debuts of the month join us on facebook
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You Left Behind

Family Drama   Books of the Month   Historical Fiction   Reading Groups   Romantic Fiction   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Relationship Tales Facebook group Share this book

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

October 2012 Book of the Month.

The Girl You Left Behind is the title of a painting which is at the centre of this dual-time novel of World War I and the present. Painted by a young French soldier for his wife, it is her most treasured possession but it catches the attention of the occupying German Kommandant. Today that same painting is also the most treasured possession of a young English wife, having been a present from her recently deceased husband. Both women feel a link to their men through the painting and both have heart-breaking times beautifully portrayed by this very fine author, whom I have backed from the start. She's lovely.

A few Lovereading members have been lucky enough to read this novel and have written reviews for us. Scroll down to see what they think...

As you can see here at Lovereading we’re huge fans of Jojo but why not also check out what some of our readers thought about her earlier novel, Me Before You.

A 'piece of passion' from the publisher...

'When I first read Me Before You I knew it was a very special book. A story that makes you fall in love, makes you sob your heart out and changes your view of the world is a powerful and beautiful story indeed, and that’s exactly why I loved this novel so much. When a book stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it, you know it is a real gem and Jojo Moyes has done it again – to our delight she has given us another precious gem in her new novel The Girl You Left Behind. I have once more fallen in love, sobbed my heart out and looked at the world in a new way. From occupied France during WWI to modern day London, this book swept me away. The Girl You Left Behind is a beautifully written, heartbreaking and utterly stunning novel and I hope you will love it as much as I do.'

If you like Jojo Moyes you might also like to read books by David Vann, Rosamunde Pilcher and Rosamund Lupton.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

The Girl You Left Behind is a hauntingly romantic and utterly irresistible new weepy from Jojo Moyes, author of the Richard and Judy bestseller, Me Before You.

What happened to the girl you left behind? France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre must keep her family safe whilst her adored husband Edouard fights at the front. When she is ordered to serve the German officers who descend on her hotel each evening, her home becomes riven by fierce tensions. And from the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born, which will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision. Almost a century later, and Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before he died. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth, and its troubled history. A history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down all over again...In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for what they love most - whatever the cost.


In August 2012 Lovereading asked members and browsers whether they would like to review this title for us. A few lucky readers were selected to do so and below you can find out what they thought:

'The Girl You Left Behind is a stunning, passionate and moving novel from the author of the brilliant novel, Me Before You. Book Rating: 5/5' - Kay Anon - Click here to read the full review.

'A wonderfully written book that will take your breath away and have you sobbing. A passionate and poignant book that I literally could not put down.' - J B Johnston - Click here to read the full review.

'What a wonderful book, heartbreaking, emotional and gripping read. Jojo has again written a book that will have you staying up until the early hours as you just have to see what happens next...A brilliant book and one not to be missed.' - Louise Graham - Click here to read the full review.

'Addictive, bittersweet, poignant and intensely moving are just some of the words that I would use to describe this novel by Jo Jo Moyes which I could not put down. Having read other works by the same author, this book does definitely not disappoint and is a must for both established and new fans.' - Elisabeth Thomas - Click here to read the full review.

The Girl You Left Behind in my view is Jojo Moyes greatest work to date. The novel is a marvel and will leave the hardest of hearts touched and moved by its tale.' - Megan Olwen Williams - Click here to read the full review.

'Jojo Moyes excels at creating characters that are prone to flaws but are unerringly likeable. None of them are perfect, their relationships aren’t perfect, but there’s so much love between them that it’s hard not to feel drawn to them. I came away from ‘The Girl You Left Behind’ feeling utterly charmed.' - Kym Nicholls - Click here to read the full review.

'An absolutely fabulous read, one of the best books I’ve ever read...A heart-stopper, tear jerker and court room drama, all in all a very satisfying read.' - Kath Thornton - Click here to read the full review.

'The Girl You Left Behind is another can't-put-it-down read from Jojo Moyes. I was very quickly immersed in Sophie's story...' - Sarah Bedwell - Click here to read the full review.

