The Painter’s Daughter
Bethany House Publishers, 2015
When fellow artist Wesley Overtree comes to paint the scenic views of her little town of Lynmouth, Sophie Dupont quickly finds herself falling in love with the handsome, charming young artist. A whirlwind courtship results in an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, but before Sophie can inform him, Wesley leaves without notice to paint in Italy. Captain Stephen Overtree arrives in search of his brother, only to learn he has just departed. But in talking with the lovely Miss Dupont, Stephen quickly realizes the mess his brother has left behind. Honorable to the core, Stephen offers to marry the girl to make things right – even offering the condition that it be a marriage in name only. Devastated and dreading her uncertain future, Sophie sees no other choice but to accept the captain’s offer in order to ensure that she and her child won’t be destitute.
They marry and travel to the Overtree family’s estate, where Stephen intends to leave Sophie with his family while he returns to his regiment. But neither of them wants the circumstances of their marriage to be known, so they feign affection for the short time they are together – until a spark of real emotion begins to flame just as the captain is scheduled to leave. Content in the knowledge that they will get to know each other more when he returns, Stephen departs. Only days later, Wesley Overtree arrives unexpectedly, and is shocked to find his former lover married to his brother. Now Sophie is faced with a choice – stay true to the stranger she might come to love or run away with the man she already shares a child and a passionate history with?
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If you have followed this blog for any length of time you will know that I am a ardent fan of Julie Klassen’s novels. I think this is the fourth of her books that I have reviewed, and I am eagerly anticipating her newest novel (the follow-up to this book) which releases in December. I love how real her characters are. They are so flawed and yet so lovable, because who among us hasn’t made a mistake or spoken words we regret? She does a great job showing the thoughts and emotions that beget actions and conversations among the characters, and fleshes them out beautifully. Klassen handles the scandal surrounding Sophie’s pregnancy with honesty and compassion, including characters from all different viewpoints to comment on it.
The other thing I love about Klassen’s novels is that it isn’t always immediately apparent which man the heroine will choose. I know who I was rooting for, but I have to admit as a seasoned reader of her novels that I wasn’t absolutely sure who she would end up with until very near the end. Although I don’t usually mind following a story where the romantic guy and girl are obvious from the beginning, sometimes it’s refreshing to have to wait and see who chooses who.
This is a sweeping historical novel with elements of suspense, danger, and romance. And I just love the setting of regency England, full of idyllic little towns and looming estates. I looked forward to this book for sometime before getting to pick it up and I was not disappointed.
Other Julie Klassen books I’ve reviewed: