Character Spotlight: Julie Klassen’s Sophie & Stephen with a giveaway

The Painter's Daughter


Meet an artist and an Army captain in

Julie Klassen’s

Regency romance

The Painter’s Daughter

Bethany House


The Story

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?

Introducing Sophie & Stephen


Brief Physical Description

Sophie Dupont has a willowy figure and pale skin, with golden blonde hair and blue-grey eyes.


I envision Sophie as resembling actress Alice Orr-Ewing, as she appeared in Scapegoat.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Sophie is gentle, kind, and artistic, though often too trusting of others and too critical of herself.

Quirks (if any)

She refuses to show anyone her artwork.

Your inspiration for the character

Sophie embodies several traits I hope readers may empathize with or recognize. She has grown up being taken for granted, and overlooked as a female in the male-dominated art world of 19th century. She lacks the confidence to call herself an artist or show anyone her work. Also, knowing she does not meet the voluptuous feminine ideal of the time, she never believed anyone would call her beautiful, and is too easily lead astray when someone finally does. I wanted to write about a woman who grows as a person after a mistake, and gains confidence in her worth and talent.

Background to the story

I have always wanted to write a marriage of convenience story, and have also been intrigued by the former Church of England laws that prohibited a widow from marrying her brother-in-law and vice versa. So when Sophie contemplates marriage to an army captain she barely knows, she realizes that even if the captain were to die in battle, she could not later marry his brother, whom she loves. During my last trip to England, an old friend and I traveled to North Devon to research another book (Lady Maybe). While we were there, I fell in love with the stunning coastal landscape, and learned it had been a favorite among painters in the 19th century. That spurred me to write about artists, and knew I had found the perfect place to set The Painter’s Daughter as well.


Brief Physical Description

Stephen Overtree is a broad-shouldered, black-haired, and blue-eyed captain in the British army, with bushy sideburns to help hide a jagged facial scar.


I modelled Stephen after actor Matthew Macfadyen, somewhere between his role as Athos in The Three Musketeers and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Nicknamed “Captain Black” by his older brother, Stephen has a serious and direct personality that can make him seem overly rigid and brusque. Yet his fierce outward appearance belies his deep loyalty and protectiveness.

Quirks (if any)

His dry sense of humor. Also, the fact that he has carried a portrait of Sophie around with him for a year before meeting her…

Your inspiration for the character

I set out to create a character with many of the traits we love in our fictional heroes. Stephen is the wounded warrior, the strong, silent type, whose brooding exterior hides a passionate, loving heart.

Thank you Julie!

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43 Responses to Character Spotlight: Julie Klassen’s Sophie & Stephen with a giveaway

  1. I love drawing and painting! I was an art major in college but got more involved with photography as a side job to being a mom. My favorite class was bookbinding :)

  2. I have read all of Julie’s books to date and this one ranks up there as one of my favorites of hers.

  3. I’m a big Julie Klassen fan , I love all her books and am looking forward to reading this one. Unfortunately I’m not talented in art , the only thing I’ve ever done is scribbled or color in coloring books.

  4. I do like to draw a little bit although writing is where my creativeness lies. I am looking forward to reading Julie’s latest. Thanks for the spotlight and giveaway!

  5. Love Julie Klassen books. Thanks for the giveaway and a chance to win her book.

  6. My niece Amy can paint and draw but I cannot. The artsy/crafty part of our genes must have skipped a generation.

  7. My mother is a talented artist and even sells some pieces from time to time, but I inherited none of her talent!

  8. Neither but I have found Adult coloring books and I enjoy them.

  9. Love to draw and paint. Great giveaway! Thank you!

  10. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, but I love to see other people’s work and enjoy it that way!

  11. Love Julie’s books and can’t wait to read this one!

  12. I took a drawing class in college that confirmed what I should have known: I have no talent for drawing (or painting). My artistic endeavors are limited to card making. I’m really looking forward to reading Julie’s new book. I’ve learned she’s an author whose books I’ll always enjoy.

  13. I have several cousins who are very talented artists but that talent wasn’t given to me. I admire anyone who can paint or draw.

  14. I have painted a few things. It has been years since I have done it though.

  15. Debbie Clatterbuck

    I, too, have read all of Julie Klassen’s books except Lady Maybe,which is next in line on my to read list, as soon as I finish the one I’m currently reading. I love her books. The places she takes you to and the characters you meet is just amazing. I am looking forward to also reading The Painter’s Daughter.

  16. I love painting and drawing! I’m not the best, but I’m pretty good. It’s a nice way to relax and express some creative energy. I think I would really love reading The Painter’s Daughter!

  17. Unfortunately, my artistic talents lie in fields other than drawing and/or painting. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity – have read many wonderful comments about “The Painter’s Daughter”!!

  18. I love painting, it is a great emotion reliever! Now, i am no artist, but it sure feels nice to paint!

  19. I wish I could paint and/or draw… but my artistic talent seems to be limited to photography. I always wanted to be able to draw well, but as much as I tried, i just couldn’t get it.

  20. Umm . .. I like to color does that count? LOL


  21. I’ve always wished that I could paint or draw well, but I think I’ve always been too much of a perfectionist. I hate to make mistakes, so I tend to not even try to do things I don’t think I am (or will be) good at. I do love to look at good art, though.

  22. I enjoy drawing and watercolors… not good but it’s fun!

  23. My daughter and I love to paint and draw together. It’s such a relaxing way to destress and it’s a beautiful bonding thing. I am really looking forward to reading this. I am so excited to see it featured. Thank you for the giveaway chance.

  24. I really do like to paint, but I’m not very good at it. I color more than anything :)

  25. I enjoy painting every now and again.

  26. I did when I was a kid, but photography is my thing.

    Merry Christmas!

  27. I can’t paint or draw. :( Quilting is my cup of tea.

  28. I love drawing, but haven’t in quite awhile. Might need to start doing it again. Merry Christmas!

  29. Rel, I am not gifted to paint or draw. I so admire those that have this talent! Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  30. I like to draw. My children are very good artist. Merry Christmas.

  31. I enjoy drawing, especially Bible journaling.

  32. I don’t like to paint or draw, but my husband is great at it and love it when he does it.

  33. I’m not an artist when it comes to painting or drawing. But I do like to do it ‘for fun’, every now and then…

  34. I can hardly wait to get this book. Love these plots and settings. Love all of Julies books!!

  35. I love character spotlight and marriage of convenience stories. I look forward to reading this book. Thank you for posting, and thank you Julie for continuing to write!

  36. I used to draw a lot when I was a kid, but sometime in high school I started writing more than drawing. :)
    I love Julie Klassen’s books – can’t wait to read this one! 😀

  37. I can’t draw or paint, but I’m pretty good at graphic design!

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