The Girl You Left Behind Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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From the New York Times best-selling author of Me Before You, a spellbinding love story of two women separated by a century but united in their determination to fight for what they love most
France, 1916: Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard's portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer's dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything - her family, her reputation, and her life - to see her husband again.
Almost a century later, Sophie's portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is - putting Liv's belief in what is right to the ultimate test.
Like Sarah Blake's The Postmistress and Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah's Key, The Girl You Left Behind is a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with Moyes's signature ability to capture our hearts.
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 29 minutes|
|Narrator||Clare Corbett, Penny Rawlins|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||August 20, 2013|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #6,464 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#56 in Historical Romance (Audible Books & Originals)
#340 in Women's Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#362 in Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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The Germans have taken over the small town of St. Pèrrone in France. It is 1917. World War I. Sophie Lefèvre's beloved husband, Édouard, an artist who studied at the Academie Matisse, has been drawn to the front lines of battle. Before Édouard left, he painted a very seductive portrait of his Sophie. Forced to cook for the German soldiers in her family's hotel Le Cog Rouge, where that painting hangs, Sophie and her portrait gain the attention of Kommandant Hencken. Upon hearing that Édouard is in extreme peril, Sophie risks all to save him.
"15 January 1917
Today they took Sophie Lefèvre. Such a sight you never saw. She was minding her own business down in the cellars of Le Cog Rouge when two Germans came across the square and dragged her up the steps and hauled her out, as if she were a criminal."
It is 2006 and Olivia "Liv" Halston has been mourning the death of her husband, David, for four years. Before his death, David gifted Liv with a painting entitled "The Girl You Left Behind". While visiting Spain, David and Liv gave aid to a woman who was being forced to dispose of all of her Mother's property. This painting was to be discarded. Instead David bought the painting for Liv.
Paul McCafferty, recently divorced, works for a successful company that helps to return precious property to their rightful owners. The family of Éduourd Lefèvre, whose paintings have grown exponentially in their value in the last nearly 100 years, want their painting back~~that portrait of Sophie~~the very one that hangs on the bedroom wall at Liv Halston's home. Liv has grown so attached to that painting that she will fight with all she has, and that is very little, to keep it.
Don't stop now. There's another package to open. I love this part.
Louanne Baker is an American journalist sent to the concentration camp in Dachau in 1945 to write a story about the people held there. While there, Ms. Baker is sent instead to a storage facility that houses the stolen and looted works of art that unrightfully fell into the hands of the Nazis. Somehow, when she leaves, that very same portrait of Sophie, has gone with her.
This one painting has touched so many lives. It has ruined some. It has completed some. To whom does this painting rightfully belong?
When the stories above intertwine throughout time, the result is an amazing tale that will leave you reeling. I am simply amazed at the author's ability to see the bits and pieces of this story in her mind's eye and have it come together. Just like a painter seeing the vision of his painting and coating the layers of paint upon the canvas, Ms. Moyes has layered her stories to create a literary work of art. Brilliant. ✰✰✰✰✰
Needless to say, following that book definitely raised my expectations about her latest, The Girl You Left Behind. And while this book may not have left me an emotional wreck, it, too, was tremendously satisfying, compelling, and overall, a terrific read.
During World War I, Sophie Lefevre is left alone with her sister, her niece and nephew, and her teenage brother when her artist husband, Edouard, goes off to fight. When their French town is taken over by German soldiers, Sophie and her family find their small hotel becomes the place the soldiers eat their dinner each night. While this move creates a great deal of work for Sophie and her sister, Helene, it also gives them a chance to get supplies and other comforts that have been stripped from them since the occupation began, and this causes some resentment and suspicion among their neighbors.
Sophie also catches the attention of the new Kommandant, who appears to be a man conflicted about his role in the war. The Kommandant is also drawn to a painting of Sophie that her husband did shortly after they met. Risking her life and the lives and well-being of her family, as well as her reputation, Sophie decides to leverage the Kommandant's interest to help reunite her with her husband. But the consequences of this request have far-reaching implications.
Fast forward nearly 100 years. The painting of Sophie was given to Liv Halston as a gift from her architect husband, and it remains one of her most treasured possessions after his unexpected death. When a random series of events calls the painting's provenance into question, Liv is forced into fighting to hold onto this keepsake, even as an unpleasant truth is uncovered, and even though the risks of her fighting cost her financially and emotionally.
This is a powerful book about courage, fighting for what you believe in no matter what happens around you and no matter what the consequences, and the power of love. It also is an interesting exploration about the way art and other valuables were seized during the first and second World Wars, which I'd always heard about but never really thought much about.
What I love so much about the way Moyes writes is that she creates complex characters that are more than meets the eye. She's not afraid to give them flaws, to make them slightly unlikeable. She draws you into the plot immediately, and you find yourself hooked, because you need to know how the plot will be resolved. The Girl You Left Behind proves that the appeal and the success of Me Before You wasn't just a fluke, and now I'll need to go back and read some of her earlier novels.
Simply put, Jojo Moyes is an author to add to your reading list if you haven't already, and then you'll find that at least her two most recent books are utterly worth reading.
Top reviews from other countries
The characters of Liliane and the Kommandent, of Sophie and Paul and Liv as well as minor characters are drawn so well, they are totally believable. It's a massive undertaking juggling two worlds, doing justice to history and world war one as well as a modern court case about restitution, and here and there the pace slows a bit but I am impressed how well she holds the reins of all the strands of the story, weaves it all together and comes, at the end of the court case to an interesting outcome. There aren't many writers that could have done it so well. It's a lovely, well written book that held my interest most of the way through. Love her books. Maybe this one, if I had any criticism of it, is perhaps that it's a tad too long. Every time I thought we d got to the end, there was another tangent and then another. It could have ended several times but, like Liv's determination to hang on to the painting no matter what, ( something I wasn't entirely comfortable with or fully understood), it was as if the writer was reluctant to let her characters go A book to linger in the memory though.
The girl you left behind is the second of Jojo's books I have read and so different to the first that I kept forgetting who the author was. From the first chapter and description of the occupation and 'pig baby' I was hooked. I downloaded the kindle app on my phone and read this on cable cars in the Swiss mountains inbetween treks it was that hard to put down.
Although there were aspects of the story I found a little farfetched. Jojo's writting was so descriptive and characters so rich that i struggled to put it down. The 2 story lines worked well together, however I found myself trying to speed up to get to Sophie's sections as I found these to be more engaging. I have now been converted to Jojo's books!