The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

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Jojo Moyes returns from last year’s wonderful novel, “Me Before You,’’ with another great love story.

“The Girl You Left Behind’’ is the name of a soulful painting that links two women separated by almost a century.  The mesmerizing painting is of French woman Sophie Lefevre, painted by her impressionist-artist husband, Edouard. When Edouard goes to the Front in World War I to fight the Germans, Sophie stays behind at her family’s hotel, which becomes occupied by German soldiers.  A new Kommandant arrives in 1916 and becomes enamored of Sophie and her portrait. Desperate to see her beloved husband one more time, Sophie decides to jeopardize her reputation and life.

Almost 100 years later, we meet Liv Halston, who still is grieving the sudden death of her husband four years ago. Liv, who is having trouble moving on, finds solace in “The Girl You Left Behind’’, which her husband gave to her as a gift on their honeymoon.  But when her ownership of the painting comes into question, she decides to fight to keep the portrait of Sophie at great cost. 

Moyes does a nice job telling the dual stories, and always knows how to pull at the reader’s heartstrings. Although “The Girl You Left Behind’’ (publication date of August 20) isn’t quite as good as “Me Before You’’, it still is a terrific read and I highly recommend it.

--Jo Hansen,


Jo Hansen has been a Readers’ Advisor at Cook Library for several years, after a 20-year career as a newspaper journalist. Libraries rock! She especially enjoys literary and historical fiction as well as mysteries and fantasy. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she enjoys playing with her chocolate Labrador Yogi Bear and watching great movies.