Julie Klassen is a favorite author of mine. Her Christian historical fiction novels are full of suspense and rich detail, and are among some of my favorites. I was excited to get an opportunity to read and review her newest novel The Painter's Daughter. Sophie Dupont assists her father in his art studio on the north Devon coast. Artists regularly come to these shores to paint. Sophie gets involved with one of these artists, Wesley Overtree, and finds herself in "trouble". Before she has an opportunity to share her news with Wesley, he leaves for Italy. In the meantime, Wesley's brother, Captain Stephen Overtree arrives looking for Wesley, and when he realizes her predicament, he behaves honorably to her and proposes marriage. The remainder of the novel navigates their complicated relationship which basically continues to be a bit of a love triangle. There are a number of plot twists throughout the novel as well.
While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't my favorite from this author. It was less mysterious and suspenseful and focused a great deal more on the relationships among the characters. Because of the way the story started and then continued with Sophie's situation and arranged marriage, there was quite a bit of focus on physical intimacy. While everything was extremely tactful, this component did play a significant role in the plot. I was also a bit disappointed in Sophie's character; I felt it took awhile for her to develop and see the truth about some of the characters in the book. I also would have loved to see her painting play a larger role in the story.
In spite of these negatives, I feel Julie Klassen is a wonderful storyteller. The book was interesting to read and held my attention throughout its pages. I definitely recommend her books to fans of historical fiction.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.