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The Painter Daughters

By Emily Howes

A Touching Historical Fiction Family Drama of Mental Health, Sacrifice and Betrayal



Peggy and Molly are the daughters of the renowned portrait artist Thomas Gainsborough. The two sisters are best friends and enjoy playing in the English countryside. They often spy on their father while he paints and rattles their mother's nerves with their mischief.

When Molly periodically suffers from episodes of mental confusion, forgetting who and where she is, Peggy feels responsible for covering for Molly. When the family moves to Bath, Molly's episodes become more frequent and challenging for Peggy to conceal.

In Bath, the girls are introduced to polite society, and Peggy ultimately falls in love with her father’s friend, Johann Fischer, a well-known composer. Her world is turned upside down by a betrayal. Peggy questions everything she has ever done for Molly as the betrayal unfolds. Should she have always covered for Molly?  Now everyone will know…


THE PAINTER's DAUGHTER is an interesting and informative historical fiction novel set in the 1700’s. Peggy and Molly’s touching story and the themes of mental health, sacrifice, and betrayal were captivating.

In addition to the two sisters, the novel intermittently introduces another character, Meg Grey, a young woman working in the kitchen of her father's inn in Harwich. Although Meg's story is compelling, without a connection, it interrupts the flow of the main story. I frequently reread pages to ensure I wasn't missing something in this family drama. Who is this Meg Grey?

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher    Simon & Schuster

Published   February 27, 2024

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