- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 24, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014312577X
- ISBN-13: 978-0143125778
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,336 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel Paperback – June 24, 2014
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Praise for THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND:
"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-"
“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
—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."
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Top customer reviews
I initially picked up this book without even reading a synopsis so I had no clue what was going to happen in the story. At first, it did take me a bit to get into the story but once I did? I did not want to put it down! I will be recommending this book to pretty much all the book readers that I know-it was that good!
This story was a wonderful combination of every genre that I love; historical fiction, mystery, and romance. Both Sophie and Live are wonderful, strong women that are fighting for their family and the man that they love. There were moments of great sadness and fear but also moments of laughter and hope.
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.
Sophie Lefevre's artist husband Edouard is away, fighting for the French. Having returned to her small village for the duration of the war, Sophie and her sister are running the family inn, despite wartime privations and the oppression of the German Occupation. Sophie catches the eye of the German Kommandant, who orders Sophie and her sister to provide meals for the German officers. They can hardly refuse, and indeed, their lives are made marginally better through the extra food they are given to cook. These are desperate times for the French, and soon there are rumors that Sophie is collaborating with the Germans. It costs Sophie everything she has. Or does it?
In the present day, Liv Halston is still mourning the death of her world famous architect husband four years before. She's still living in the glass monument he created for them though she's having trouble paying her bills, but she's content to live out her days as the great man's widow, attending artistic and charitable functions to promote his legacy. When she's sued by the family of Edouard Lefevre to force her to return a painting of Sophie, a wedding present from her husband they claim was stolen by the Germans, Liv is galvanized into defending herself and her husband's reputation. The ensuing court battle is brutal, and in the end, costs Liv everything she has. Or does it?
This is a fascinating story. Sophie and Liv were both married to gifted artists. Though they are very different characters, their,lives parallel each other's in some unexpected ways. The Girl You Left Behind is more than a painting, it's a symbol. The characters are deftly drawn; if Sophie and Liv are painted with large strokes, this is Impressionism, after all.