The Girl You Left Behind
By Jo Jo Moyes
I read The Girl You Left Behind for our book club. I was unable to attend. So, I can't tell you what was discussed. But, I can tell you that everyone enjoyed reading.
This is the first novel I read by this author. I have heard wonderful things about her. My expectations were very high coming into this book. I wanted to love this book. I love modern historical fiction, especially WW1-WW2 era.
Sophie Lefeve is left running her restaurant, Le Coq Rouge. While her husband Edwourd, a painter is on the frontlines. The Germans have over run her town, Perrone. The Kommandant orders her that she must feed his soldiers each Monday evening. She has no choice but to do what he asks. She gets along with the Germans which turns the stomach of the townspeople. They think she is collerborating with the enemy and they turn against her.
While in his company at the restaurant he admires the self portrait that Sophie's husband, a painter has done. Shr remembers how much the Kommandant admired the painting. She gets in her head if she can trade the painting for her husband life, not all will be lost. She travels to the camp of the Germans to influence him to release her husband. But all doesn't go as planned. After she leaves, later on she is taken prisoner. The townspeople and her family turn a blind eye to Sophie. They don't want anything to do with her.
Now turn the clock forward to modern day England, 2006. Liv, a young widow has lost her husband. All she has left is a painting that her husband bought for her in Spain on their honeymoon. She falls for a man that she doesn't know works for investigation team recovering lost, and stolen art during the war.He finds out she has the artwork he has been trying to locate for a family.
The parallell narrative was interesting how it played out. Both of them were strong women characters when they had to. Sophie though, was the champion. She fought tooth and nail for what she believed in. It was interesting to learn about the lost, and stolen artwork that was stolen during WW2. What families did to get their families heirlooms back. What happened to Sophie and her husband, Edwourd. theThe other players, that were involved with the Girl You Left Behind. How it went from different hands, and how it eventually ended up with Liv, and her husband.
For a superficial story it has some depth. But, the story was drawn out a little bit too long for my taste. I will still read her previous novel that I have been hearing about.