moyes seamlessly weaves together how a portrait of a young copper-haired woman alters the lives of people who lived countries and centuries apart.

As ever, Moyes's characters are beautifully crafted. They are so real, rich and courageous that their challenges, inspiration and triumphs will stay with you long after you've finished the last page.
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