Book Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

It’s been a while since I have done my last review so I am excited to share my review of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.

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Summery: Paris, World War I. Sophie Lefèvre must keep her family safe while her adored husband, Édouard, fights at the front. When their town falls to the Germans, Sophie is forced to serve them every evening at her hotel. From the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie’s portrait—painted by her artist husband—a dangerous obsession is born.

Almost a century later in London, Sophie’s portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before his sudden death. After a chance encounter reveals the portrait’s true worth, a battle begins over its troubled history and Liv’s world is turned upside all over again.
 
Review: I really enjoyed this book. The story was really interesting and I liked how the two story lines connected through the portrait of Sophie.
Of the two story lines I have to say that I preferred Sophie/World War One storyline over Liv’s. That is probably because I liked Sophie more and thought she was a more interesting character then Liv. She carries on with her life even through the hardships of the German occupation of her town and she is willing to do anything to protect her family. On the other hand Liv has seemed to shut down completely after the death of her husband. While Sophie is willing to give up the portrait in order to save her husband Liv, selfishly, refuses to give it up.
The one thing that I like the most was Sophie’s portrait, The Girl You Left Behind, that was painted by her husband, Edouard, before their marriage. I really wish that someone from the art department had painted it and used it as the cover for the book. I liked how for Sophie it represented the girl she was before the war and for Liv it represented her marriage to David.
One thing that bugged me was the ending to Liv’s story seemed very contrived and I really wish it had had a more realistic ending. The notion that Paul only discovered Edith at the very end of the trial seemed too convenient and just plain unrealistic.
 
Best Feature: Sophie. Of the two main characters I have to say Sophie was my favorite. Out of the two female characters Sophie was the strongest. She carried on with her life despite the German occupation and was willing to give up the portrait to save Edouard.
 
Worst Feature: Modern storyline. The only thing I liked about the modern story line was that it brought up the question of ownership of items stolen during wartime. I didn’t like the character of Liv and felt that the World War One storyline held it’s own without having a second story running parallel. Plus the ending of this storyline was too contrived for me.
 
Overview: Overall I thought this was a great book. While I didn’t particularly like the modern storyline or Liv I think that Sophie’s storyline definitely made up for it.

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