From the first chapter, I loved The Girl You Left Behind. In a small town in occupied France during World War I, Sophie struggled to keep her spirits up when the hotel she ran with her sister and brother was taken over by Germans. She begrudgingly cooked dinner for the soldiers each night, even though her husband was fighting with the resistance and the townspeople began to see her as a sympathizer. Through glances at the portrait her husband painted of her, Sophie retained hope she would reunite with him, but her life was in danger when the Kommandant took a liking to both the portrait and Sophie.
In the present, the same portrait provided strength to Liv, who attempted to move on after the death of her husband. Although Liv was desperately in need of money, she refused to sell the portrait her husband gave her as a wedding present. The lives of the two women converged once a claim was made that the painting was stolen during wartime, and the descendents of the original owner wanted it returned. I was captivated by the book as a whole, which was both dark and hopeful. The motivations of each character were thoughtful and made with purpose, two things that added legitimacy to the events that occurred. Through the strong writing, the author examined love, loss, and determination in ways that showcased each heroine.
I was really entertained with this novel, and look forward to reading more by Ms. Moyes.