Sunday, January 17, 2016

Book Review: "The Painter’s Daughter," by Julie Klassen

About the book:
Sophie Dupont assists her father n 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 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:
Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction, and I think this is her best book yet. The characters were well-drawn and complex. They made mistakes, and yet we loved them more for it. The resolution of the book was realistic. Many authors will conveniently kill off a certain character to solve the conflict or make things “right,” but Klassen wisely avoided that, keeping the characters alive to deal with the mess they’d created. I was even surprised by a couple of plot turns that I didn’t see coming. The Painter’s Daughter was richly satisfying, with interesting characters, a believable storyline, and a plausible conclusion that made me wish I hadn’t just turned the last page.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

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