Late last year, I was browsing in a bookstore and a few books caught my eye, all by Julie Klassen. I doubt I would have picked them up to even read the back had I not realized the costuming on the characters was Regency Era. Okay, I think – let me at least give her a go.
I liked her so much that Hims went to sneaky lengths to try and get me the few books of hers I don’t currently have for Christmas this year. I liked her so much I joined the Bethany House review list so I could hopefully get to review new books of hers.
And this time I did!
From the book’s blurb:
Sophie Dupont, daughter of a portrait painter, assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. She often walks the cliffside path along the north Devon coast, popular with artists and poets. It’s where she met the handsome Wesley Overtree, the first man to tell her she’s beautiful.
Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother’s neglected duties. Home on leave, he’s sent to find Wesley. Knowing his brother rented a cottage from a fellow painter, he travels to Devonshire and meets Miss Dupont, the painter’s daughter. He’s startled to recognize her from a miniature portrait he carries with him–one of Wesley’s discarded works. But his happiness plummets when he realizes Wesley has left her with child and sailed away to Italy in search of a new muse.
Wanting to do something worthwhile with his life, Stephen proposes to Sophie. He does not offer love, or even a future together, but he can save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he believes he will, she’ll be a respectable widow with the protection of his family.
Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie agrees to marry a stranger and travel to his family’s estate. But at Overtree Hall, her problems are just beginning. Will she regret marrying Captain Overtree when a repentant Wesley returns? Or will she find herself torn between the father of her child and her growing affection for the husband she barely knows?
One of the things I absolutely love about Julie Klassen’s characters is that they are real, they are flawed and fallible. The “bad guys” have redeeming qualities… at least, at some point they do. No one is perfect, whether a protagonist or antagonist. The stories are plausible, too. (At least, we’d like to think they would be in Regency times!)
The Painter’s Daughter grabbed my attention and held onto it, making me want to come back again and again to keep reading the book. Would Sophie and Stephen fall in love with each other? Would Wesley win Sophie back? She is, after all, carrying his child! And what would happen if the parents of Stephen and Wesley ever found out? When Stephen must return to war, could this be the last Sophie sees of him? How might her thoughts and feelings for Wesley be affected? I absolutely loved all the twists and turns in this plot!
If you have never read a book by Julie Klassen, this would be a great one to get you started. And if you are a long-time fan of hers, this novel certainly will not disappoint!
I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing to review, and as always, this is my honest opinion.