My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Christian Regency Romance
Book Description: 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 has tackled another difficult social situation in Regency England. I love that her romance stories have depth to the plot and characters.
Sophie finds herself in a difficult situation when the father of her unborn child decides to go to Italy to paint. In his defense, she had not shared the news with him. In steps the brother, Stephen, who saves her and her child from the stigma of illegitimacy.
I loved that Julie pulled the emotion and inner turmoil of the characters in a way that I was able to relate to as a reader. She illustrated how good people could end up doing stupid things. It was interesting to learn more of English laws during the time period. The law of the land had a huge impact on the story. Books that entertain and educate me at the same time are wonderful.
Social and moral issues are explored in the book. I appreciate the research that went into the making of the book. This is one that I would like to visit again in the future. I would like to see the many times that she hinted at the events that transpire at the end. There are situations that could be looked at from a view of hind-site that add to the story.
Julie Klassen is an author I know that I can trust to pull me into the book. I look forward to reading more of her works in the future.
About the Author: (Taken from Goodreads) Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. She blogs at http://www.inspiredbylifeandfiction.com.