Published: Penguin 27 Sept 2012
About the Book:
In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at
the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of
Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk
everything - her family, reputation and life - in the hope of seeing her
true love one last time.
Nearly a century later and Sophie's
portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden
death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the
painting's dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that
the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is
The story starts in a small town in war-torn France when Sophie attempts to outwit the local German Kommandant, a man who will have a large say in her destiny. She misses her husband who is away fighting and when she and her family are forced to serve the Germans with food every night in her small hotel, her emotions are stretched as the Kommandant becomes obsessed with a painting done by her husband of a young Sophie.
The first part is left on a cliffhanger and we are then moved forward to the present time and find that the same painting is now hanging in the bedroom of Liv, who's deceased husband bought it for her as he thought the girl in the painting looked like her.
Unfortunately, this is where my interest started to wane. I loved the first part set in WWI and, even though the story goes back and forth, I did not enjoy it as much, somehow I could not warm to Liv and I found myself rushing through the story to read about what happened to Sophie.
Overall, I did like the storyline, I thought some of the characters were memorable, but I just wish that the first part had been longer and the second part had been shorter!