Title: The Girl You Left Behind
What happened to the girl you left behind?
In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.
Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened…
In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most – whatever the cost.
I have to say that I loved Moyes’ Me Before You whole heartedly. I loved the story, loved the heart breaking ending, loved Lou and how she rose above her family. Because I loved that book so much I made a mistake of not really paying attention to what The Girl You Left Behind was about before picking it up. I wanted to love it, I really did. I was not expecting to start the book in WWI France. I really like historical fiction-I just wasn’t looking for it when I picked this up. I did think the first portion of the book was very good. I liked Sophie, and I tried to understand the choices that she made. She was very brave! I think I almost would have been happier had Sophie’s story ended at the first section of the book. Knowing the ending that sounds kind of heartless, but maybe I’m a cynic? I just can’t believe her story would have ended the way it did. I’m all for feel good endings, but this was just too unrealistic in my mind.
I really was not happy with Liv’s story at first. She seemed to be too unbelievable a character to me. She was so weak and determined to be unhappy. I liked Paul and liked how he and Liv fit together but all the coincidences were just too much for me. The battle just dragged on for too long. I did enjoy the secondary characters like Mo and I was really happy learning the journey of the painting in the end. I don’t know why that was more believable to me and so more enjoyable than Sophie’s story on her own.
I do think this is a book worth reading, and probably a good book club discussion book. Could you face Sophie’s choices? Or even Liv’s choices about her painting, her house and her love life? Maybe I can make Holly read this just to talk about it!
Rating: 2 Stars