Monday, December 21, 2015

The Painter's Daughter by Julie Klassen (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own. 

About the book-

Sophie 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 Sophie 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 that 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 somehow seems 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?

My thoughts-

I don't even know where to begin with this story. I loved every single second of every single page, just as I have become accustomed to with each new Julie Klassen novel that comes out. This one is still her usual regency era fare, and it still has a very Jane Austen-esque feel which I love, but this book had the added element of scandal which was new and I quite enjoyed. Life isn't usually cookie cutter clean, even back in the day, so I appreciated a look into what might have happened in a scandalous situation in that time period.  I was immediately sympathetic for Sophie's character and enthralled with Stephen Overtree from their first meeting. He had a little bit of Mr. Darcy's brood going on, but right away we are shown he has a soft and caring heart, regardless of how it seems on the outside. I am glad that there was an opportunity to get to know Stephen as he and Sophie get to know each other before he went off to war. I enjoyed the entire cast of characters that live at or visit Overtree Hall. Klassen does a wonderful job of really making you feel like you understand the characters and the descriptions of the settings are amazing too. I absolutely recommend The Painter's Daughter (and all of Julie Klassen's novels) to anyone who enjoys regency era romances. She is, in my eyes, our current day Jane Austen and for that I am grateful.

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