Publication Date: September 27th 2012.
My rating: 5 stars.
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 first met these set of characters when I read a mini story from them in Paris For One and other stories and honestly all I wanted was more from them straight away. Thank goodness when Ksenia told me that they had their own full story in The Girl You Left Behind. Whereas I did find myself more absorbed by Liv’s side of things in Honeymoon in Paris, things couldn’t have been more different with this book. I loved Sophie’s part of the story, only a handful of historical fiction stories have swept me away with their wonderful story building and I’m pleased to say that this was exactly the case here when we were given Sophie’s story in 1916. Sophie was such a tough character, with the war going on and the Germans occupying her town, she still held her own, people were quick to talk and make judgements, but I fully back the decisions that Sophie made, some may say that she put her trust too much in people, but really throughout it I wanted Sophie to get her happy ending what she rightly deserved. At times I honestly felt like this wasn’t going to happen, with everything stacking up against her and with the sprinkling of her story that we were given throughout the book. I’m not going to say how things did end for Sophie, but her story was one which utterly moved me, she was a resilient character that easily won over my heart.
In Honeymoon in Paris I was utterly baffled, as I’d assumed that Liv and Sophie’s stories were completely separate. But once I understood, I loved how Moyes had weaved them together. In The Girl You Left Behind Moyes goes into more depth about the connection between Sophie and Liv. And because Liv and Sophie had been through so much, (right at the beginning when we met Liv, I felt like I’d been sucker-punched in the stomach). Their stories were really hard to take in at times, so many times I’d believed that things would be going right for them, but only or something else to come and put a dampener in their plans. My heart truly went out to Liv, she really did have it all to deal with, but I loved her perseverance or fighting for what she believed in despite nearly everyone going against her and the likelihood of her losing everything she had in the process. I also adored the support she found along the way in the most unexpected of places. The relationship that emerged in this story although tinged with sadness, hope, reluctance and a lot of trust issues, I just knew in my heart that it had a way of working itself out.
Liv and Sophie’s stories couldn’t have been anymore different, but the way Moyes linked the stories together was majestically done. The Girl You Left Behind was just a story that was beautifully written, it really was a story full with a lot of heartache, and I did find myself nearly a sobbing mess at times. But it’s a story that really resonated with me and one which I won’t forget for a long time.