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Booklist Reviews 2013 July #1
Moyes (Me before You, 2012) writes with such clarity that one can almost see the eponymous 100-year-old painting at the center of her wonderful new novel. Also crystal clear are the emotions that protagonist Liv Halston attaches to the portrait. Gifted to Liv by her late husband, David, in celebration of their wedding, The Girl You Left Behind becomes a personal icon, embodying all that was good about their brief marriage. What is less clear is the painting's provenance and who has the right to assert ownership. Will Liv's notion of ownership unravel when the artist's heirs sue to reclaim what they call ill-gotten goods, seemingly misappropriated by German soldiers during WWI? Did the artist's wife—the subject of the portrait—give or sell it? Can anyone establish a clear trail of legitimate ownership? Does emotional attachment to a work of art have cash value? Can love ever trump greed? At its heart, such questions, thrumming in the background, add depth to what is an uncommonly good love story. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2013 July #1
Moyes's enchanting latest (after Me Before You) entwines two love stories set 90 years apart, connected by a painting called The Girl You Left Behind. In 1916, 22-year-old Sophie Lefèvre struggles against a new German commandant in her occupied village in northern France. Trying to keep her family safe and their restaurant open while her and her sister's husbands are away, Sophie makes greater and greater sacrifices as her living conditions grow more spartan. But when things reach their lowest, she must decide whether to gamble everything on the German commandant's powerful fascination with her husband's portrait of her. Jumping ahead to London in 2006, the story turns to 32-year-old Liv Halston, whose architect husband David bought Sophie's painting for Liv shortly before he died in an accident. Still deep in the throes of grief four years after his death, Liv now faces eviction from the beautiful, heavily taxed house he built. But an unlikely reunion with a former classmate and the unexpected entrance of a new man, Paul, into Liv's life make her feel better than she has since David died—until a restitution company tries to claim The Girl You Left Behind. An unfortunate coincidence twists the knife deeper, and Liv is forced to fight tooth and nail for what she has come to love most in the world. Lovely and wry, Moyes's newest is captivating and bittersweet. (Aug. 20)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC