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The Girl You Left Behind Paperback – 27 Sep 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (27 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718157842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718157845
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (984 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Even as Moyes tackles the inflammatory issues around art stolen during wartime, she never loses sight of the driving engine of her narrative . . . this pleasurably assured writer skilfully balances the quotidian and the comic with the broad and universal, leaving us with the tantalising possibility of a potential caper to come (Independent on Sunday)

Jojo Moyes paints a genuinely moving, beautiful picture of how love and belief will ultimately win the war, even if they can't win the battle. The Girl You Left Behind is a true work of art (Fabulous)

This story is wonderfully well-written and completely engrossing, with exquisitely drawn characters in a brilliantly plotted narrative. It will make you think long after you finish the final page (Daily Mail)

Moyes is the queen of the classy weepy and this won't disappoint. A masterclass in story-telling that fans of Me Before You will adore (Elle)

Another heart-stoppingly brilliant novel from Jojo Moyes (Marie Claire)

About the Author

Jojo Moyes is a novelist and a journalist. She worked at the Independent for ten years before leaving to write full time. Her previous novels have all been critically acclaimed and include Me Before You, The Last Letter from Your Lover, Ship of Brides and Foreign Fruit. She lives in Essex with her husband and their three children.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 136 people found the following review helpful By Sukie VINE VOICE on 9 July 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jojo Moyes is fast becoming one of my favourite authors - I loved Me Before You and The Last Letter, and was really excited to read this new novel.

The Girl You Left Behind opens grippingly with the story of Sophie Lefevre and her family. It is 1916, and her French village has been occupied by the Germans - life is tough. Sophie's husband Edouard, an artist, is away at war and she and her sister Helene are struggling to make ends meet, running Le Coq Rouge, the village inn. Then a German Kommandant insists that they begin cooking for his men, much to Sophie's disgust. Chillingly, the Kommandant seems to take a liking to Sophie, and appears bewitched by the portrait Edouard painted of her, entitled The Girl You Left Behind. Can Sophie use his liking of her to get information about her husband... or is that a dangerous game too far?

The action turns to the present day and we meet Liv Halston, a young widow, who is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life following the death of her beloved husband, David. The Girl You Left Behind now hangs on her wall, a gift from David, yet she has no idea of the story behind the painting... until the Lefevre family start trying to trace the missing artwork, claiming that it was looted illegally by the German army during the war, and should rightfully be returned to them. Desperate not to be parted from her husband's gift, Liv digs in her heels. Moyes cleverly reveals the story of Sophie, and the two women's lives become entwined.

I absolutely loved the first half of this book - I was gripped by Sophie's storyline. She is a great character - feisty and resourceful, proud, spirited and loving - yet fallible and vulnerable too. I found the second half of the novel much slower and in all honesty, a bit long.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Laura T VINE VOICE on 4 July 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved Jojo Moyes's last novel, 'Me Before You', so I was thrilled to hear she had a new book out (and very grateful to receive an early reading copy). As with 'Me Before You', I raced through this book and didn't want it to end. In some ways, I think it's even better - if only because Moyes sets herself more difficult structural challenges with this one, and avoids the pitfalls of handling multiple narrators more gracefully. I'll say at the start that this book features two of my pet hates in popular (and indeed literary) fiction; a story from the past juxtaposed with a modern-day narrative (often because the author has no idea how to handle historical fiction) and parallels between the two stories (because these are usually obvious and not very illuminating). The fact that Moyes, seemingly effortlessly, manages to make these contrivances seem natural is a sign of the strength of her work.

Sophie Lefevre is trying to survive in an occupied area of France during the First World War, while her husband, Edouard, is away fighting at the front. One small comfort is that she still possesses the picture he painted of her before they were married, 'The Girl You Left Behind'. However, when the Kommandant of the German battalion occupying her village begins to take an interest in Sophie, her position becomes increasingly precarious. In the present day, Liv Halston is still grieving her architect husband, David, who died four years ago; her most precious memento of their relationship is not the house he built for them, but 'The Girl You Left Behind', which David bought for her on her honeymoon.
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117 of 128 people found the following review helpful By FLB TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 July 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I feel bad about writing anything remotely negative about this book. I first read JoJo Moyes a few months ago when I read "Me before you" - a book that made me love, laugh, sob and grieve. I don't think I had ever read a book quite like it and I could not wait for the new novel.

I was lucky enough to get a pre-release and it arrived yesterday.......I read the whole book (400+ pages) in one day, finishing late last night.

I really liked the story of Sophie and occupied France, I could picture Le Coq Rouge and life in the first world war and I was so engrossed in her story I could not put the book down.

Then in the second part came Liv and the prolonged and somewhat dull court battle around the painting Liv was left by her deceased husband. The second part of the book bored me and I found myself almost speed reading through the pages to get back to Sophie.

I am sure the book will be enjoyed by many, the story is clever and is very well written, but my gripe is that I just wasn't moved in the same way 'Me before you' moved me.....I found parts of this story boring, drawn out and not required. I would have quite happily read 500 pages exclusively about Sophie and given it 5 stars.

I am sorry JoJo, but it just didn't thrill me like your last book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By H. Ashford VINE VOICE on 26 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I requested this book on recommendation from my friends who, without exception, raved about it. Now I have read a number of Moyes' books and have found the standard to be pretty variable (but perhaps you just have to be in the right frame of mind?).

Anyway, this starts out well. I love the time-slice aspect of the book, and I could really relate to the WW1 story about Sophie Lefevre. I think Moyes captures the atmosphere of war torn France well and the reader gets a good feeling of how miserable and hard it was for the French people being invaded by the Germans.

As other reviewers have said, I found the modern day story of Liv and her obsession with Sophie's painting less compelling to read, mostly I think because Liv doesn't come across as such a fully rounded and sympathetic character.

Overall, I found this to be a solid and agreeable read, and one that I am sure fans of Jojo Moyes will enjoy.
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