Review: The Girl You Left Behind

The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes
Penguin Group, August 2013

Description (from the book jacket): 

France, 1916: Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard’s portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer’s dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything—her family, her reputation, and her life—to see her husband again.

Almost a century later, Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the painting’s true worth, and a battle begins over its troubled history. Was the painting looted during the war? Who is to pay retribution? And who is the true owner now? As the layers of the painting’s dark past are revealed, Liv’s life is turned upside down all over again. And her belief in what is right to the ultimate test…

My Review 4 Stars

The author, JoJo Moyes does not pull any punches, giving the reader a sense of the ravages of war, in her novel The Girl You Left Behind.  At times, this was an emotional read.Edouard Lefevre’s art work, “The Girl You Left Behind”, is central to this story, both in the past and the present. It is a beautiful painting of his wife, Sophie.

In the past (1916), during WWI,  Sophie was left behind by her husband, who went to war.  The Kommandant of the Germans who are occupying Sophie’s small village in France (St. Peronne) becomes enamoured with Sophie and the painting.  In the present (London, 2006), Liv Halston was left behind by her husband who died young.  He had given her the painting as a wedding gift.  True ownership and the provenance of painting comes into question.

The Girl You Left Behind is a riveting story of the extent each women will go to for the sake of love.

JoJo Moyes is a very talented writer.  This is the second book I’ve read by her.  Click here to see my review of  Me Before You.
Note: The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes is the October Book Club Selection for She Reads.  You can go to She Reads’ October Book Club Selection to find links to additional reviews on this book and to enter their giveaway contest for this book and others by JoJo Moyes.  I would like to thank the She Reads Organization and the publisher, Penguin Group, for providing me with this book, free of charge, for review.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from the publisher, Penguin Group, as a member of the She Reads Network.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.


  1. I finally picked up Me Before You after hearing all the positive buzz about it, and now this book seems to be touted as just as good. Thank you for sharing this; I will definitely want to read this soon.


  2. I haven’t seen a bad review for anything by JoJo Moyes! Me Before You is waiting in my audio pile, but I’m going to go ahead and add this to my wish list.


  3. I remember reading about the conflicts over ownership of looted artwork from the war. Thought provoking novel it sounds like. I’d like to take a read…


  4. After reading so many great reviews for this book, I must get my hands on it and read it. I haven’t read this author yet but am excited to give her a try. My dilemma is which book to read first?


Comments are closed.