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?
I am now convinced that Julie Klassen loves drama. Regency drama that is. I mean, her last book Lady Maybe, just had me in shock the whole time. From her books I have learned that regency ladies were not as um…virtuous as we have supposed or Klassen really likes the complex characters.This was no different.
What I liked:
The quick marriage. I like married couple books, even if its a marriage of convenience. It’s kind of nice knowing who the ‘guy’ is right away (that is, if this was a normal book, there’s a bit of a question as to who the guy is in this one). I liked watching Captain Overtree and Miss Dupont learn of each other. When you’re married, you’ve got no real excuse.
Class issues. Because, it’s not regency if there are no class issues.
Romance. It was filled with complexity, but the two people who ended up together in the end really needed to be together.
Slight mystery. There are strange things going on at Captain Overtree’s house. It adds an almost gothic feel to the novel.
Ironically enough, the drama. Generally speaking I hate drama, but I think I’ve come to expect it and appreciate it in a Julie Klassen book. One minute the book made me want to cry:
And then the next thing I knew I wanted to through it across the room:
And then characters made decisions that left me confused.
But honestly, all of it was kind of fun.
Spiritually, I enjoyed watching one character’s strong faith and the other character learning of God.
What I didn’t like:
The only thing I didn’t like was that I wanted more time between the love interests.
Romantic Scale: 8
Overall, so much fun to read. I never know what’s going to happen next. I’m beginning to think that Klassen’s covers are not right. They make the book look all calm and docile and that’s simply not the case. Read this one, you’ll enjoy the ride.
** I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**