Remember that one time I was supposed to be reading other books, but then Julie Klassen’s The Painter’s Daughter kept STARING at me, pleading with me to read it at that very moment? So I did what any good book blogger would do, stopped reading what I was supposed at started this one instead.
And it turned out to be a rather wise decision if I do say so myself!
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 thing you’re guaranteed with Julie’s novels is that you’ll be hooked once you start page one. There’s a reason she’s become such a strong and sure voice in Regency novels. She knows how to write them! With solid writing and yet again a wonderfully multilevel cast of characters, this is another enjoyable read from Julie.
Let’s start with the plot. I really enjoyed how Julie weaved this story by bringing in both Stephen and Wesley’s voice. This added another level and greater understanding of the characters and relationships. Sophie’s situation wasn’t an easy one and Klassen did a fabulous job with relating it to the reader. We are taken on a journey of duty, longing, growth, tears, sacrifice and love.
As always, another strong point of Julie’s is her characters and their development. Outside of Sophie and Stephen (they get internet high fives), I really loved Winnie, the Colonel, and Kate. They added some comical moments and joy. I also enjoyed many of the other secondary stories happening. Like I said, Julie knows how to entertain a reader. Oh and I loved learning the history. I always learn something new and find it fascinating!
This book also made me wish I could draw and paint. Alas, I shall stick with my adult coloring books and twistable colored pencils.
Are you a big fan of art and painting? If so, do you have a favorite artist? (Personally, I can stare at Impressionist paintings all day every day!)
(Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)