Book Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes + Giveaway

The Girl You Left Behind
Author: Jojo Moyes
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Historical Romance
Released: August 20th 2013
Review Source: Pamela Dorman Books

In the small French town of St. Péronne, Sophie Lefèvre is struggling under the German occupation. It is 1916, and with her husband (and most other men) fighting at the front, she is barely keeping the family restaurant—Le Coq Rouge—afloat under the strict and unforgiving rationing. To combat the pain of a starving belly and despite the fact that it draws unwanted attention to her family, Sophie defiantly keeps the portrait her artist husband painted of her up on the wall. Seeing it transports her back to their lives in Paris—full of good food and joie de vivre. When the painting catches the eye of the new Kommandant, Sophie becomes the object of his obsession. As he spends more time at Le Coq Rouge, Sophie is drawn into a dangerous bargain with the German officer as she tries to protect those she loves the most.

Almost a century later, Liv Halston is living under the shadow of her young husband’s sudden death and a growing debt. She lives in the gorgeous flat he designed for them, but her lack of a steady job means she can no longer afford to keep the show place that should have been her home forever. Her prized possession, given to her by her husband as a wedding present, is the same portrait that hung on Sophie’s wall in 1916. Enter Paul McCafferty; when Liv meets him during a chance encounter, she starts to feel like life may have something in store for her yet. But Paul’s work lies in the restitution of art lost and the spoils of war. In a cruel twist, his next case: the portrait of Sophie that Liv loves most in all the world. For Liv, her belief in what is right will be put to the ultimate test.

I was excited to read and review this book by Jojo Moyes as I was a huge fan of her previous book Me Before You. That story is still so powerfully moving for me that I must say, I started reading this book with a little trepidation for the emotional trip I knew Moyes could take me through. I'm emotionally sound and happy to say that I completed the book unscathed and totally fascinated. The story starts with a descriptive trip back to the early 1900's in the First World War and a love affair unlike many have seen between Sophie and Edouard Lefèvre. Their story is enduring and relevant almost 100 years later.

Still trying to hold on to everything David is coming at a steep price for 32-year-old Liv Halston. A widow of 4 years, Liv has avoided any attempts to find happiness again. She is unprepared when a chance encounter with the chivalrous American ex-cop, Paul McCafferty awakens her desires for male companionship once more. Paul is a divorcee with kind eyes and attentive ways that makes Liv feel like taking a chance on a relationship once more. She is blindsided when Paul turns out to be more than just the man she is falling for. He is also the director of Trace and Return Partnership (aka TARP) and has been hired to make restitution of the painting The Girl You Left Behind. That painting, which was bought for Liv on her honeymoon by David, has hung in her bedroom for years. She is deeply connected to the painting and not relinquishing ownership without a fight. Is this Lefèvre painting really stolen artwork from World War I? Liv sets out to prove her rightful ownership of the notable painting at the same time finding the story behind the painting just may save her too.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. It was a splendid mix of historical romance meets modern day romance with a European setting. I appreciate unpredictable clever stories with a well-concluded ending. Moyes is quickly turning out to be one of my new favorite authors.

Read Wendy's review of Me Before You

In celebration of The Girl You Left Behind Release Day today. We are giving away a copy of The Girl You Left Behind and Jojo Moyes New York Times best-selling book Me Before You. Please read the terms and conditions in the rafflecopter box before entering. Good Luck!

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