I have been looking for a true romance for several months and The Girl He Left Behind fits the bill. Beatrice MacNeil writes a heart tugging story of love lost and once again found. Far from being formulaic, the story is complex yet enjoyable and rewarding in the end.
The protagonist is only child Willow Alexander. Willow is sharp. And she is loyal. She also carries her burdens internally with nary a word to others. The book reveals the story line through her flashbacks.
Marjorie MacInnis and Graham Currie are her closest friends from kindergarten forward. The three grow up along the coast. One moneyed and doted upon. Another surrounded by familial love. The third finds solace in the other two. Many of the flashbacks focus on pivotal events as they reach maturity.
Over time, Willow and Graham grow beyond friends. They become betrothed lovers. Then the day of their wedding, Graham fails to show up. Life then takes a turn for the worse for Willow. First, she suffers an irreplaceable loss. Then her father dies, followed by her mother.
But life goes on. Since this is a tale woven around the past, the protagonist is shown in a different phase of life. She has endured many losses. Willow is a solid citizen. Yet she doubts her own innocence.
The Girl He Left Behind Timeline
The beginning of the novel starts with yet another tragedy for Willow. She thinks she has accidently poisoned her employer and his invalid wife. And she is ready to face the consequences. From this point on is the rewind of Willow’s life. Her positive childhood becomes full of woe once left standing at the altar. The question for the readers is one of absolution and reclamation.
Did she poison the couple? Can she remain in the same small hamlet with the return of Graham? Can she find love again?
The Girl He Left Behind is a rich romance. The machinations of others tear the young lovers apart. Denied true love they make their way in the world.
MacNeil tugs the heart strings as her heroine faces one tragedy after another and the years roll by. Now forty, Willow is faced with the return of Graham to their small hamlet. He too has suffered over the years. Their reunion is not smooth.
This reader appreciated the elements of forgiveness and empathy weaved into the story. The Girl He Left Behind is very fulfilling. I highly recommend this novel for all lovers of romance. The Girl He Left Behind is a recent release, so it may not be in your local library yet. This book is a keeper and well worth buying. Find a copy and enjoy!