This review is from: The Girl You Left Behind (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Girl You Left Behind is a beautiful, sometimes harrowing telling of two tales. The first is the story of Sophie Lefevre, 'left behind' by her husband Edouard who has gone to fight in the First World War. She is responsible for running a family bar in a small Northern French town occupied by Germans and forms an awkward relationship with the Kommandant.
The second takes place in the modern day and tells of Liv Halston's attempts to keep hold of a painting of Sophie, created by her husband Edouard before he left for the war. Liv herself has been left behind by her husband David who passed away. The painting is one of the enduring links to her past with David and she refuses to let it go to Edouard's descendants without a fight.
Sophie's story is incredibly compelling. The plight of the French town and Sophie herself is brilliantly conveyed by JoJo Moyes, who obviously did her research. Sophie is a strong, determined woman who does what she thinks is necessary in order to be reunited with her husband.
The modern day story is interesting but never as dramatic or emotionally effecting as the other. This is understandable as it is written in the third-person, creating more distance and is essentially about a court case. Still, the intertwining of the two tales is cleverly done, the painting embodying an invisible bond between the two women. The story's resolution is hidden until the very end and is heart-stopping (and even heart-breaking).