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Summary

France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre is ordered to serve the German officers who socialise in her hotel. When the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by her husband Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born. Almost a century later, Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth - and its troubled history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down….

©2012 Jojo Moyes (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,122
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    395
  • 3 Stars
    91
  • 2 Stars
    34
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    20

Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Spellbinding - I loved it

I got drawn into this book very quickly. It was extremely well read, particularly the character of Sophie was extremly well portrayed. A brilliant storyline that starts during the 1st world war, in an occupied town in northern France. A german officer becomes obsessed with the beautiful Sophie, whose portrait hangs in the restaurant that she runs with her sister. The danger and perils and tragedy of war make for a great storyline in themselves, but abruptly (on a cliffhanger) the story changes to modern day England. The portrait has survived 100 years, and has a new owner, with an equally compelling and engaging story. There is humour and romance in the modern setting, to lighten the mood after the increasingly tense 1st world war section. Gradually the two stories are told side by side. I was intially desperate to find out what happened to Sophie and the author managed the suspense beautifully. The ending was brilliantly thought out and tied up all the loose ends. Jojo Moyes writes exceptionally engaging books that always end the way they should. In my opinion this book is better written than The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, and much more engaging. My only complaint is that I could not stop listening, and I am now extremely tired having stayed up half the night listening to get to the end on my ipod.

37 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathleen
  • Hamilton, United Kingdom
  • 29-11-12

The Girl you left behind

I have just finished this audio book and it will stay with me foe a very long time an absorbing book played out between occupied France in 1917 and London today. I must mention the narrators who were fantastic, I will miss it.

Kathleen Hamilton

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dobsew
  • Colchester, United Kingdom
  • 13-04-13

Past and present day entwined

This is a story of long lost love, finding out the truth from going back in to history and standing up for what you believe in.



This book is everything that you would expect from Ms. Moyes, it is well written and with many likeable characters, a very good read. I loved how the book was split between the past and current day and how one painting connects that two together.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robyn
  • attached to my headphones
  • 09-09-17

Both beautiful and emotional

Ultimately a love story, but an emotionally charged and full journey too.

This is one of those books that I got sucked into very quickly, and then couldn't put down. It's beautifully crafted and past and present carefully woven together.

Narration is perfectly suited. In short, a good one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nicola
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 13-11-12

Outstanding. If I could I would give this 10 stars

Having read 'Me before You' (another must-read) I couldn't wait for the arrival of Jojo Moyes next book 'The Girl You Left Behind'. It was lovely to be able to read her prequel novella 'Honeymoon in Paris' which takes place a few years before the main story. 'The Girl you left behind' is full of romance, intrigue and is at times heartbreaking and thought provoking. It flows beautifully between the main characters, Sophie and Liv, a century between their lives, without losing the thread whatsoever.

I worry sometimes that the voice of the Narrator may let a book down but I can't think that anyone could have done a better job than these two females who made an outstanding book into an outstanding listen. Not easily done and I would think Jojo Moyes is overjoyed with the result.

I have now read/listened to all of her books and can only say she just gets better and better.

I am about to start it all over again. Thoroughly recommended. Thank you so much Jojo.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Suzanne
  • Co Dublin, Ireland
  • 16-10-12

Wonderful

Having read 'Me before you' i couldn't wait to read another JoJo Moyes book. This is a wonderful book and I can't wait to recommend this book to my friends. Once i started listening i couldn't wait to get back to it - i looked for every excuse to plug in my earphones.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Dear god....thankfully it's over!

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Probably ANYONE would enjoy it more than I did.....It is the first time I have listened to an audible book and truly WISHED I had READ it instead. I liked the novel itself...but the artistic decision to read half the novel in a cod french accent and throw a few terrible American man-voices into the other half was an AWFUL one. we KNOW it was set in France, we know, therefore, that the characters might very well be French...please stop distracting us from the story by sounding like 'ALLO 'ALLO.

What didn’t you like about Clare Corbett and Penelope Rawlins ’s performance?

the bloody awful characterisations...from BOTH the actresses were almost more than i could bear. it was only bloody-mindedness that kept me going to the end. the french accents were the worst, but only just less bad were the American male characters. Never again!

