Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Painter’s Daughter: Julie Klassen

By Kelly Bridgewater
From Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon):

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?

My Thoughts:

Julie Klassen’s newest release The Painter’s Daughter is a love triangle to the max. I have enjoyed The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Klassen and hoped for a mystery this time around. Even though there was no typical mystery, I did wonder the whole time which brother Sophie would actually choose to spend the rest of her life with. The story centers around Sophie and her new husband Stephen Overtree, but the plot has the third aspect of Stephen’s older brother Wesley Overtree. With the attention to detail, relatable characters, and a lively setting, The Painter’s Daughter is a joy to read.

Attention to detail is important to a historical writer, and Klassen just does that. I enjoyed walking through the Overtree elaborate home with Sophie as she discovered the family portraits on the wall, went to the attic to ask the old teacher certain things, or hiding in the old servants’ quarter to listen to secrets in the house. Klassen researches her time period and the houses she wants her characters to roam around in, and then she invites her readers to come sit down alongside the characters and take this journey with them.

Klassen’s greatest strength, in my humble opinion, is her ability to create characters that I like instantly and can’t wait to spend more time with. Sophie is a strong woman who has a strong desire to be loved and paint, but with the death of her mother when she was little, she has been starving for affection. On the other hand, Stephen Overtree joins the military to make his grandfather, who was also in the army, happy. Finally, Wesley is the only character who actually follows his heart by painting for a living.

When I started to read the story, I thought I would be reading the same type of story that I have always read when certain circumstances come to pass, but Klassen threw me for a loop. There is a long battle scene which takes place during the Napoleon Wars where Stephen is injured. This type of scene is not popular in Regency novels, but I actually enjoyed reading it.

Fans of Julie Klassen and Regency novels will enjoy losing themselves in The Painter’s Daughter for a while. The attention to the historical and setting detail are great just as the characters of Sophie, Stephen, and Wesley will keep readers imagination blooming.

I received a complimentary copy of The Painter's Daughter from Bethany House Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Want to read my other thoughts on Julie Klassen’s The Secret of Pembrooke Park or Lady Maybe? Click on the book title and read my thoughts on these books.

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