Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Moyes's (Me Before You) latest features two interconnected love stories, one set during World War I and the other in the present. Sophie is left alone in occupied France while her husband, artist Edouard Lefevre, fights. Her great comfort is her family and her portrait painted by Edouard. Unfortunately, the painting sparks a German officer's interest in Sophie, with dire consequences. Fast-forward to Liv Halston, whose husband gave her the painting, which is now called "The Girl You Left Behind," shortly before his sudden death. The painting has great sentimental value, and when she is challenged by a company that repatriates looted art, Liv hangs on for dear life. Presenting the characters with crisp diction and flawless accents, narrators Penelope Rawlins and Clare Corbett are a joy. VERDICT Two beautiful love stories examine deep questions of ownership, love, and justice. Recommended. ["Liv and Sophie are so real in their faults, passion, and bravery that the reader is swept along right to the end. This one is hard to put down!," read the starred review of the Pamela Dorman: Viking hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 6/28/13.]-Judy Murray, Monroe Cty. Lib. Syst., Temperance, MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Moyes's enchanting latest (after Me Before You) entwines two love stories set 90 years apart, connected by a painting called The Girl You Left Behind. In 1916, 22-year-old Sophie Lefevre struggles against a new German commandant in her occupied village in northern France. Trying to keep her family safe and their restaurant open while her and her sister's husbands are away, Sophie makes greater and greater sacrifices as her living conditions grow more spartan. But when things reach their lowest, she must decide whether to gamble everything on the German commandant's powerful fascination with her husband's portrait of her. Jumping ahead to London in 2006, the story turns to 32-year-old Liv Halston, whose architect husband David bought Sophie's painting for Liv shortly before he died in an accident. Still deep in the throes of grief four years after his death, Liv now faces eviction from the beautiful, heavily taxed house he built. But an unlikely reunion with a former classmate and the unexpected entrance of a new man, Paul, into Liv's life make her feel better than she has since David died-until a restitution company tries to claim The Girl You Left Behind. An unfortunate coincidence twists the knife deeper, and Liv is forced to fight tooth and nail for what she has come to love most in the world. Lovely and wry, Moyes's newest is captivating and bittersweet. (Aug. 20) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Moyes (Me before You, 2012) writes with such clarity that one can almost see the eponymous 100-year-old painting at the center of her wonderful new novel. Also crystal clear are the emotions that protagonist Liv Halston attaches to the portrait. Gifted to Liv by her late husband, David, in celebration of their wedding, The Girl You Left Behind becomes a personal icon, embodying all that was good about their brief marriage. What is less clear is the painting's provenance and who has the right to assert ownership. Will Liv's notion of ownership unravel when the artist's heirs sue to reclaim what they call ill-gotten goods, seemingly misappropriated by German soldiers during WWI? Did the artist's wife the subject of the portrait give or sell it? Can anyone establish a clear trail of legitimate ownership? Does emotional attachment to a work of art have cash value? Can love ever trump greed? At its heart, such questions, thrumming in the background, add depth to what is an uncommonly good love story.--Chavez, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
The newest novel by Moyes (Me Before You, 2012, etc.) shares its title with a fictional painting that serves as catalyst in linking two loves stories, one set in occupied France during World War I, the other in 21st-century London. In a French village in 1916, Sophie is helping the family while her husband, douard, an artist who studied with Matisse, is off fighting. Sophie's pluck in standing up to the new German kommandant in the village draws his interest. An art lover, he also notices douard's portrait of Sophie, which captures her essence (and douard's adoration). Arranging to dine regularly at Sophie's inn with his men, he begins a cat-and-mouse courtship. She resists. But learning that douard is being held in a particularly harsh "reprisal" camp, she must decide what she will sacrifice for douard's freedom. The rich portrayals of Sophie, her family and neighbors hauntingly capture wartime's gray morality. Cut to 2006 and a different moral puzzle. Thirty-two-year-old widow Liv has been struggling financially and emotionally since her husband David's sudden death. She meets Paul in a bar after her purse is stolen. The divorced father is the first man she's been drawn to since she was widowed. They spend a glorious night together, but after noticing douard's portrait of Sophie on Liv's wall, he rushes away with no explanation. In fact, Paul is as smitten as Liv, but his career is finding and returning stolen art to the rightful owners. Usually the artwork was confiscated by Germans during World War II, not WWI, but douard's descendants recently hired him to find this very painting. Liv is not about to part with it; David bought it on their honeymoon because the portrait reminded him of Liv. In love, Liv and Paul soon find themselves on opposite sides of a legal battle. While Liv's more pedestrian story is less romantic than Sophie's and far less nuanced, Moyes is a born storyteller who makes it impossible not to care about her heroines.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.