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?
The Painter's Daughter is just as wonderful as I'd hoped it would be! Full of heartache, scandal, mystery, and romance, the novel kept me completely engaged from beginning to end. I especially loved Stephen, a man who "did his duty" by offering to marry Sophie and soon found himself falling in love with her.
As much as I loved Stephen, I despised his brother Wesley. His selfishness and hesitancy to take responsibility for his actions grated on me to no end—and I think I was supposed to have that reaction!
By the plot's very nature—revolving around a woman pregnant out of wedlock—this book is slightly more mature than some. However, I never felt that it crossed the line into sensuality, and I think it would be perfectly appropriate for teen girls.
I greatly enjoyed The Painter's Daughter, and I look forward to Klassen's next novel. 5 stars.
Buy the novel.
Read my reviews of Klassen's The Apothecary's Daughter (3-1/2 stars), The Maid of Fairbourne Hall (4-1/2 stars), The Tutor's Daughter (5 stars), The Dancing Master (4-1/2 stars), and The Secret of Pembrooke Park (4 stars).
Learn more about Julie at http://julieklassen.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from the author and Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."