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The Girl You Left Behind (REVIEW)

the girl you left behind, jojo moyes, book review, book club
the girl you left behind, jojo moyes, book review, book club

What do a French woman living in a village occupied by Germans during World War I and a young widow in present-day London have in common? The answer is a painting called The Girl You Left Behind.

The work of art, by Edouard Lefevre, is of his beautiful wife Sophie and is one of the few things she has left of him when he goes off to fight in the war.

The painting attracts the unwanted attention of the German kommandant whose troops have taken over the village, and triggers a devastating series of events. Fast forward nearly 100 years and The Girl You Left Behind is now hanging in the bedroom of Liv Halston, a honeymoon gift from her husband David. It has been a source of comfort in the years since his death, but just when it seems she might finally have a second shot at love, the painting looks set to ruin her chances of happiness.

Told from both Sophie and Liv’s points of view, The Girl You Left Behind comes hot on the heels of Jojo Moyes’ bestselling Me Before You. That stunning story of love and loss was always going to be tough to follow; but despite being completely different from its predecessor, this is still a real page-turner.

Both Sophie and Liv make endearing heroines, although it would have been good to get a little more of Sophie’s story – the historical details are gripping. Jojo’s characters are all thoroughly three-dimensional so you end up caring about them, and the plot cracks along at a fair pace.

While it doesn’t tug on the emotions the way her last book did, this is still an engrossing read from a talented writer.

The Girl You Left Behind

Jojo Moyes

Penguin Books

$35

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