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 was excited to delve into this new book by Julie Klassen. One of the things I love about Julie Klassen is she knows how to make her characters human. They have flaws and make mistakes but they are also full of characteristics that are endearing and likable. The author never glosses over the mistakes. As a reader I am fully aware of the ramifications those mistakes bring and it always feels like I am part of the redemptive process.
Sophie is easy to like. She is gentle and wants to love and be loved. We can all relate to that. She is pulled into Wesley's open admiration of her because what woman doesn't want to hear she is beautiful to someone? Sophie was so easy to relate to. She was often hurt and confused but never spiteful or hateful. She had a gentle nature about her but she also had courage and faith.
This is a book full of layers. Each character has a story and they all blend together beautifully. I loved the seaside setting with the cliffs and the cottages that painted such a vivid picture in my head.
I really enjoyed this book and I'm so glad I had the chance to read and review it. My thanks to Bethany House for providing the review copy. This book is Christian fiction. The characters pray and believe in God but there are no extensive religious scenes.
Content: sexual relations outside of marriage (no details, you just know it happened)