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Extreme disappointment.

Any additional comments?

Yes. Can I have my credit back?!....Sorry Ms Moyes....it was a really a good story till it got "audibled"

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Moving, memorable and thought-provoking

Part One of the book is a compelling story of German occupied France during the First World War and the complicated relationship between the proprietress of an hotel, Sophie, and the German commandant who, though ruthless, shows a a softer side to her. He is strongly drawn to a portrait of her by her husband who is away at war. The descriptions of the vicissitudes of life during the occupation are vividly described, to which the moral dilemma of what a wife would do to save her husband adds extra poignancy. Sophie’s life story is very moving and left a deep impression.

In the second part, set in 2006, the painting reappears now owned by Liv the widow of an architect who bought it for her as a wedding present four years earlier. This part is quite different from the first involving a court case over who owns the portrait: the family of the artist, who believe it was stolen by the Germans, or Liv whose husband bought it in good faith. It’s a pacy court-room drama complicated by a love affair between Liv and an ex-NY cop who works for a company searching for stolen art. As the case progresses flash-backs to WW1 are inserted to gradually reveal the true provenance of the painting. Liv’s story is more fanciful than Sophie’s but not as grim. Some light relief is provided by Mo, a Goth, who ends up living briefly in Liv’s flat.

Like the author’s earlier book, You before Me, the present book doesn’t describe saccharine-sweet love stories, but is a more complex exploration of relationships and the moral dilemmas they can pose.

I was swept along by both parts of the book and eager to learn the fates of the characters who came to life as their stories unfolded. A memorable book that I was sorry to finish.

At first I found the use of English spoken in strong foreign accents a bit difficult to comprehend but gradually adjusted and appreciated that it helped identify the different characters and nationalities. The narrators do an amirable job of dramatizing the conversations.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent listen

What a little gem this one was!

The story is great, the narration is superb and I've not been able to stop listening since I started it. Amazing!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kaggy
  • United Kingdom
  • 22-03-14

Storytelling at its best

I just finished listening to this book after allowing it to languish in my library for far too long. I think I was worried that this might suffer in comparison to Jojo's other excellent story 'Me Before You'. I was of course completely wrong. This is a poignant story of two women left to cope with their lives after being parted from the men they love. Sophie's story set in occupied France during the First World War is is a tragic tale of a good person being set upon by an enemy who is not always obvious. The momentum of her story is maintained throughout the book and I felt almost breathless when it reached its conclusion. Liv, the modern woman, sufferers some horrible injustices and I was rooting for her right to the end. It is really clever the way the author has managed to interweave two completely different lives and despite the subject matter I left the story feeling completely uplifted.

The two narrators are brilliant and conveyed the characters convincingly. If you want to listen to something that will keep you completely enthralled for over 14 hours this is the story for you.

Before this book I listened to the Honeymoon in Paris prequel. Whilst it was not essential to this story it was a nice introduction to the main characters and gave a little bit of insight into the two main relationships.




7 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Penny
  • 27-06-18

French narrator difficult to follow

Loved the story but found that the French narrator was very difficult for me to follow.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-03-18

Don’t like the French accent narration

I didn’t like the French accent narration. Or at it would have been restricted to the dialogs!
Besides, the Kindle text doesn’t synchronize with the audible narration (as almost allways do).
I was disappointed.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • rosaria
  • 03-03-18

accento troppo frances

mi è piaciuta la storia, ma ho fatto fatica a,finirlo per l'accento troppo francese. Non lo ascolteremo di nuovo è nn lo consiglierei a nessuno

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Aimee
  • 05-06-14

The Girl you left behind

Who was your favorite character and why?

I loved Mo, she was an interesting character and I wish there was a little more of her

What about Clare Corbett and Penelope Rawlins ’s performance did you like?

The narration was great by both ladies

If you could take any character from The Girl You Left Behind out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Mo, she seems like a lot of fun

Any additional comments?

I found this book a little slow at the beginning, I struggled with it for maybe the first hour. But after that I really started to enjoy the story. Overall I really enjoyed it!!