Julie Klassen Is the Gold Standard for Inspirational Regency Fiction
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?
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Where is Elizabeth Jasicki?
If my friend was new to audiobooks, I would not suggest they start with this one. James Gillies has a very, uh, 'unique' sense of pacing and tends to speed-narrate, so it is difficult to keep up.
I adore all of Julie Klassen's books, and this one will not disappoint fans of her earlier stories.
First, please slow down! Gillies' disregard for punctuation makes it very difficult to follow what he is saying without manually slowing down the speed of the narration using the audible player. Second, stop voicing all of the older female characters as if they were blowsy cockney whores.
I honestly wish that I could listen to it all in one sitting, because the story is compelling and the characters are interesting. But listening to Gillies is like trying to sprint a marathon; eventually you just have to take a moment to slow down and figure out where the heck you are.
I was fine with Saskia Maarleveld's narration of "Lady Maybe", and I eventually got to the point where I appreciated her voice, though not as much as I appreciate Elizabeth Jasicki's narrations. I desperately wish that one of the two of them could have narrated this book, as there is just something inherently silly about men imitating female voices; it can work for romantic comedies and children's books, but it takes away from more serious period romantic dramas, in my opinion.
I found a new author that I love