The Painter’s Daughter
This is an intriguing if somewhat predictable love story with religious undertones set in 19th-century England. Captain Stephen Overtree, a responsible elder son, marries the daughter of a famous artist. The girl, Sophia, became pregnant by Stephen’s free-spirited younger brother, Wesley, before he ran off to the continent.
The strife between proper “moral” behavior and Bohemianism plays out in the extended Overtree family, and Sophia struggles to fit in. Sophia’s secret love for Wesley and the need to keep secret the circumstances of her pregnancy is a focal conflict of the story, and Wesley’s climactic return makes a good plot point. An interesting cast of characters includes Stephen’s old nurse, a woman with a propensity for predicting the future. While historical in setting, the novel’s values and voice have a somewhat modern feel.
The novel will appeal to those Regency romances readers who may also like faith-based novels. The story has it all for the romance fan: unrequited love, loss of innocence and two men battling for the heart of one woman. It is an easy read, although improbable at times. Fans of Bethany House’s other offerings will enjoy it.