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
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"Dear god....thankfully it's over!"
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.
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!
Yes. Can I have my credit back?!....Sorry Ms Moyes....it was a really a good story till it got "audibled"
"Love, tragedy and drama! A must listen!"
I really connected with the characters in this great story. Wartime meets modern day.
I've read a lot surrounding the WWs both fictional and non-fictional. Thoroughly enjoyed the stories particularly the story & narration of the French character. I want entirely convinced by the second narrator, particularly because of the awful American accents which all sounded like the same character. But nonetheless a good listen.
"I didn't want it to end!"
A gripping story, I particularly liked the way it was woven between past and present. JL
"fantastic blend of history, heroism and romance"
loved this book! beautifully narrated too. particularly liked the way part 1 and part 2 were intertwined.
"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.
"Fantastic story, interesting and evocative"
Yes. The story was gripping from the start and although moving between times, did not confuse. The characters were excellent and the narration was very good; however, I would still recommend the book in hard copy.
Mo was funny, smart and quirky.
I have been a member of Audible for over 10yrs. This is the first time I have felt so strongly about a book to write a review.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of this book. Shed many tears, the story will stay with me for a long time.
Loved every second of this book! Beautifully narrated, too. Its definitely one of my favourites!
I started listening to the girl you left behind slightly annoyed by the French accent. The accent grew on me until I was looking forward to it in the knowledge that I would learn more of Sophie's story. This book has made me seek out more of Jo Jos books.
Absolutely fabulous, although I refuse to waste any money on the very short prequel.
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