Friday, October 18, 2013

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

In 1916, in the occupied French town of St. Peronne, Sophie runs a cafe with her sister, Helene, and longs to once again see her husband, Edouard--now at war.  He painted a portrait of Sophie when they married and, despite the risk of losing the painting to the Germans, she hangs it on the wall.  As the story progresses, the reader wonders if the artwork might enable Sophie to see Edouard again. Jump to contemporary London, where Liv resides in a glass house that her architect husband, David, designed. She cannot put his death several years ago behind her.  Her strongest connection to him is the painting that he bought for her, entitled The Girl You Left Behind, hanging on her bedroom wall. When Liv learns that the painting might have been stolen and may not be rightfully hers, she cannot help but fight to keep it.  She also finds herself delving into Sophie's life and is compelled to protect Sophie's memory. The situation is complicated by the fact that the lead investigator in the effort to return the painting to the artist's family is Paul, the man she's recently fallen in love with. Will Liv and Paul be able to find happiness amid all the unpleasantness of the painting's history and Sophie's emerging story?  The Girl You Left Behind combines an intriguing backstory with Sophie's World War I tale and a contemporary romance with Liv and Paul.  For readers who enjoy Maeve Binchy and Katie Fforde.

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