Review for The Girl You Left Behind
I absolutely love books by Jojo Moyes. I love her style and how she blends historical fiction with modern day stories. This book is no exception to that.
The book is written in two parts. The first tells a story of an outspoken woman named Sophie Lefevre. She is living in St. Peronne, a small town outside of Paris, during World War 1. She and her sister are left to run the family inn when she and her sister’s husband go off to fight at the front. Sophie’s husband is an artist and, before he left, he painted a picture of her that Sophie leaves hanging up in the main room of the inn. Her sister warns her to put it away when the Germans occupy the town for fear that they will take it but Sophie refuses stating that she will not let the Germans determine what she can look at in her own home. When the Germans decide they want to have dinner every night at the inn Sophie and her sister Helene are forced to cook for them every night. The leader of the Germans, Herr Kommadant, becomes fascinated with Sophie’s portrait, The Girl You Left Behind, as well as Sophie herself.
As time goes on Sophie fears more and more for her husband’s life, especially when she finds out that he is in a prisoner of war camp. She realizes the only way to save him would be to strike a deal with Herr Kommandant. She tells him he can have the painting of her if he will just reunite her with her husband but Herr Kommandant wants more than just the painting. Sophie and the Kommandant come to an agreement but the next thing she knows Sophie is being arrested and no one hears from her again.
Part two of the story tells of a woman, Liv Halston, who is grieving the death of her husband David. David was an architect and the only thing Liv has left of him is the Glass House he built for them where she lives alone and a painting he bought her on their honeymoon entitled The Girl You Left Behind. Liv knows nothing of the painting’s history. She meets Paul and begins to let her guard down but he sees the painting in her room and becomes distant. She realizes soon that he works for a company that restores stolen artwork from wartime to the families of the owners. Soon she is in a battle not only to keep the painting she has come to love but for her heart. Paul has fallen in love with Liv as well and both of them must decide what their love is worth to them.
This is such an intriguing story of romance and mystery as to the nature of the painting. I give this book 5 stars!