The Painter’s Daughter
Written by: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Month, Year: November, 2015
A brief summary from Julie Klassen:
Sophia Dupont assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. In private, she paints the picturesque north Devon Coast, popular with artists—including handsome Wesley Overtree, who seems more interested in her than the landscape.
Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother Wesley’s responsibilities. Near the end of his leave, he is sent to find his brother and bring him home. Upon reaching Devonshire, however, Stephen is stunned to learn Wesley has sailed for Italy and left his host’s daughter in serious trouble.
Stephen feels duty-bound to act, and strangely protective of the young lady, who seems somehow familiar. Wanting to make some recompense for his own past failings as well as his brother’s, Stephen proposes to Miss Dupont. He does not offer love, but marriage “in name only” to save her from scandal. If he dies in battle as he fears, she will at least be a respectable widow.
Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie finds herself torn between her first love and this brooding man she barely knows. Dare she wait for Wesley to return? Or should she elope with the captain and pray she doesn’t come to regret it?
When naïve Sophie Dupont fell in love, she fell hard, and offered up all of herself – soul, mind, and body – to her beloved Wesley Overtree, a painter studying under her father’s tutelage. But when Wesley receives the opportunity to travel to Italy to paint, he can think of nothing else but leaving the cliffs of Devonshire far behind him…including Sophie. With a hastily jotted note for Sophie to find in the coming days, Wesley boards the first ship East and sets off with his romanticized notions of painting the Italian people and countryside.
In search of his artistic brother, Captain Stephen Overtree tracks Wesley across the European countryside to a paint shop located in the quaint town of Devonshire, England. Upon arriving, he is told the painter is working in Bath for a season but the painter’s daughter is in town and taking a stroll along the path of the Devon Cliffs. Stephen sets off to find the daughter and comes across a woman appearing on the verge of throwing herself off the cliff. He quickly lunges and saves her, only to realize the woman in his arms is the same woman in the miniature portrait he’s been carrying around for a year – the one and only Sophie Dupont. The same woman who his brother has put off in a bad way. In order to save face and prevent scandal, Stephen does what he believes is necessary – he proposes to Sophie and waits for her answer.
I loved pretty much everything about this novel. The characters, plot, intriguing hideaways, villains, and setting. Julie Klassen breathed life into this story and at times I found myself wishing it were based on a true story, just to make it seem even more grandiose. Even the setting of the cliffs and countryside took on their own personalities, lending symbolism and foreboding of what was to come. There were a couple of times when I wanted to tell Sophie to wake up and see what was in front of her or to get over it…but alas, I could not. I grew to accept her for as she is – a heroine with flaws and talents alike, both of which made her into the wonderful leading lady that she is. Pitting the two brothers against one another was a spark of genius! The Cain and Able, if you will, of The Painter’s Daughter. Both men have their flaws, weakness, and strengths, but one clearly is the better man between the two. Well, at least I think so. 🙂
The Painter’s Daughter is an enticing tale of love and loss, strength and devotion, courage and fear. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to read this book nonstop from start to finish. It is by far one of my favorite pieces of Julie Klassen’s works and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves regency romance.
I was graciously provided a free copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.