With Her Latest Work, Julie Klassen Paints a Masterpiece!
The Painter’s Daughter
by Julie Klassen
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
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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?
What lies between the pages of The Painter’s Daughter is even more stunning than the artist gracing its cover. No doubt about it: Julie Klassen is a master, and The Painter’s Daughter, a masterpiece.
When it comes to inspirational historical fiction, Klassen is in a league all her own. By the end of the first chapter, she has established a mood and setting, introduced major characters, and revealed the conflict that will propel the plot. She’s done this so well that you’ll be able to smell the sea air from the Devon cliffside coast where she introduces you to Sophie Dupont, a portrait painter’s daughter and assistant.
You’ll feel like you’re eavesdropping when Captain Stephen Overtree, gone to find his brother Wesley, discovers young Sophie. Not only is he surprised by his instant recognition of Sophie’s face (she is the subject of a small portrait, painted by Wesley, which the Captain has been secretly carrying), he soon realizes that his impetuous brother has set sail for Italy and left young Sophie in a delicate situation. Accustomed to assuming Wesley’s responsibilities and spurred on by his nurse maid’s prophecy of his impending death, he offers Sophie his hand in marriage, making it clear that the marriage will be one in name only. He assures her she’ll soon be a widow, reputation intact, in the care of his family.
What follows is a tale of love, secrets, sacrifice, and redemption. Klassen’s writing is so historically accurate that you’ll feel you have discovered a contemporary of Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë. In fact, you’ll find not only references to both ladies’ works, but tangible evidence of the influential fingerprint of Brontë’s Jane Eyre: There is the dark, rough-edged man with scars, both literal and figurative; the sweet, yet fiercely headstrong young woman; and even the eccentric, maybe even mad, lady in the attic!
Klassen’s cast of characters is extensive, and you’ll eventually come to know and love — or loathe — them all. Some of my favorite secondary characters are Colonel Overtree, Stephen’s grandfather, Mr. Keith his seafaring friend, and Winnie, the lady in the attic.
Though the novel is thoroughly regency, its mood, mystery, and secret hidden passages lend hints of the gothic. Klassen doesn’t shy away from a challenge. More than just a romance, this is an intense love triangle that becomes a comparative character study. Furthermore, she goes where few have gone before — a rarity in a romance, Klassen tackles Napoleonic battle at sea with aplomb!
In summary, Julie Klassen adeptly handles sensitive situations and themes, all while keeping her reader thoroughly and happily entertained. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll worry and groan, but in the end you’ll smile, finding peace in knowing that there is no misstep, mistake, or fault that God cannot redeem.
— Dawn Teresa
5 of 5 Hearts. With Her Latest Work, Julie Klassen Paints a Masterpiece!
With her latest work of historical fiction, award-winning Julie Klassen outdoes even herself! Complete with humor, pathos, mystery, romance, and adventure, The Painter’s Daughter is a gem of gems. Long after you’ve finished turning its pages, this story of love, sacrifice, and redemption will live in your memory and your heart.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for providing me a digital copy of this title. 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.”