'After reading and enjoying Me Before You by the same author, I was eager to read this new book by her and was hoping for another great novel. I wasn’t disappointed. It was a very different story, but very ‘entertaining’ nevertheless.' - Sally Doel - Click here to read the full review.

'This is another book from Jojo Moyes that is difficult to put down! The story centres around a painting, The Girl You Left Behind, and the two women that are caught by it’s beauty...' - Kathy Howell - Click here to read the full review.

'I absolutely loved it. Jojo Moyes provides another brilliant story, great characters and a magical knack of writing little phrases, which seem to ‘hit the spot’ and you can really identify with. It is so compelling that I found myself reading it at 5 o’clock one morning.' - Kath Martin

'Jo Jo Moyes remains one of my favourite authors and this is a beautifully spun novel with fascinating, absorbing themes...' - Nicola Foster - Click here to read the full review.

'This is a really gripping story over two periods in history, and tells the stories of two women, Sophie Lefevre in France in 1914, and Liv Halston in 2006 in London.' - Dawn Shaw - Click here to read the full review.

'The Girl You Left Behind is a testament to the enduring spirit of two young women, both coping with very different conflicts whilst trying to honour their husbands. It is a wonderful book, every bit as powerful and touching as Me Before You but very different; Jojo Moyes is clearly finding herself a niche writing about subjects which would usually be harrowing but in an accessible way.' - Emily Wright - Click here to read the full review.

'In this dual-time narrative it is the chapters set in WW1 that I found to be the most interesting.' - Marie Fitzgerald - Click here to read the full review.

I liked this novel even more than Me Before You. I found this a captivating story, complete with much intrigue, secrets, tension and romance - Lindsay Healy - Click here to read the full review.


Praise for Jojo Moyes:

'Destined to be the novel that friends press upon each other more than any other...Moyes does a majestic job of conjuring a cast of characters who are charismatic, credible and utterly compelling.' Independent on Sunday

'This truly beautiful story made us laugh, smile and sob like a baby.' Closer

About the Author

Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes was our Guest Editor in March 2014 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing.

Jojo Moyes is a novelist and a journalist. She worked at the Independent for ten years before leaving to write full time. Her previous novels have all been critically acclaimed and include Me Before You, The Girl You Left Behind, The Ship of Brides, Foreign Fruit, and The Last Letter from Your Lover. She lives in Essex with her husband and their three children.

Me Before You was 2012’s greatest love story – it was Spring 2012’s most popular Richard & Judy pick that went on to be nominated for book of the year at the Galaxy Book Awards. Excitingly, it has since been optioned by MGM and Jojo has been writing the script this summer.

Jojo has spent much of 2013 touring the US and this summer Me Before You went straight in on The New York Times bestseller Top Ten chart. In the UK, appearances this year so far include World Book Night, Hay Literary Festival, The Bookseller Industry Awards and the Orange Women’s Prize.

Her latest novel The One Plus One is in the same vein of Me Before You – an unconventional love story with a dilemma at its heart. It has a cast of wonderful characters and show that family comes in all forms and that through hard work and optimism, your happy ending might come true after all.

Author photo © Stine Heilmann

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

27th September 2012


Jojo Moyes

More books by Jojo Moyes
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...
Loading twitter updates...


Penguin Books Ltd


560 pages


Family Drama
Books of the Month
Historical Fiction
Reading Groups
Romantic Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark

I love Lovereading because I get to read great books and then get to tell everybody how good they are.

Sally Doel

Lovereading helps me decide what real people read.

Kerry Bridges

Ever purchased a book, read a few pages & thought I'm not going to enjoy this? Honest book reviews mean you'll never have that problem again

Jill Peters

They are bright, breezy and eager to offer a great book, then genuinely listen/respect the review one writes.

Maggie Crane

It gives a chance to read about new titles, invites comments from all kinds of readers and is run by such a nice bunch of book lovers.

Joy Bosworth

Because of Lovereading I have broadened my reading horizons with some really great books that I probably would never have chosen myself.

Susan Walsh

Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker